This paper presents the phenomenological perspective of social work students on their learning process following the implementation of community based participatory research (CBPR) in the context of a social work community practice course. CBPR was implemented in the framework of a partnership between the communities of the Gaza Envelope Region in southern Israel, and the school of social work at the college in the region. Throughout the academic year students engaged in data collection and participated in steering committees that focused on building a regional vision for the communities. At the end of the year stduents were asked to write reflexive essays about their learning experience. Study findings, grounded in a narrative content analysis of 83 reflexive student essays, point to four narratives that characterized their learning: 1) being part of a real-life community intervention process; 2) students-inspired by community residents: the power of hope; 3) the meaning of community; and 4) future professional identity: the desire to engage in community practice. Findings are discussed in light of theories of experiential and transformative learning, community narratives, and professional identity, with reference to the fields of social work community practice education.