Location
  • Palestine
Length
4 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Compensation
Unpaid
Timeframe
Academic Year Fall J-Term Maymester Spring Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Housing
Apartment Host Family
Language
Arabic
Weekly Hours
30
Age Min.
18
Age Max
75

Pricing

Starting Price
1250
Price Details
Excellence Center charges a fee of 1250$ per month. The program fees include pre-departure support, accommodation, some meals, full coordination while interning in Palestine, some visits to different sites in the city of Hebron.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Meals Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Visa
Apr 25, 2022
Jun 22, 2022
23 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

The Internship in Palestine Program provides internationals with the opportunity to experience the Palestinian culture, daily life, human rights, refugee situations, Palestinian laws, legal situation in the West Bank, and politics in Hebron, West Bank, while participating in a highly regarded community program with the Excellence Center. The Center fosters this cultural experience by organizing visits for interns to different institutions (including both Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and governmental organizations), factories, and refugee camps in Hebron, West Bank, Palestine receiving a firsthand experience of daily life. This exciting experience is delivered through a number of internships at the Center.

Furthermore, participants in the internship may study either Modern Standard Arabic or Ammiya (spoken Arabic dialects), gain transferable skills, meet Palestinian people, stay with a Palestinian host family, and learn more about the rich Palestinian culture.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Studying Arabic in Palestine (Modern Standard Arabic, MSA) or Colloquial Palestinian Arabic
  • Learning more and engaging in Palestinian culture and politics
  • Assisting the cause of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank
  • Leading community activities in the city of Hebron
  • Providing educational support for Palestinian children

Related Programs

Program Reviews

9.42 Rating
based on 19 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 84.21%
  • 7-8 rating 15.79%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Growth 9.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 8.2
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 19 reviews
Default avatar
Fionn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Journalism and Media at the Excellence Center

Hi, my name is Fionn, and I come from Belfast, Ireland. I graduated from Cambridge University last year, where I studied Palestinian literature, like Darwish and Kanafani. This made me fall in love with my Palestine, but the empathy I felt towards the Palestinian cause was often contradicted by the distorted image of Palestine in Western media. For this reason, I chose the ‘Journalism and Media Program’ at the Excellence Center.
I am really glad I chose this program. There were many journalists who came in and spoke to us, and we also visited radio stations. I even made some connections with journalists who invited me to work alongside them, and I probably learned the most about Palestinian media in this way. Aside from this, there were many human rights related activities organised by the Center, including several tours, a visit to a displaced Bedouin village outside Hebron, trips to refugee camps and meetings with human rights activists. All these visits were eye-opening for us: even though I knew about the suffering of the Palestinian people before I came, witnessing it was a surreal experience.
I really enjoyed my Arabic lessons at the Center. Even though I knew no Arabic before I came, my teacher Dallia was unbelievably nice and patient, and I felt like I learned very quickly with her. When she unfortunately had to stop teaching me due to a serious family illness, the Center promptly found me another teacher, Anas. Like all the Palestinians who work at the Center, he is friendly, funny and genuinely talented at teaching.
It may sound like a cliché, but the Center really does feel like a family. Many of the volunteers, like me, had never travelled alone before, and so we were initially nervous, before Osama, Marwa and the rest of the staff made us feel immediately at home. You meet people from all around the world here, yet everyone shares a common love of travel and desire to learn more about Palestine. Before the end of your first week here, you know you have made friends for life. There is a fantastic atmosphere at the Center. You are never bored here: even when you have free time, there is always someone to chat and joke around with.
I will never forget the Palestinian willingness to laugh, at almost everything. I think it was so important for me and others to not only learn about the occupation and suffering, but also about the incredible optimism and friendliness of the Palestinian people. My host family were amazing, and did everything they could to make me feel at home. There is strong sense of pride here—not just of Palestine, but of Hebron itself. I am really glad I chose Hebron to visit and, as a woman, I felt completely safe here. To be honest, I felt more safe than any other major city I have visited in Europe.
One of the funniest moments of my experience was when a famous Palestinian Tiktoker visited the Center. I had been in Palestine for less than a week, and only knew a couple of phrases in Arabic— one of which was alhamdulillah (the common response to ‘How are you?’). The Tiktoker, when filming the Center, suddenly put the camera on me, and said ‘Good morning’ (sabah alkhayr). In the video, you can see the panic in my eyes as I reply alhamdulillah, although I was fairly proud that I’d managed to say anything at all in Arabic. Everyone looked confused. The celebrity continued to question me in a torrent of Arabic. I froze, widened my eyes, and began to laugh hysterically.

By the end of the day, every Palestinian I had met so far had seen the video, and shouted ‘alhamdulillah’ every time they saw me. It was probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, but the endless banter that followed perfectly encapsulates the familial, jokey atmosphere of the Center in general. If you come here, it will not only be one of the most informative experiences of your life, but you will also become part of something really special. To use an Irish colloquialism, the craic at the Center is always, always great. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.

1 person found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Fionn,

Thank you so much for leaving us an excellent review. We're thrilled you loved your internship at the Excellence Center. We'll be sure to pass along your kind words.

Thanks for your support and great efforts during the three weeks. We wish you all the best and hope to meet you in the future

With kind regards,
The Excellence Center team

Default avatar
Carrie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Human Rights Volunteer Program in Palestine

My name is Carrie, and I’m from America. I am currently pursuing a degree in international relations, with focuses in political science and Spanish. While I was at the Excellence Center in Palestine I participated in the Human Rights Volunteer Program.

As part of the Human Rights Volunteer Program I met with local human rights organizations and activists, toured a number of areas in Palestine that are particularly relevant to human rights, and attended classes on the human rights situation in Palestine and the violations of international laws. All of the visits we did in the Human Rights Volunteer Program were incredibly interesting and informative, and they included a wide range of topics, like women’s and children’s rights. When I was not on visits for the program, I studied Arabic at the Excellence Center. My first few weeks of Arabic lessons were not the best, but the teaching staff at the Excellence Center made sure that I eventually found the right person to teach me. I did not learn as much Arabic as I would have liked to, but if I had been taught by my final teacher, Anas, the whole time I was at the Center, I know I would have learned so much more. Anas is truly an amazing Arabic teacher.

The staff at the Excellence Center are amazing; everyone that works here is incredibly kind and generous with their time and efforts. I also really enjoyed meeting and speaking with other international volunteers. Learning about the differences in perspectives and education in our respective countries was so interesting, especially when comparing what we knew coming into the program to what we have all learned during our time here in Palestine. Overall the Excellence Center has a nice, welcoming environment; it makes you want to stay longer.

When I was not at the Excellence Center, I was enjoying my time with my host family in Hebron. I have had an amazing experience with my host family. My host family has been so kind and welcoming to me, and I know that if I come back to Hebron I have a place to stay with them. I have visited relatives with them, had family dinners almost every night, and attended engagement celebrations and weddings with them. I love my family here in Hebron, and they represent the city so well. Everyone I have met in Hebron has been wonderful. I have stayed here for a month and I have heard “welcome to Hebron” while walking in the street at least once a day.

One of my favorite things to do while in Hebron is going to cafes with the volunteers at the center and with some local young people too. Occasionally we have stayed out well after dark, but I have not felt unsafe ever. Walking at night in public as a woman is something I would never do in the US, but I feel completely safe doing so in Hebron because everyone I meet is willing to help if I need it. Overall my favorite thing about Palestine in the people and the hospitality; you really have to experience it to understand. After being in Hebron for a few days I knew I would be back. I feel even more strongly about coming back to Hebron after a month of being here. I would absolutely recommend going to the Excellence Center in Hebron. It is an experience that I will cherish forever.

1 person found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Carrie,

Thank you so much for leaving us an excellent review. We're thrilled you loved your Human Rights Internship at the Excellence Center. We'll be sure to pass along your kind words.

Thanks for your support and great efforts during the last five weeks.

We are very glad that you enjoyed your stay with the Palestinian host family, Arabic lessons, meeting new people.

We wish you all the best and hope to meet you in the future

With kind regards,
The Excellence Center team

Default avatar
Luke
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer Internship in Palestine

The Excellence Center's Summer Internship in Palestine is an incredible program for students, volunteers, teachers, or travelers to have the opportunity to learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict first hand. Moreover, the Center provides in depth Arabic instruction at your level. No matter if you are a beginner or almost to fluency, these teachers know how to teach you. I have experienced events and places I could not have imagined. I have interviewed and met with people hosting indescribable experiences. From refugee camps to the governor's office, I have notes upon notes filled in my notebook with valuable information. I will never forget meeting with a Palestinian woman who's husband was murdered by the IDF. Her testimony was one that gave me the chills and truly opened my eyes to what is truly happening on the ground here --- something unseen in western media.

The Palestinian people are what I will truly miss the most. Their hospitality and respect is incomparable. I was invited to multiple homes where I met amazing friends and have established my place in families all over Palestine. I have more brothers and sisters here than I ever will have in the United States.

This place is completely safe and I feel more safe in Palestine than I do in the streets of the United States. The people here look out for one another and protect their own. Living, learning, teaching, eating, and enjoying life with Palestinians make you apart of their family, and with that, you will be safe at all times.

This has been my greatest choice and experience. The Center is so flexible and catered to my every need. I am using this for university credit and university research and they set up the proper interviews, trips, and opportunities to research as much as I needed.

I will truly miss this place and these people. Inshallah I will come back.

Pros
  • People
  • International Relations & Politics
  • Language
2 people found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Luke,

Thank you so much for leaving us an excellent review. We're thrilled you loved your Internship experience in Hebron, Palestine. We'll be sure to pass along your kind words.

We are glad that you had the chance to experience the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, human rights and Palestinian refugees first hand.

Thanks for your support and great efforts during the last four weeks and we are looking forward to seeing you again in Palestine

With kind regards,
The Excellence Center team

Default avatar
Bahira
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Door Opener Into Palestinian Everyday Life - and People's Hearts

Activities
My main activity was teaching English to Palestinians of ages between 4 and 33. I did this in the Fawwar refugee camp as well as at the Excellence Center in Hebron. In both places this was very rewarding, as my students were basically already happy that I was just there, and even more when we had interesting conversations that encouraged them to further practice their English skills. It became apparent that in many cases, the interaction with me was the first opportunity to practice especially their spoken skills outside of a classroom. Often this motivated them to continue learning and improving their abilities to have a conversation in English.

Arabic Lessons
The Arabic lessons with Marwa were not only helpful and practical, but moreover set in a motivating learning atmosphere=) As I was in a host family that spoke mainly Arabic, at the beginning of my stay of course I barely could understand anything if my host mom wouldn't translate it for me. As time went by and I continued learning Arabic with Marwa, I was so happy to realize that my Arabic skills were improving quite fast. On the one hand, this was because I was in an environment in which I was highly exposed to written and spoken Arabic, but on the other hand it also had to do with the fact that Marwa focussed on teaching me very helpful vocabulary and grammar that I could use immediately. A big *thank you* to Marwa for the interesting and very useful lessons, and the relaxed atmosphere that enhanced my learning curve!

Center's Environment
I feel so lucky while I am writing this, because literally everyone was nice, welcoming and eager to make me belong! I enjoyed hanging around with the staff and the international fellows so much that I would find myself long after the classes have ended still sitting at the Center and having interesting (and funny!) conversations, e.g. about Palestinian culture and everyday life, about funny aspects of the English and Arabic language, about life in Hebron and many topics more. Now that my stay is coming to an end, I am full of gratitude (and sadness...) as it feels as if I have an extended family in Hebron now - it includes all those who beautified my time at the Excellence Center.

Visits
The Excellence Center made possible many visits that were tailored to my interests and wishes - I am very grateful that so many doors were opened to enhance my knowledge and experience of Palestinian life in the West Bank. These included tours through the Old City of Hebron and the Ibrahimi Mosque as well as a kindergarden and community center in the Old City; an excursion to Ramallah; a tour through a women-only kitchen that supplies food to families and school canteens; experiencing the graduation party at a school for blind children; visiting the only Kufiyyah factory in the whole of Palestine; going on a hike to see Palestine's beautiful nature; giving a class at the Tanweer Center in Beit Ummar; and incredibly insightful excursions to the Law faculty at Hebron University and to the Chamber of Commerce in Hebron.
All of these visits enhanced my understanding of Palestinian life in the West Bank significantly and the open exchanges were incredibly insight- and fruitful!

Living with a host family
Eventhough I lived a bit outside of Hebron in a town close-by (about 20 minutes by car away), very early on I came to see it as a privilege: Firstly, I had more nature surrounding me and the commute to Hebron made for a nice division between "work time" and "leisure time." Secondly, I had a more nuanced experience of town-life and city-life, as there are slight differences between the two. In a nutshell, I got to see another layer of Palestinian life that would have otherwise been hidden. Most importantly, my host family was incredibly welcoming. From day one, I was part of the family, and this weren't empty words, but lived everyday experience. At the beginning, I had to adjust to the fact that being part of the family means also not having as much me-time as I was used to in Europe, yet I communicated that openly, as well as my vegetarianism. At first this was slightly frowned upon due to its unusual nature: "Me-time instead of us-time? And no meat? You are weird..." But as time progressed, so did the acceptance of my host family, and at visits to other family members they would even advocate for me and explain why I wouldn't eat meat. So I highly recommend being aware of your boundaries, setting them straight at the beginning and bringing along a notch of patience - sooner than later you'll enjoy your time as a family member and you won't want to leave.

Safety and Security in Palestine
As a lone woman in a foreign country you're always faced with the question of how safe it is being in the streets on your own. I have to say, here in Hebron there wasn't one incident in which I felt unsafe or menaced. Quite on the contrary people here are very courteous and eager to ensure you have a pleasant time. For unseasoned female travellers: As a woman that is noticeably from a different country, you will get looked at (briefly, but noticeably) when you walk on the streets. But this is due to the fact that tourists here are rare, and thus it is unusual to see foreigners. A male fellow international told us that he got looked at because he wore shorts, which is again a highly unusual thing here lol. I can say from my own experience that even these incidents are short, and of a friendly kind. Thus I wouldn't hesitate to recommend coming here and seeing for yourself how welcoming, kind the people here are - they're curious and grateful to get to know you.

What I liked most about Palestine
What I liked most about Palestine was definitely the people. The resilience and joy of the people I have met here is impressive and heartwarming at the same time. The sense of gratitude that I got from so many acquaintances about me being here and wanting to know more about Palestinian life was so overwhelming. Often I felt unreasonably special, but I quickly learned that this stems from a culture in which hospitality is a high, if not the highest virtue and I felt this every day I spent here. I am very grateful to having gained so many new, interesting, and honest friendships and already look forward to - insha'Allah - coming soon again!

My favorite experience in Palestine
There were so many nice incidents during my time here! One of the funniest was when my fellow international friend Sheila and I gave our last class in the Fawwar refugee camp. We thought of having a nice game of musical chairs and every time someone would lose a round, they had to make a sentence in English with a given noun, verb, and adjective. Everyone took each round so serious and truly wanted to get a seat, it was hilarious and we had so much fun while actually learning English!

Recommendation
My time here is unforgettable, so many doors to places and people's hearts were opened thanks to the Excellence Center. If you are interested in more than just a superficial tourist-y glimpse, I highly recommend coming here and taking part in Palestinian everyday life according to your interests and wishes. Not only will you be warmly welcomed, but moreover contribute to lasting learning experiences - the local's, the internationals', and your own.

Pros
  • Language teaching and learning at the same time
  • Incredible hospitality and kindness of all the staff
  • Experiencing Palestine first hand
Cons
  • As a vegetarian, you have to adjust a bit - but it is possible to remain vegetarian! ;)
  • Bring along a flexibility regarding scheduling and time management
  • Me-time is not a concept - but if you ask for it, you will get it.
3 people found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Dear Bahira,

Thank you for leaving us an excellent, detailed, informative and amazing review. We're thrilled you loved your experience in the Human Rights and Refugee Program Hebron, Palestine and we'll be sure to pass along your kind words.

Thanks for your kind words and we look forward to seeing you again in Palestine

With kind regards,
The Excellence Center team

Default avatar
Hasoon
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Unique Opportunity to Understand a Complicated Situation

Having started my experience with the Excellence Centre (EC) with the Refugee Programme, I spoke with Osama and Marwa to change my programme on to the Human Rights Programme. Having enjoyed my experience in Al Fawar Refugee camp, and having watched another two volunteers join the Human Rights Programme, I was curious to see what I could learn from it.

The format of the programme consisted of attending meetings, tours and Q&A sessions with a variety of professionals and groups. Ranging from social issues to political ones, I was fortunate enough to sit in on meetings with, and learn from, human rights activists, women's rights activists, lawyers, local charities and NGO's, radio personalities and journalists, whilst also doing tours of contested areas.

Each day was different on this programme and what you learnt would all depend on who you met. There were highly enlightening discussions we took part in, such as the political talk we had with The Human Rights Defenders Group. Every meeting we had was different in nature, and on some occasions we would have discussions with individuals whose core principals were very different to my own, though I found this added more value to the programme as the possibility to have an in-depth conversation with someone with an opposing point of view, about a sensitive topic, is not an opportunity which comes by often.

Every so often the programme would spring up a day which you would not expect. Like the day we were taken to the Hebron Blind Charity Association. A fantastic experience in which we met a group of people who put their heart and souls into empowering the blind children of the city. In an occupied land, where restrictions are placed on almost every aspect of life, it was inspirational to see an organisation such as this thriving.

Each individual room was purposefully and thoughtfully crafted, the equipment of the highest quality and the structure well thought out to not just give the blind children a safe and loving place to grow, but also where they are prepared to enter the real world without letting their lack of vision holding them back. Having the privilege to witness this charity, I found another form of resistance, one which succeeds under any circumstances.

The Human Rights Programme is one in which you will have both memorable and forgettable days, but the options will always be given to you. You will get great insight from a variety of perspectives about what life is like in Palestine, and one of its key strengths, as with any programme you choose with the Excellence Centre, is that if you are open and communicative with Marwa and Osama about what it is you want, they will go above and beyond to get it for you.

Pros
  • The People
  • The Culture
  • The Country
Cons
  • Living Conditions
  • Too many foreigners
3 people found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Dear Hasoon,

Thank you for leaving us an excellent review. We're thrilled you loved your experience in the Human Rights and Refugee Program Hebron, Palestine and we'll be sure to pass along your kind words. Thanks for your kind words and we look forward to seeing you again in Palestine

With kind regards,
The Excellence Center team

Default avatar
Tenzin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellence Center

Being in Palestine is an experience that everyone should really have. As an American Jewish person, I felt compelled to come to the West Bank, to see for myself what the situation is, and to be amongst a community that could share with me a perspective we don't get in America. While I was initially trepidatious to out myself, after a week everyone knew- and no one cared. On the contrary people were supportive, thoughtful, and wanted to engage in meaningful conversation - overall people seemed to just want to laugh, and not live under occupation.

The Excellence Center itself is staffed with warm hearts, willing to help, willing to share, and wanting to learn. Most everyone speaks English well, and being an educator myself, can say that the educators there are quite good.

The communication could be a little clearer overall, and the programming more clearly laid out. As well, one can expect the living accommodations to not meet Western standards.

All in all, I'd give the Excellence Center high marks, in creating a welcoming community, that is oriented toward learning and cross pollination.

Pros
  • Kindness
  • Safety
  • Life changing experience
Cons
  • Cleanliness
  • Lack of clarity
  • Living accommodations are an afterthought
6 people found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Tenzin,

Thank you for leaving us an excellent review. We're thrilled you loved your experience at the Excellence Center in Hebron, Palestine and we'll be sure to pass along your kind words. We are very happy to hear from you that Palestinian people were supportive, thoughtful, and wanted to engage in meaningful conversation as well as the Excellence Center itself is staffed with warm hearts, willing to help, willing to share, and wanting to learn. Thanks for your kind words and we look forward to seeing you again in Palestine 🇵🇸

Thanks for pointing out what we can do better in the future; we really appreciate your valuable feedback.

With kind regards,
The Excellence Center in Palestine Team

Default avatar
Ann Marie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Human Rights Programme

My name is Ann Marie and I am from Ireland. I took part in the Human Rights programme at the Excellence Center in order to meet with prominent Civil Society Organisations in Hebron to get a sense of how the Israeli occupation impacts the lives of people in Palestinian, and to get some ideas on topics I could research for my final masters thesis.

I met with human rights organisations, women’s groups, environmental groups, legal professionals as well as activists, to get an all round sense of the situation on the ground, and the challenges these organisations face in advocating for people’s freedoms and rights.

I took Arabic lessons 3 times a week and my overall experience of learning at the center was really professional and interesting. The Excellence Center lived up to my expectations and more.

As well as the professional learning experience from the staff at the centre, there is also the added experience of learning from the ever present and transient international visiting group as well as the added experience of getting to live with a host Palestinian family. I was hosted by a lady called Sada who has become a friend for life, who showed me true Palestinian hospitality. The center also organised fun days out to experience other areas of Palestine and to keep the experience interactive and light. I would encourage anyone to come to Palestine. In light of current world events, the situation in Palestine needs to remain in the minds of all of us in the International community in order to provide solidarity and advocacy for the people of Palestine.

Pros
  • Experience Palestine
  • Meet new people
  • Palestinian hospiality
Cons
  • May be outside of home comforts
  • Need money to sustain your programme.
8 people found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Ann Marie,

Thank you very much for posting a review. We appreciate it and we wish you all the best. We are happy to hear that the Excellence Center lived up to your expectations and more.

With kind regards,
The Excellence Center in Palestine

Default avatar
Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Internship in Hebron

The experience in Palestine is unique and cannot be found anywhere else. The Excellence Center provides as an amazing host in Hebron. From the moment I arrived in Palestine they constantly made sure I was happy and feeling safe. With Arabic lessons, visiting cultural sites, teaching English courses; there is endless information and experience to gain. The host families are warm and welcoming, there is never a moment that you do not feel safe in Hebron. Today there is a lot of negative media about Hebron but once you are here it is not even noticeable.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would focus on my Arabic courses and take more classes
18 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers