My name is Mila, I’m a 28 year old teacher from Denmark. I have a bachelor degree in Intercultural Education and Arabic Language and decided to come to Hebron in order to practice my Arabic. I participated in the programme ‘Study Arabic in Palestine’ for 2 weeks. During my stay in Hebron I stayed with a host family and had Arabic classes 5 days a week at the Excellence Center. I really liked this combination, since it let me practice the Arabic language throughout the day. I was really satisfied with my teacher Ibrahim who is really skillfull in teaching as a foreign language. I especially liked that he was really creative in his use of different learning methods - I never felt bored!
I felt really pleased with the environment at the center. As soon as I arrived to the center I immediately felt at home since the staff and the other students and volunteers were really welcoming. The atmosphere is relaxed and you hardly feel the difference between who is a teacher, a student and a volunteer. There will always be someone in the kitchen ready for a chat over a cup of mint tea. I liked that during my stay we were only 5-6 international students/volunteers. In that way you get to know everyone well, and also that you also get to spend a lot of time with the local staff and not only internationals like yourself.
The Center arranged a lot of visits to different places such as the Old City, the grocery market, a glass and ceramics factory, and the Miskoubia Church. Since you have two days off each week, you will have the chance to visit many places outside Hebron as well. I visited Jericho and Jerusalem during my two-weeks stay, which I really enjoyed.
The thing I liked the most about staying in Hebron is the great hospitality I met from everyone. It is really easy to practice the language outside the center since everyone you meet is very open and you get a lot a chances to use it with locals, for instance when you go shopping. Hebron is a great city where you can find everything from historical sites to modern cafes and restaurants. At the same time it is close to other West Bank cities such as Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho.
I felt very safe during my stay during my stay. The center is located in a safe place in the city so even though some tumults where taking place during the period I was in Hebron, I hardly felt it. Actually, I feel safer staying in The West Bank than in any European Capital. When something happens in Europe you as a tourist can be a target, whereas in The West Bank, no one has interest in harming a tourist - on the contrary, it would be really bad for both parts of the conflict. The conflict that is going on here is a conflict between only Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, and as long as you keep away if you see a demonstration, you will be very safe. The staff at the center are all the time updated with the situation, so if you have the least doubt about whether it is safe to go somewhere or not, you can always ask them for advice.
Overall I had a really good experience at the Excellence center and hope to be able to come back in the future. I will strongly recommend it to anyone interested in learning or improving their Arabic language - you will definitely learn Arabic but also so much more!