Internship in Palestine - Teach English

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About

The Teach English and Study Arabic (TESA) Program provides visitors from all over the world the opportunity to live in the Palestinian city of Hebron and to experience daily Palestinian life while working as an Intern with the Excellence Center (EC).

As an Intern you will be provided with 3 hours of conversational Arabic a week. During your time in Palestine as an Intern, you will give some language classes and provide administrative assistance to the Center while at the same time that you are immersing yourself in Palestinian culture. Our program participants teach courses focusing on conversational English. Previous teaching experience is preferred but not essential.

As an Intern you will live with a Palestinian host family (availability permitting), and visit historical sites, local industries, universities, and refugee camps in the city of Hebron. The Excellence Center does everything possible to make our Interns feel at home so that you have a wonderful time in Palestine

Highlights
  • The programs offers you a stay with a Palestinian host family.
  • Teach English and Speak Arabic program provides you the opportunity to learn spoken Arabic.
  • International Interns will have the opportunity to meet Palestinian university and school students as well as community members.
  • Participants will have the opportunity to learn in depth about the ongoing Israeli occupation.
  • International Interns will have the opportunity to experience Palestinian Culture and live the daily life in Hebron, Palestine. Moreover, Participant will have the opportunity to travel around Palestine.

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

Hi, thanks for asking! Yes, the safety of all participants is ensured with this program. For additional information we recommend contacting the program provider directly, which you can do here: http://excellencenter.org/contact-us/.

Hi, thanks for asking! We recommend contacting the program provider directly to learn more about scholarship opportunities (here's a link to their contact info: http://excellencenter.org/contact-us/). Also make sure to check out our blog! We have tons of great articles and resources on finding and applying for scholarships :)

Great question! The monthly fee for this program is $560. More info on pricing and trip details can be found here: http://excellencenter.org/teach-english-in-palestine-2/.

You can volunteer for a few week or months. I volunteered for 2.5 months one volunteer was there for 4 months I think.

Reviews

9.17 Rating
based on 18 reviews
  • Growth 8.9
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 8.2
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 8 of 18
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Chantal
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Discovering the unknown

Hello,
My name is Joëlle Morard and I come from Switzerland. I have a Masters in English and French and I teach teenagers and young adults. I took part in the Program “Teach English and Study Arabic in Palestine” at the Excellence Center in Hebron.
During my three weeks there, I mainly taught English in some villages and in Hebron. The children and teenagers were very welcoming and eager to learn. I enjoyed teaching basic English to children in Siraa (Dura) and in Soureef. In addition, the exchanges with the students with a more advanced level (in Hebron) was a great opportunity for me to discover many elements about Palestinian culture and lifestyle.
I also had great Arabic lessons with Nadine; she is very sweet, motivating, patient, and she explains the concepts clearly! I have learnt some basic Arabic and I hope to keep on studying this beautiful language. The Center’s environment is good: the staff is always available and helpful, the teachers are kind and talkative. Regarding the volunteers, they are friendly and funny.
Moreover, I participated in various activities with the Center. I visited the Old City of Hebron and the Ibrahimi Mosque, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church. The Center also organized a visit of a Bedouin village: it was tough to realize how the life of its inhabitants is affected by the presence of settlers. I enjoyed the evening where we played soccer, went to the swimming pool, and had a barbecue with some people of the neighborhood. Perhaps the most memorable experience was the trip to Akka: it was nice to spend time on the beach and to visit this beautiful city with the staff, volunteers, and Palestinian families.
Beyond my visits with the Center, I went to Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nazareth – cities that I really appreciate. I also (re)discovered Jenin and Nablus. I love travelling in Palestine, admiring nature, visiting cities and meeting people.
I lived in Halhul with a lovely family: they welcomed me well, spent time with me, wanted to improve their English and taught me a bit of Arabic. However, living in this part of Palestine was challenging for me because it was really different of my previous experiences in other Palestinian cities. Here, the majority of people is not used to see foreigners and feeling awkward while walking into the streets is not a good impression.
Concerning safety and security in Palestine, I did not have any problems: all went well to arrive in Hebron and to travel to the different cities. Nevertheless, it is impressive and depressing to see occupation all over the place, with the soldiers, towers, wall and checkpoints.
What I like the most about Palestine is its importance for religion, its history and its landscapes. It goes without saying that I love the friends that I have here. I have had many good experiences in Palestine but if I had to remember only one, it would be having spent time in the Old City of Jerusalem with a local friend: indeed, it is very different to discover how people live there instead of visiting as a tourist.
To be honest, I do not have a clear lasting impression about Palestine, I suppose that it will me take time to grasp the meaning of this experience and to realize how much I have learnt. My overall experience at the Excellence Center and in Palestine is challenging but worthwhile.
Last but not least, I would recommend the following: it would be great to improve the organization. For example, the visits are very nice but not always “officially” announced; thus, it would be good to receive more information about them.
It would also be welcomed to have a better connection between the old center (where I had my Arabic lessons) and the new one (where I taught and from which I left for the villages). Indeed, I almost never had the opportunity to have breakfast with the volunteers because I had to move from one center to the other.
Additionally, fifty children in one class (like in Siraa) is often overwhelming. I hope that it will be possible to split the class into two groups in order to adapt the teaching to the level of children. Effectively, with so many of them, the noise is inevitable, and the gaps between the levels is huge.
Finally, benefiting more from the presence of volunteers would be a good idea: we are often in a hurry only to end up waiting for a long time; the schedules are not clear and change frequently. With an improvement of organization – namely regarding the transports to the villages –, teaching could be more effective.
I want to thank all the people involved with the Center: the job done here is crucial, the programs are various and interesting.

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Natalia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable experience!

Hello, my name is Natalia Macias and I’m 23 years old. I am Mexican American and I’m currently living in Asheville, NC.
Choosing Go Palestine was probably one of
the best decisions I could have made. Not only is everyone friendly and welcoming, but everything you do in the center is purposeful and makes you feel as if you’re truly reaching your highest potential. In Hebron, it’s not very common to see foreigners around, so when the Palestinian people see you they try their hardest to speak English to make sure you’re welcomed here! It was truly an amazing experience.
During my stay here, I volunteered in the
Teaching English as a Volunteer program. My day to day schedule varied quite a bit but it was fun because it kept me on my toes. I was able to assist in the old center with three of the English teachers who are amazing at everything they do. I also was able to teach English in the villages nearby such as Beit Ommar, Sureef, and Sair. Apart from teaching I was also able to see the beautiful Old City of Hebron along with Akka and a few other cities. Learning Arabic 3 hours a week was also something I was able to do. I had an amazing teacher who truly helped me understand the language.
All the volunteers and those who work at the center make sure you have an unforgettable time here.
Being able to see the Palestinian culture first
hand was honestly something so indescribable and extremely pleasant to see. In the Palestinian community I was able to see how no one is homeless here. If you don’t have food, your neighbors will supply. If you don’t have something, your neighbor is sure to help you with the biggest smile. Everyone is kind to each other. I think the most surprising thing I saw while being here was how the Palestinian people are able to rise up even under an occupation. They don’t sit around waiting for change to happen, they make the change happen. There are amazing activists we were able to meet that were leading these changes. The Palestinians keep rising even when they are restricted from so many things.
I can say I have felt safe or even safer here in
Hebron than I ever have in America. It’s very important to not be discouraged by western media saying that Hebron is conflicted. Once you’re here, you’ll see that this place is probably one of the safest places you’ll be. Everyone is kind and protective of one another even if you’re a foreigner. There’s nothing to be afraid of when coming to Palestine. It’s safe and if you get lost, there’s surely someone who is willing to help you.
I would recommend 10 out of 10 to come
volunteer at the center through Go Palestine. For me it was a life change and eye opening experience that I will talk about positively for the rest of my life. Hebron has even shaped the way I think now. You’ll get the chance to help around the community while making new friendships that will last a lifetime.

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Gregorie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A great working experience in Hebron, Palestine

I was looking to get teaching experience and I was very interested in discovering Palestine, a fascinating, wonderful and SAFE country in the Middle East. I applied for a teaching program with the Excellence Center and as soon as I received feedbacks, I was convinced it was the right place to work. The center is perfectly located, the staff is professional and friendly, and the other volunteers are smart and dedicated. Furthermore, the students at the center are nice and very welcoming. There are lots of activities and travelling. The Excellence Center is a great academic institution in Hebron, with a noble mission. Go work there, it will be a most beneficial experience.

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Marie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

I took individual lessons with a teacher who is a native Arabic speaker and teaches both Fusha and Amiya. On my first day, my teacher evaluated my level and asked me about my goals and interests in studying Arabic. He then prepared lessons that fit my expectations and level of proficiency. Throughout the month I spent at the Excellence Center, my teacher constantly tailored our classroom activities to my needs and interests. I feel that I learned a lot, and even though learning a new language is a long endeavor, I definitely made progress on that path.

Through my stay with a host family, I discovered Palestinian culture, family life, local cuisine, and daily challenges. I loved sitting together to talk and drink tea everyday! I also played with the children, cooked together with my host family, attended a local festival, and we went on a picnic in the countryside.

I used shared transportation and walked around Hebron by myself almost everyday, including at night, and felt very safe doing so. I also visited other parts of Palestine like Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah, without any problem. In Hebron, I visited the old city center, Ibrahimi Mosque, a glass and ceramic factory, a sandal factory, and Hebron University. Each visit was an opportunity to meet interesting people and practice Arabic!

I was amazed by the generosity, hospitality, friendliness, and resilience of the Palestinian people I met. They made me feel very welcome and comfortable. I recommend the Arabic Program of the Excellence Center to anyone interested in learning the Palestinian dialect and experiencing the Palestinian culture!

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emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer at the Excellence Center

I spent two months in Hebron teaching English and learning Arabic. I have had an amazing time here. My host family and the people at the Excellence Center have made an effort to make me feel as welcome as possible. They have taught me so much about the culture, language and history of the country.

The program was also very flexible, meaning that I have been able to see a lot more of the country and region.

I am so happy to have had this experience in Hebron and I hope to come back soon!

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Nathaniel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A great balance of teaching and learning

Let me first start by saying how happy I am that I came to the Excellence Center. I thought the environment was perfect. I used my experience as a native English speaker with the help of online and Center provided curricula to teach English to people who wanted to accelerate their learning. For learning Arabic, I was happy to be in an area where English isn't overly common. I chose a limited Arabic class schedule of three hours per week because I didn't want to get overwhelmed by book learning. While I sometimes retreated to the dorm for English, at other times I forced others, no matter their English proficiency, to deal with me in my questionable Arabic. Since my goal was more directed at practicing Arabic for proficiency instead of getting classroom training, this suited me perfectly. If this is not the type of atmosphere you are looking for, there are other programs available and the website will have more information

While the experience was wonderful overall, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to learn Arabic in an Arabic speaking country, I do want to relate some caveats to make sure any future students are prepared for them. Let me first explain the lower rating I gave for how much fun I had. I didn't go for fun. If I wanted fun, I would have gone on a typical vacation. I came to the Excellence Center to learn, specifically Arabic. As much as I love the results of studying Arabic, I hate taking classes, so I'd feel disingenuous if I gave a 10 for fun. But I did have fun in spite of myself. I got to tour both Israel and Palestine on my days off, we watched some World Cup, we had some group dinners, but I spent more time trying to figure out how to shop for common household supplies, which was the kind of Arabic practice I was looking for.... but it was not fun.

As for the housing, all your needs will be covered, but don't expect luxury. Once again, it's not that type of vacation. It's described as a dorm, but I'd describe it closer to a hostel. You are provided with furniture and bedding and you will have at least one roommate. My biggest regret with the housing was that I didn't ask to pay a little extra for a family stay. As a bad student, I took the opportunity of being in the dorm to indulge in English being the common language. It would have been a little better for me if I didn't have that type of escape. You'll have to use your judgement to decide if that's right for you, if you're male, that is.

One warning I'd like to give is about Ramadan. As a non-Muslim, I thought that the fasting was the biggest thing to consider for Ramadan. It turns out that the biggest change is to people's sleep schedules. Because fasting happens during the day, people spend their time awake at night. As a result, during the daytime, people are tired or sleeping. It's not like the country shuts down, but it definitely slows down to a snail's pace. If you are looking to carry a more active schedule, it will be easier for you if you avoid coming during Ramadan.

So, in summary, if you're serious enough to set yourself on a course of leaning and experience, you should consider coming to the Excellence Center. Know the program, know yourself, and you will benefit immensely.

Caroline
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience, Would Recommend

The Teach English and Learn Arabic the Excellence Center has to offer is great. Us volunteers have the opportunity of leading activities with a wide range of Palestinian English students on various topics. It is a lot of fun to organize activities on subjects for which we are passionate about, but also to hear about what our students want to discuss. Along with these classes, we also receive one on one Arabic classes. I did not expect to be alone with my teacher, which is perfect because we can go through the lessons at my own pace, but also to learn about the Palestinian dialect, offering me a real chance to integrate and participate in the community. The host family the Center has found me is also a big contributor to my experience being so enriching. My host parents, brothers and sisters are always there to help me and happy to receive at their dining table every night. I have mostly enjoyed being part of the family during the time of Ramadan. They were very encouraging of my fasting for the first time and doing iftar (breaking fast) with them has made my difficult days more than worth it.

What would you improve about this program?
During Ramadan, things are a little bit up in the air. It is understandable, but I wish we had a more tangible work schedule during this period.
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Maj
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron

My name is Maj, and I have studied Arabic and taught English with the Excellence Center from February 2018 to May 2018. I am from Denmark where I study at the university in Copenhagen. In the spring 2018 I took 6 months off between my bachelor and my master to travel to Palestine to improve my Arabic.

I studied Arabic with the competent teacher Maryam. We had Arabic class every day for three hours in the morning. The topic of the class changed almost every day which suited me very well. The teaching methods varied so I have never been bored during a class. As I am studying Political Science I asked my teacher to focus on this topic in our class which led me to have a great vocabulary on politics and have the skills to talk and discuss a difficult subject.

I started volunteering at the same time as I started studying Arabic. During my three months in Hebron I have taught the same class together with another volunteer twice a week at the Excellence Center. This has been a very good experience for me as I got the opportunity to get to know the students very well. After class we sometimes went out to eat ice cream or to have dinner which was something I enjoyed very much.

Besides from teaching at the Excellence Center I have also taught at public schools. This gave me the chance to see how the school system in Palestine functions. At the same time I enjoyed speaking with the children and teaching them English. The wonderful thing about teaching children is that you get more familiar with their native language which in this case is of course Arabic. In that way teaching English also helped me understanding Arabic better.

During my stay in Hebron I have lived with a Palestinian family. You can choose to change the family during your stay to get different experience, but I enjoyed my time with my host family so much that it was never something that crossed my mind. I owe my host family great thanks for making my time in Hebron so amazing!

I didn’t know what to expect regarding the safety situation in Hebron before I arrived but after spending three months in one of the most conservative cities in Palestine where the occupation is close to daily life I discovered that there was nothing to be afraid of. I have not once felt unsafe during my stay. People are very friendly and if you need help finding your way there will always be someone guiding you. The Palestinians are very outgoing so if you want to practice Arabic with other Palestinians than your teacher you will have a great opportunity to do that with people in shops and everywhere you go. As a woman travelling to Palestine there are different rules than for the men when it comes to staying out alone in the evening. I chose to follow the general costumes regarding this though the few times I went out alone in the night I didn’t feel unsafe.

Choosing to volunteer at the Excellence Center and living with a Palestinian family have been one of the best things I have done. The staff at the Excellence Center is so friendly and you feel welcomed from the moment you step into the center. I would definitely recommend this to others who want to learn Arabic and get familiar with the Palestinian culture.