Internship in Palestine

Video and Photos

two girls sitting at desk together
two girls sitting at desk together
two people holding a certificate
two people holding a certificate
teacher standing at desk with students
teacher standing at desk with students
three girls around a desk studying with teacher standing next to them
three girls around a desk studying with teacher standing next to them

About

The "Internship in Palestine" program was designed for internationals, who would like to learn Palestinian Arabic, live the Palestinian daily life, and engage in the culture, politics and social life in Palestine.

Participants will have the opportunity to stay with a Palestinian host family and truly live the Palestinian daily life as well as learn some Arabic, meet Palestinian people and learn how to cook Palestinian food.

International interns will also participate in some educational and community development activities at local universities, schools and community centers in the city of Hebron. Visits to local industries, governmental institutions, and historical sites will be organized during the internship period in Palestine.

The Excellence Center welcomes participants who are between 18 – 50 years old to apply year round. Participants receive a diploma and recommendation letter at the end of their internship in Palestine.

Join Our Family in Palestine and Germany

Welcome to the Excellence Center: People who are between 18 – 75 years old are eligible to participate in all of our programs in Palestine and Germany. All nationalities and majors are welcome! You do not have to have any degree to join us. The Excellence Center hosts internationals year-round. Participants decide when they would like to start and end their programs. We are very flexible when it comes to starting and ending dates.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 10 reviews
  • Growth 9.1
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 8.6
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 10 of 10
Default avatar
Yuzuki
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2 months stay in Palestine with the Excellence Center

I came to Palestine after studying abroad in England for one year in the field of peace Studies program. Here at the Excellence Center, I joined two-month internship programs that consist of some short trips, two-week intensive Arabic lessons, and teaching English program.

As for the Arabic course, I really enjoyed every class for two weeks and I can now make simple sentences in Arabic, although I had not studied the language before. Apart from the classes, my Palestinian friends at the center, such as the teachers, stuff, and volunteers, were willing to teach me Arabic when they had time. Thanks to everyone here, I came to love this language. I would like to continue studying Arabic after I go back home.

In addition to that, teaching English to the local students was great, although it was hard at the same time. Students here listened to me very attentively, which helped me a lot. Due to the language barrier, certainly there were times when I struggled over how to communicate with them, but they were full of curiosity about different cultures and tried speaking eagerly to me in English. They always motivated me to do my best for them. I will miss my students I got to work with this summer in Palestine!

Most importantly, what made my stay in Palestine wonderful and unforgettable were the people themselves. Hebron is often said to be the most conservative city in Palestine, but it doesn’t necessarily mean exclusive. People in this city are very friendly and I received a warm welcome from them. The warm and welcoming atmosphere especially at the Excellence Center made me feel like part of the family. I hope I can come back to this place! You don’t need to worry about coming to Palestine alone. I am sure you will have lots of fond memories here.

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

Internship in Palestine

I spent two months in Hebron, Palestine with the Excellence Center, and honestly, it was probably one of the best life choices I’ve ever made. I don’t think I can describe how much this internship helped me to develop as a person and as an Arabic speaker. Through the host family experience and the Arabic courses, I went from someone who could speak some Arabic, but was extremely timid and never did so, to someone who is comfortable having conversations in Arabic, even if I’m not 100% positive on how to say certain things. The Arabic I learned in the classes here is called Khalili- which is the local dialect in Hebron (Khalil in Arabic). Learning this dialect has helped to connect me to the local population, my host family, and helped me to be able to ask questions on the street in a dialect that is familiar to everyone here. However, one can also study Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) if that is what they want to do.

When I first arrived at the Center I was a nervous wreck, I’ve recently arrived in a foreign country, didn’t know what to expect, and didn’t know anyone here beyond exchanging emails. However, I was welcomed here with open arms, by both the staff and the amazing manager and the other volunteers. I was instantly relieved and was greeted by my host family shortly after. After my intensive Arabic courses were over I had different political tours of Hebron filled with information and many different people’s perspectives of the occupation and life in Palestine. From visiting the governorate to seeing the near ghost town of H2, every visit was educational, interesting, and important for my time in Hebron.

For the last section of my time in Hebron, I was teaching English. I mainly had my own classes but did assist other teachers when needed. This section changed my life. I came into this internship wanting to work for my government and left wanting to continue teaching English as a second language in an Arab country (hopefully Palestine). The kids in my classes were mainly interested, at least half the class wanted to be there and paid attention when I was teaching, as a student of foreign languages this is truly a rarity. These students have made me laugh, challenged me, and turned me into a more patient and kinder person. They have shown me that students can be interested in foreign languages and that with the right students teaching is less of a job than a past time. I highly recommend anyone who is thinking about coming to Hebron to teach, learn Arabic, volunteer, intern, etc. to do it. This is a life-changing experience that is not available elsewhere, as in nowhere else is there the welcoming, loving, family environment that the Excellence Center in Palestine provides.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I recommend that you spend as much time as you can here. This was single-handedly the best experience I've had and my only regret is that I wasn't here longer.
Default avatar
NICHOLAS
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron

I came to The Excellence Center to get a better understanding of the conflict with Israel and explore the West Bank. The experiences I got here more than lived up to my expectations.
I was at the center for one month, where I took Arabic lessons, took tours the Center gave. The tours at the Center gave an immersive experience on what it is like to live in Hebron. We took trips to the Building of Commerce, and the Municipality building in Hebron. There we learned about how the city operated to get the basic needs of their people met, and the difficulties they face trying to accomplish that.
We also visited the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque. During the tour we got to see the inside of the beautiful mosque and learn about its history. The mosque is home to the tomb of Abraham and the site of the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, that forever changed Hebron.
Going on the tours and talking to people here you get an unparallel experience on how the Israel occupation affects the Palestinian people. The occupation has affected many facets of their everyday life such as, the wall in Bethlehem completely segregating the West Bank off, to the travel restrictions, and the loss of personal freedoms.
The Arabic lessons were pact full of information that you could immediately use right after the lesson. Living in an area where Arabic is primarily spoken gives you plenty of time to practice and learn more Arabic. I learned how to read and write the numbers, letters, and many words and phrases that are useful in everyday life. My teacher for my Arabic lessons was great. He spoke very good English and was able to communicate how to properly pronounce Arabic words and give there meaning. I could ask him anything on how to say certain words or phrases or just ask him about how to get around Hebron.
My time at the excellence center was well spent. The people you meet here are amazing and each has their own story to tell. Being here was a great place to travel and to better my Arabic.

What would you improve about this program?
Some of the scheduling is not planed out and you do not know what you are doing until that day.
Ian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Time at the Excellence Center in Palestine

This internship included a number of tasks and experiences that gave me extraordinary educational and professional development. As an intern I would be dually focused on teaching English to clients of the Excellence Center but that I would also be taking Arabic classes. For the first week and a half I was only doing trips and tours, walking around with a teacher named Isaac, who guided us through a lot of the more famous parts of Hebron. I began intensive Arabic classes, starting at 8:30 am in the morning until around noon, then I help out with any of the English classes going on at the moment. The internship brought me into a world that cultivated lifelong friendships, provided professional skills, and provoked a desire to return to that region and work there.

What would you improve about this program?
n/a
Default avatar
elizabeth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron

My name is Lizi. I am from England and am currently studying a Master Degree in Sustainable Development and Disaster Management in Newcastle. I have been at The Excellence Centre for 1 month and have completed the internship program.

During my time at the center, I have been living with a host family in a village called Bait Ommar. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the family and will be keeping in contact with them after I leave Palestine. Staying with a host family really allowed me to get a deeper insight into the Palestinian culture, as well as helping me gain some life long friends. The family showed me things I would never have seen without them, such as local weddings, less travelled locations and family traditions. They were warm, welcoming, generous, hospitable and lovely people. The village itself was beautiful too and have a pleasant contrast to the busier city life of Hebron.

My first week at the center consisted of 5 one to one Arabic classes with my teacher Abraham, which each lasted around 3 hours. These classes were enjoyable and informative. I found Abraham was a good teacher and very easy to get along with. He also gave me the opportunity to steer the lessons into whichever areas were of main interest to me which was great. For example, I wanted to focus on conversational/spoken Arabic more so than writing and reading, so most of the lessons were arranged and personalised around this.

The second week during the internship was my favourite week. During this week, Abrahim (a different Abrahim!) guided and arranged several tours around hebron. We visited Hebron Old City, Rumeida and Shuhada Street, Al-ibrahimi Mosque, Alfawar refugee camp and The Chamber of Commerce. As I was the only one on the internship, the tours were just for him and myself, however we invited the other volunteers and each trip we had a relatively large group accompanying us. Abrahim was a great guide during the trips. He made them very educational and answered any questions we had for him as well as telling us some of his own personal experiences and opinions. It was both sad and shocking to hear the things he has seen, and to hear a monologue from someone who has lived through the stages of this conflict has been invaluable.

I did visit several places independently from the centre also. For example, my host family took me to Bethlehem, Jericho, The Dead Sea, Ramallah and Neblus. Also, alone, I visited Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I had always thought of England as a small country and so it was amazing for me to see just how small Palestine is. The short distances made it easy to travel and I am grateful to the centre and my host family, as in a short time I have been able to see a majority of the beautiful major cities, each with its own unique qualities (for example, nablus is the leader for Knaffa!)

The third week of my internship began with a presentation given by Abraham in teaching techniques with the purpose of preparing me for my final week of teaching. This was very useful and educational. The following day, I was asked to make a presentation of my own stating some ideas I had for future lesson plans. This was challenging as I am not a natural public speaker however the staff were very supportive and warmly welcomed my ideas.

For my final week, I assisted Abraham in teaching his class. The class were at beginner level, so Abrahim would explain the content to them, and I would then write and speak the answers in English. The class were very eager to learn and very grateful and receptive to both their native and international teachers. I found that their attitudes to learning were much more positive than the average UK student and it was a pleasure to work with them in my final week. One of the highlights with this class was the food day! Each student would bring in a delicious dish, give a presentation in English of how they made it, and then everybody would be welcomed to join and share the food together. It was a lovely atmosphere.

Finally, I will end on a point I feel is very important. Did I feel safe in Palestine? I will admit that before leaving, I was nervous to enter the Palestinian territories. I had never met any Palestinians, and most of my knowledge of the place at present was coming from the media. This is the same for most people in Europe, and so I also had friends and family warning me to be careful and even begging me not to go! I can now say in all honestly that I have never felt safer in a country as I have in Palestine. Palestinians are good people. They take pride in their culture, community and generosity. They are always looking to help internationals or if you do not need help, they will want to invite you in for tea and food regardless! I love this country and its people, and I think it's so important that people know the real Palestine, and not the one portrayed in the eyes of the western media.

On leaving Palestine, I wish to go home and complete my studies to hopefully go on to work as an NGO specializing in refugee crisises. I would recommend the excellence center to anyone. I have learnt so much here, and met so many amazing people. I will always keep the Palestinians in my heart after I have left, and will make sure to spread the word of their good nature in my home country. All I can hope is that I will be able to return to this amazing country again some day.

What would you improve about this program?
No areas for improvement, it was perfect :)
Default avatar
Chie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Imagined Palestine

My motivation to come to Palestine was mostly political and in part from cultural curiosity which I have had as I study anthropology. It was my dream to live with Muslim people and see how they spend their daily lives, while Palestine has been the most attractive destination among other Arab countries because of my political interest. I have read good amounts of books on Palestinian-Israeli conflict and my image of staying in Palestine was, not that I was thinking here is dangerous, which is totally incorrect, but that it can be hard and I would probably face harsh realities. In short, I imagined Palestine as a place with its specificity.

My assumption was partly true. I got to hear bunch of sad stories and those examples showed me that people living here are suffering daily from things I already knew from the books. When we have conversations, they suddenly jump into the topic of the occupation, sometimes even do not intend to, and they show me subtle, but clear anger for what they are talking about. Then they switch to brighter topics or daily conversations and the shadow I felt inside their voice disappears. Whenever you hear each of the story, I assure you will feel so depressed that you need to stay away from it for a little moment.

At the same time, contrary to what most of the people in the world who never visited Palestine think, which was kind of same for me before, these people are having daily lives as normal as people do in other parts of the world. It is stupid enough to inform you, “Hey, there is a life in Palestine. People are living there just like us”. Honestly, though, I have never watched media, which introduce the aspect of Palestinian culture and life. Everything is about the conflict, the violence and the number of deaths. It makes the image of Palestine ugly and prevents people from coming here. Because of that, I needed some time to tell my parents that I was going to apply for this program. How political it is. How we are not aware of it! I assume this situation on media or whatever information available for people are more or less same in other countries.

I cannot even summarize what I have got from this experience because it was not just knowledge on its culture and the politic, but it was something alive which I can see and feel from people and Hebron itself. Culturally, it was an amazing opportunity to live with my host family, through which I got to know their way of thinking as Muslims and as Palestinians. I cannot think of anything better than spending time with them throughout this whole month. If there was much space here, I would write about their hospitality, willingness to teach me Arabic and supports on everything. Politically, I found it much more difficult to solve the problem since I had a closer look on the situation, while at the same time, it motivated me to think of any possibility to work for it in the future. The situation must be changed.

What would you improve about this program?
Paid system for host family(They do not receive any money if it is selective)
Default avatar
Connor
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Two Months with the Excellence Center

Marhaba! My name is Connor Israel and I am a twenty-year-old International Studies and Arabic student from Texas A&M University. I am currently wrapping up my two months of participating in the Internship in Palestine program with the Excellence Center. I came to Palestine in order to improve my Arabic language skills, learn about the situation under Israeli occupation and most importantly to make personal connections to this place that is so often the subject of diminutive headlines. All of those desires have been fulfilled through my time with the Excellence Center and I am so thankful for the opportunity I was able to have here in Hebron.
Through two weeks of intensive and personalized Arabic classes with my incredible teacher Isaac (!شكرا كتير) I was introduced to the local dialect and given valuable study materials that I have worked through during the rest of my time here. The most important improvement I have seen in my Arabic skills is definitely a vastly greater comfort in speaking the language. Upon arriving, I was apprehensive about using the language, but through meeting new friends both in the center and around the city, I was able to gain confidence as I learned more and more each day. As an international volunteer at the center, I would say that the Arabic classes and practical experience you gain by being here are the most valuable skills I have gained.
I also came to Hebron because I was fascinated with the political situation in Palestine. Seeing the checkpoints and settlements with my own eyes has given me a perspective on the occupation that is based on witnessing it not merely hearing about it through the media. I have had countless conversations with amazing Palestinians about the hardships they have faced their whole lives due to the Israeli military. I have been honored to drink coffee and talk with so many brave individuals who still fight for peace and freedom despite all of the obstacles they face. If you are at all interested in learning more about the Palestinian situation, spending time in Hebron will provide you with so much perspective and understanding which you could never gain from simply reading about the conflict.
Lastly, and most memorably, the relationships I have made here will stay with me for the rest of my life. The staff at the center are warm and welcoming and they have shown me the best parts of Palestinian society, their immense hospitality. I have had conversations with people on the street who are just interested in welcoming me to their homes. I have been offered coffee and tea more times than I can count. I was also able to meet many other international volunteers from all over the world who have become dear friends in my short time here.
The Excellence Center is a place where stimulating conversation is abundant and I will always be thankful for my two short months here in Hebron!

Default avatar
Gregoire
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Time in Palestine

My experience at the excellence center was very fulfilling, it was my first time in an Arab country and it could not have been better, I met many locals, saw almost everything to see in Hebron, and I had a lot of very useful information on the situation of this country. I owe all that to the excellence center who planned visits and meetings with local figures. So I would definitely recommend the volunteer program in Hebron.

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

My experience at the Excellence Centre in Hebron.

Whether you are looking to learn some Arabic, improve your Arabic, or simply explore Palestine, this is the perfect programme for anyone with a modicum of interest in Palestinian life. Hebron has a reputation as being one of the tensest cities in the world. As soon as you enter the Old City however, walking past the abundance of fruits, olives and nuts in the markets, you will be welcomed into the city like a long-lost relative.
I have spent one month working at the centre on the Internship program. In this time, I have been schooled in Arabic, been taken on tours throughout Hebron and the West Bank, and made friends for life. Even for non-speakers, the programme will give you a good grasp of conversational Arabic, which will be extremely useful if you plan on being a regular visitor to the Middle East and the Arab world.

I would wholeheartedly recommend you to apply to become an intern at the Excellence Center.

What would you improve about this program?
Perhaps more information could be provided to applicants and interns on the best way to reach Hebron, and how to locate the centre itself whilst in the city. It would also be an added bonus if the centre was somehow able to put interns and volunteers in touch with the NGO's active in Hebron, and somehow found a way to provide for integrated experiences and shared activities.
Default avatar
Bryan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience in Palestine

I love the Excellence Center. It helps local Palestinians learn English and gives international volunteers a chance to experience Palestinian culture and hospitality. It is a good way to see the occupation first hand and support people living under apartheid. You will makes friends for a life time, while improving your Arabic and teaching skills. I highly recommend anyone joining the Palestine Excellence Center.

What would you improve about this program?
I have no complaints

Location

Location:
Palestine
Currency:
Israeli New Shekel
Weather:
Jan-Mar
68 F / 50 F
Apr-Jun
81 F / 57 F
Jul-Sep
86 F / 72 F
Oct-Dec
81 F / 54 F
Airports:
Eilat-Ramon
( ETM )
Haifa-U. Michaeli
( HFA )
Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion
( TLV )

While traveling in the Palestine region, you will be confronted with their tumultuous history. The main pull for traveling in this region comes down to learning about the culture and breaking down unsubstantiated ideas. There is a lot to learn form the people, history, and political climate.

Interviews

Staff Interviews

About The Excellence Center

The Excellence Center was established in June 2011 as a youth initiative to offer educational and community services to its diverse group of internationals and Palestinians. It is located in the main heart of Hebron on Ein Sarah street which is under...