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
Sep 18, 2022
Nov 22, 2022
28 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

4.83 Rating
based on 42 reviews
  • 5 rating 83.33%
  • 4 rating 16.67%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.7
  • Support 4.8
  • Fun 4.8
  • Housing 4.4
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 8 of 42 reviews
Default avatar
Angela
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Human Rights Program Review

Marhaba my name is Angela and I’m from the United States. I recently graduated with a degree in political science and the program I participated in at the Excellence Center was the Israel and Palestine in Context Internship. I stayed at the Excellence Center for one month and did various activities everyday. There were frequent visits to offices around Hebron that dealt with different aspects of society. They ranged from governmental offices to local artist studios. Throughout each of these visits, we were able to inquire about their work and how the unique situation of Palestine affects their work. The Excellence Center also provides Arabic lessons so that everyone is able to master basic communication that is vital for moving around Hebron and Palestine as a whole. Because of this I hope to continue my lessons in Arabic back home. The staff and teachers at the Excellence Center are passionate about their work and are especially helpful to the international volunteers. They are eager to teach us Arabic and about the complexity of their daily lives. The students at the Excellence Center are sweet and enthusiastic about learning English and practicing with the internationals. Since the location of Hebron is ideal within the West Bank, I was able to travel every weekend to Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nablus. The Excellence Center also provided great information about traveling to these areas and the types of activities we can do. However, I greatly enjoyed my time spent in Hebron due to the hospitality and generosity from the host family. This was one of the best parts of my time in Palestine because I was able to fully immerse myself within the beautiful Palestinian culture and even practice my Arabic. Not only did my host family make me feel protected but Hebron as a whole is a very safe city. Internationals do typically stick out but it is not a bad thing since many Palestinians are eager to speak with us and invite us over for coffee. I am grateful to the Excellence Center for providing such an amazing experience to me and all the internationals

Pros
  • Learn to have a basic converstion in Arabic
  • Immerse yourself in Palestinian culture
  • Participate in Human Rights organizations
Cons
  • Needed time to adjust being a woman in Palestine (staring)
  • Lack of a defined structure in the teaching programme
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Isnad
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Open Learning in Palestine

I spent 2 weeks as a volunteer, with the intention to learn more about the Palestinian culture and struggle. I also wanted to learn some Arabic and contribute in any way I can. My experience was amazing and surreal. I was hosted by an very sweet family. The staff at the Excellence Centre are VERY supportive and it was refreshing to be with volunteers who are passionate about similar things. Through the centre I was able to safely open channels of communication with the local community in Palestine.

3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Aran
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Human Rights Program Review

My name is Aran and I have come to Al Khalil from the UK. I have a degree in history and a masters degree in geopolitics and conflict.

I have come to the end of a two and a half week stint in Hebron and can honestly say that I have loved every minute of my time here. I have spent time meeting local people, visiting cultural sites, learning about the history of Palestine and of course eating loads of great food. These experiences were informative, moving and will definitely impact the way I live on my return to the UK.

In addition to this I have received some basic Arabic lessons. These lessons were fun and useful in day to day life. Hebron is a brilliant place to come to learn Arabic as the local population are so welcome and always keen to connect with new comers to their city. That means there is ample opportunity to practice the language skills you are learning at the excellence centre, and even learn more Arabic from the street.

An unexpected joy at the EC has been the other international participants in courses. I have had a great time meeting others from around the world who are interested in learning Arabic and about Middle Eastern culture. People are always up for exploring the city, the rest of the region and generally spending time together. In my time here is have visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho with other participants I met at the centre.

As part of my time at the centre I have visited local hospitals, the chamber of commerce and met with officials from the education department. In these visits I learnt about the civil infrastructure of the city and some of the unique challenges the local population has to overcome on a daily basis in order live and thrive. Olive picking, visiting ceramics factories and watching traditional glass blowing were all highlights too. I also visited the Old City of Hebron and met families living on Shahada street in the shadow of Israeli settlers and human rights activists working there. To see how the introduction of checkpoints at the heart of the city has fundamentally altered the way in which Palestinians can exist within their own city has been particularly eye opening. So too visiting Al Fawar refugee camp and hearing the stories of families that had lived there since being displaced by the 1948 Nakbar will leave a lasting impact. These personal stories of perseverance in the face of long term suffering were helpfully contextualised by having also revived a series of lectures about the history of the region and the contemporary political situation of Palestine. These many rich experiences facilitated by the excellence centre will no doubt have a deeper impact on me as I process what I have heard and learnt here on my return to the UK.

Despite the gravity of the situation here, it has only been a joy to live amounts Palestinians here in Hebron. The warmth of there people here is something I will not forget, and hope to replicate in my own life if possible. The buzz of the city is infectious and it is incredibly easy to participate in life here, even as a foreigner with minimal Arabic language skills. I has been a genuine privilege to spent this short period of time in Hebron and I only wish that I could stay longer.

3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Aran
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Human Rights Program Review

My name is Aran and I have come to Al Khalil from the UK. I have a degree in history and a masters degree in geopolitics and conflict.

I have come to the end of a two and a half week stint in Hebron and can honestly say that I have loved every minute of my time here. I have spent time meeting local people, visiting cultural sites, learning about the history of Palestine and of course eating loads of great food. These experiences were informative, moving and will definitely impact the way I live on my return to the UK.

In addition to this I have received some basic Arabic lessons. These lessons were fun and useful in day to day life. Hebron is a brilliant place to come to learn Arabic as the local population are so welcome and always keen to connect with new comers to their city. That means there is ample opportunity to practice the language skills you are learning at the excellence centre, and even learn more Arabic from the street.

An unexpected joy at the EC has been the other international participants in courses. I have had a great time meeting others from around the world who are interested in learning Arabic and about Middle Eastern culture. People are always up for exploring the city, the rest of the region and generally spending time together. In my time here is have visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho with other participants I met at the centre.

As part of my time at the centre I have visited local hospitals, the chamber of commerce and met with officials from the education department. In these visits I learnt about the civil infrastructure of the city and some of the unique challenges the local population has to overcome on a daily basis in order live and thrive. Olive picking, visiting ceramics factories and watching traditional glass blowing were all highlights too. I also visited the Old City of Hebron and met families living on Shahada street in the shadow of Israeli settlers and human rights activists working there. To see how the introduction of checkpoints at the heart of the city has fundamentally altered the way in which Palestinians can exist within their own city has been particularly eye opening. So too visiting Al Fawar refugee camp and hearing the stories of families that had lived there since being displaced by the 1948 Nakbar will leave a lasting impact. These personal stories of perseverance in the face of long term suffering were helpfully contextualised by having also revived a series of lectures about the history of the region and the contemporary political situation of Palestine. These many rich experiences facilitated by the excellence centre will no doubt have a deeper impact on me as I process what I have heard and learnt here on my return to the UK.

Despite the gravity of the situation here, it has only been a joy to live amounts Palestinians here in Hebron. The warmth of there people here is something I will not forget, and hope to replicate in my own life if possible. The buzz of the city is infectious and it is incredibly easy to participate in life here, even as a foreigner with minimal Arabic language skills. I has been a genuine privilege to spent this short period of time in Hebron and I only wish that I could stay longer.

5 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Cormac
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Human Rights Program Review

My name is Cormac and I’m from Ireland. I have a master’s degree in political science and volunteered in the human rights program at the Excellence Centre. Overall, it was a fantastic experience. Each day we met different political actors and learned a lot about the quotidian aspects of Palestinian culture and life in Hebron. The randomness of each day allowed us to immerse ourselves within the centre which gave me an understanding of the country I don’t think I could have gotten back home.
The site visits varied greatly from industries to commerce and also a number of human rights organisations. We also were taught by teachers in the centre about apartheid here in Palestine and I had the opportunity to learn Arabic as well. These lessons were taught by Marwa who took great care and was very encouraging throughout each class. The centre’s other teachers were also very accommodating and helpful.
As each weekend approached, I visited Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Ramallah, places I never thought I’d get the chance to go to.
My overall experience was one I will never forget and I will definitely be visiting again.

Pros
  • Excellent teaching
  • Opportunity to meet different people in different professions to understand life in Palestine
  • Experience Palestinian culture
Cons
  • Accommodation
5 people found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Dear Cormac,

Thank you so much for posting your review, we are very glad that you enjoyed your Human Rights Program at the Excellence Center/Engage in Palestine.

We wish you all the best and hope to meet you in Palestine 🇵🇸 in the future.

With kind regards,

Default avatar
Phevia
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Human Rights Program in Hebron

My name is Phevia, I’m from Australia and I am studying Social Science (Security and International Relations). This year, I joined the Human Rights Program for 3 weeks at the Excellence Center in Hebron.

Some of the places I visited were Al Fawwar Refugee Camp, The Old City of Hebron, The villages of Massafer Yatta, The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Hebron Municipality, Blind Charitable Society (School), PAL Motion, The Association of Human Rights Defenders, Al Shahuda St and H2. The visits we made and the perspectives we got to hear from different people gave us a better understanding of the situation and how it impacts different areas in Hebron and Palestine and how different demographics are impacted. Overall, the visits give a broader picture of how people in Palestine are resisting the occupation and how the kind of help provided to Palestinians vary.

During my time in Palestine, I did 3 hours a week of Arabic lessons with Marwa which I really enjoyed. The Arabic lessons were a highlight for me and if you embrace the language, you will learn more during your time in Palestine from everyone because they love to teach you Arabic on the street and in the shops. You can learn new words with almost every interaction, and it made it easier to get around Hebron knowing basic conversational Arabic.

I also visited the cities of Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah during my free time in Palestine and found it easy enough to get shared taxis or services to these cities. I recommend visiting other cities to learn more about Palestine and its history. It is also important to support Palestinian businesses and their economy.

I stayed with a host family in Hebron and enjoyed the experience as I found it comforting to stay in a home. I was able to meet families during my stay and enjoy home cooked Palestinian food.

Except for a few instances, I felt mostly safe in Palestine. I think there’s always danger anywhere you go even in your home country and its mostly dependent on individual. I recommend taking extra care to be aware of your surroundings and ask for updates on the situation on a daily basis.

I also found Palestinians to be mostly helpful and welcoming. I liked the hospitality of people in Palestine, you’re always welcomed with coffee and tea and every person greets you with a welcome even if you’re only passing by.

My overall experience in Palestine was good, and I will miss the people and the country. I would recommend this experience to others whether completing a Human Rights Program or learning Arabic. I think the best way to approach the programs in Palestine is to not have high expectations, as the country is going through a difficult situation and often things change last minute due to strikes. This can make planning activities a bit difficult with last-minute cancellations but eventually, you will get to do them and it’ll be worth it. Before traveling to Palestine it pays off to have a basic understanding of the conflict, so you can be more culturally aware and sensitive.

Pros
  • Learn arabic
  • Opportunity to meet different people in different professions to understand life in Palestine
  • Experience Palestinian culture
Cons
  • Distance from accomodation to the center (this can vary though)
  • Some days are short or activities are limited
5 people found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Salam Phevia,

Thank you so much for posting your review, we are very glad that you enjoyed your Human Rights Program at the Excellence Center/Engage in Palestine.

We wish you all the best and hope to meet you in Palestine 🇵🇸 in the future.

With kind regards,

Default avatar
Josefin
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Human Rights Program Review

My name is Josie, and I am a twenty-year-old undergraduate student from Germany. I study Middle Eastern Studies and Economics. Because of that I took the opportunity to come to Palestine during my summer holidays. I participated in the Human Rights Program for two months. In the course of the program, I learned about human rights in Palestine through a presentation and visits to different institutions in Hebron. Furthermore, I received Arabic lessons and taught some English.

The center organized a lot of visits to different institutions and places. I had the chance to talk to government employees, doctors, teachers, journalists, activists and other interesting people. It was great to get an overview over the human rights situation in Palestine and the obstacles that Palestinians face on a daily basis. However, time restrictions and the language barrier sometimes made it hard to talk about topics in depth. Still, I learned a lot about the occupation and the situation in Palestine.
My favorite visit was to the Bedouin villages of Masafer Yatta. We visited several of them and talked to the families about their living conditions and how the occupation affects them. Some other institutions I visited were the Chamber of Commerce, the Hebron Municipality and the office of UNRWA at the Fawwar refugee camp.

Living with a host family was a great experience. Me and another volunteer stayed in a little flat inside the family´s house. We shared a bedroom, a bathroom and a small living room. That way we had privacy while also being close to the family. The only inconvenience to that living arrangement was that we didn´t have a kitchen in our flat. We only had a water cooker and a small fridge. So, the nights when we didn´t have dinner with the host family, we weren´t able to cook ourselves.
Most members of the host family didn´t speak any English. It was great to practice speaking Arabic but sometimes caused misunderstanding and made it hard to communicate important things. Luckily, the staff at the center was very helpful when it came to translating or clearing up any issues.
The host family was incredibly kind, and I loved spending time with them. All the members welcomed me warmly and made me feel like a part of the family. They made a big effort to talk to me despite the language barrier. Through a combination of my broken Arabic, their little English, Google Translate and a lot of gestures, we managed very well. I am incredibly glad to have gotten the opportunity to get to know them and to stay with them. Their hospitality was amazing. When my mother visited for a week, they even let her stay in their house as well. The two months I spent with them gave me an invaluable insight into Palestinian day-to-day life and they taught me a lot. I will definitely come back to visit them.

I received two ninety-minute lessons of Arabic per week. The first three weeks me and another volunteer had our lessons together, but after she left, I received single lessons. Even though I had taken one year of Modern Standard Arabic in university before, it was challenging to learn the Palestinian dialect. The grammar is easier but different and some letters are pronounced differently. The focus of the lessons was on speaking which was very useful and helped me with communicating with people here. I really enjoyed the lessons and the challenge of studying Ammiya.

The employees at the center were great. They were very kind and took the time to help with problems and answer questions about Palestinian culture. Having so many students at the center was nice because they were very eager to practice their English and willing to help us with Arabic in return.

I had never taught English before, so I was a little thrown to be put in front of a class without any preparation and the first time even without forewarning or the time to prepare something. Especially knowing that the students paid for the classes when I was clearly not qualified to teach them, made me uncomfortable. It was a learning curve for both the students and me. I have to say that I will probably not teach English again in the future, but it was a challenge and it was good to try it out.

I used seven of my eight weekends to travel to other cities. The services (small 7 seat buses that drive without a set route or schedule) that operate inside the Westbank made it possible to travel safely and for a very affordable price. I used them to go to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho, Nablus, and Ramallah. The bus and train system in Israel made it possible to visit cities there as well, so I went to Akko, Haifa, Tel Aviv and Eilat.

Before coming here, I had some concerns about safety in the Westbank. However, during my stay I felt very safe. The people here, especially in Hebron, are very curious about foreigners, so they sometimes stared but not in a bad way. Because of their curiosity people here are very eager to talk to foreigners (and also to sell stuff to them). Whenever I asked for directions, they were very helpful and kind. Even walking alone at night, I felt safe. There were two instances when men followed me and my friends and made us uncomfortable but that could have happened just as well in any European city.
The military presence of the Israelis was very noticeable with all the checkpoints, but they never caused any problems for me or any other foreigners. Even when there were clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli military, they were restricted to small areas, and I only ever heard about it in the news.

Overall, I had a great time in Hebron. Not only did I learn a lot about Palestinian culture and the occupation, but I also learned a lot about hospitality, kindness and resilience. It was an incredible experience and I´m very glad that I came here. I will cherish the memories of my stay here and the people I met.

Pros
  • Housing in a Palestinian host family (only for girls)
  • Wonderful people (staff, people in Hebron, students from the center)
  • Getting into contact with activists and organizations from Hebron
Cons
  • Sometimes a little chaotic and very spontaneous
  • Lack of ommunication of planned visitsand activities to everyone
4 people found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Salam Ya Josefine,

Thank you so much for posting your review, we are very glad that you enjoyed your Human Right Program at the Excellence Center/Engage in Palestine.

We wish you all the best and hope to meet you in Palestine 🇵🇸 in the future.

With kind regards,

مروة
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Women's rights programme experience

Hi, my name is Zoe and I am a 19-year-old politics and economics student from the UK.

While at the Excellence Center, I participated in the women's rights programme so I spent most of my time visiting different organisations and talking to women about their experiences living and working in Palestine. It was incredibly inspiring to see their determination and creativity, even in the face of such severe challenges. I especially enjoyed meeting some of the female journalists, both at the WAFA agency and at the Al Huriya radio station. At the core of the Palestinian struggle is a fight against supression of the Palestinian perspective and false narratives propagated by the Israeli and international media. It was shocking to hear directly from these women about the ways in which the news agencies had been targeted by Israeli forces; through forced eviction from the building, nighttime raids and destruction of equipment as well as opposition in the field. While hearing about these challenges, I was especially struck by their relentlessness and courage which really highlighted the importance of the work they were doing.

The Arabic lessons at the center were very well structured, focussing on both reading and speaking. Marwa was an amazing teacher and being able to apply everything we learnt immediately talking to my host family and other people we met around Hebron made the language much easier to remember. Apparently, I’ve even picked up a slight Hebron accent! Staying with a host family was such a privilege as it allowed me to have an insider perspective on the culture and feel properly integrated into the community. I was even invited to join my family at a wedding which was an incredible experience!

The environment at the center is warm and friendly so I felt at home after no time at all. The other volunteers and staff get along very well and I have made many friends I know I will stay in contact with. One piece of advice is to try and be really open to trying new things and using all the Arabic you learn without worrying about making mistakes.

I felt safe most of the time in Hebron. There were a couple of times when we came back late from visiting other cities where it had gotten dark and I had to get a taxi home, but the other volunteers I was with were very good at making sure everyone got home safely. As with everywhere, it is important to take precautions, but I felt safe enough to travel by myself and found people friendly and eager to help.

While here, I also got the chance to visit some other cities in Palestine; Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nablus. It was really interesting to see the differences between the cities and experience a broader range of Palestinian culture. I would especially recommend Nablus- the Kanafeh there is world renowned!

After spending 2 weeks here, I would definitely love to come back! I have really enjoyed getting to know Hebron and the people here and would like to spend more time travelling throughout Palestine and further developing my understanding of the situation here. I have been incredibly struck by the warmth of the people here and the beauty of the landscape and culture so would definitely recommend visiting!

Pros
  • Learn arabic
  • Meet new people
  • Experience Palestinian culture
4 people found this review helpful.
Response from The Excellence Center

Dear Zoe,

Thank you so much for posting your review, we are very glad that you enjoyed your Women's Right Program at the Excellence Center/Engage in Palestine.

We wish you all the best and hope to meet you in Palestine 🇵🇸 in the future.

With kind regards,

Questions & Answers