SAWA in Arabic means together, and as its name suggests, the SAWA club aims to bring students together to learn, ask, and have a good time. The club was founded by Aisha Yassin, the CIEE intern, during Spring semester 2016 and it embarked successfully. This is evident in the fact that previous students are still in touch and have built a strong relationship.
The idea of the club is very simple: bringing local students and international students to teach and learn together. The advantage of SAWA is that it allows students to try to practice the spoken language in a fun, and chill environment, which provides a wide platform for making mistakes freely. Students are divided to pairs: each pair consists of one international and local student, who in turn meet at least once a week wherever and whenever they want and talk. Throwing two students into a meeting can be awkward, and that is why there is an active Facebook group, in which students will have a weekly post including suggested topics to go over, upcoming events in Haifa, and useful articles and videos. In addition, SAWA has two events every semester, such as hikes in the mountain, beach bonfire, and movie screenings and discussion.
The final farewell event is bittersweet. The students are sad to leave and excited to go back to their home university and share the experiences they had. The club tries to maintain a strong body by including past and future student and volunteers in the Facebook group, where they will still have a chance to catch up and practice even while being abroad. The volunteers are given their certificates which will help them to craft a good resume. The SAWA club started as experimental attempt to bring students together and bridge the gap between locals and internationals students. The club has proved successful and is flourishing to something big and promising.