The Excellence Center in Palestine
92% Rating
(168 Reviews)

The Excellence Center in Palestine

Join Our Family in Palestine in Summer 2018

All nationalities and majors are welcome to apply for all of our programs. 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. You can come to Palestine from 1 week to 6 months.

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 the supervision of the Palestinian Authority.

The Excellence Center invites internationals year round to come to Palestine to volunteer, intern, visit or study Arabic. The Center organizes educational, cultural and community activities to introduce international interns, volunteers and students to Palestinian culture and daily life. Participants in the international programs have the opportunity to meet the local Palestinians who will share their lives and culture. Since the beginning, the Excellence Center has hosted over 250 international volunteers, interns and students from every corner of the world.

The Excellence Center is fully licensed as a cultural and educational center by the Palestinian Ministry of Education.


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My experience in Palestine (By Ali)
I have been in Palestine for the past two weeks and what an experience it has been. I’ve always had a long desire to visit Palestine, having an interest to understand further the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the religious, historic and cultural significance of the country to so many around the world. I am currently an undergraduate psychology student, from the UK. When I came across the ‘teach English and learn Arabic’ in Palestine programme hosted by the Excellence Centre, I applied to take part and volunteer here for two weeks. My short time in Palestine has now come to an end, which makes me extremely sad. I came here to explore the country, and feel in turn it has helped me to discovered myself, through meeting the other extraordinary international volunteers from over the globe, as well as the Palestinian people themselves.
This is the first volunteering experience I have partaken in, thus I was a little nervous before taking my first class. By the end of it however, I did not want it to end. The students have such a desire to learn the language and culture of my country and showed great enthusiasm and curiosity. I will miss them all! My role involved teaching English reading, speaking and helping to improve spoken English conversation skills through a variety of activities, and assisting the other English teachers at the Centre. The Excellence Centre is a very welcoming place with many friendly faces. There is a very vibrant and hardworking atmosphere here and excellent facilities for teachers and students alike. During my first week, I attended the Palestinian Polytechnic University to assist teaching here. Furthermore, I was invited to attend the Al Quds University Student Graduation Ceremony, which was an amazing experience for which I am grateful.
Having prior knowledge of Arabic (being able to read but not speak or write), I had good foundations which my Arabic classes helped me to build on. I learnt how to introduce myself, and have basic conversations in Arabic. I felt the best way I learnt Arabic was through speaking to neighbours and students, especially through socializing.
The places I visited in Palestine
The first city I visited here was Bethlehem, famous for its religious significance. I had a great experience here with fellow volunteers and EC staff and some friends. We tried different Palestinian and Syrian food and explored the historic buildings in Bethlehem. Next, we visited the Old Town of Hebron, a 10 minute Taxi ride from the Centre. This was such an eye-opening experience and you can really feel the extent of the Israeli occupation here, with the numerous settlements and checkpoints. Unfortunately, I was unable to visit the “Ghost town” (Al-Shuhada street) due to it being closed by the Israeli police.
Visiting Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque was my favourite experience here. Such an eye-opening experience, and such a unique place, important to many different religions. The old city of Jerusalem is split into four quarters (Muslim Quarter, Jewish Qurater, Christian Quarter and the Armenian Quarter), which I was able to explore. I would extremely recommend visiting Jerusalem to everyone. Seeing the wall separating Israel from the West Bank was such an eye-opening experience.
Finally, I was able to visit Jericho, the oldest city in all the world. The weather here was amazing, and we went hiking up through Wadi Qelt, a mountainous desert region with a beautiful valley in the middle. It was great to see this other side to Palestine, and meet the Bedouins and their camels. Due to my short time here, I was not able to visit everywhere I had planned on.
What I liked most about Palestine
I think the greatest thing about Palestine is the spirit of the people here. The hospitality is unlike anything I have experienced before. Everywhere you go you are welcomed by the friendly locals. I built up so much respect for everyone here, having now witnessed the occupation and the effect of it on the locals. Yet, you will never see it in them; they have such a positive outlook on life, which has helped me to develop myself. There wasn’t a day where I was not invited to do something, and found the only time I was home was to sleep!
Safety in Palestine
In my country and many other European Countries, it is not advised to travel to the West Bank due to obvious reasons. Before coming here, my family expressed their concerns. The reporting of the conflict by the media results in an unwillingness by many to travel here. However, it couldn’t have been more different. I expected to arrive into village settings with basic facilities, yet was greeted by a beautiful built-up industrial city with some amazing views, and when travelling, some amazing greenery. I have never felt safer whilst being here. During my visit, there have been protests taking place after Friday Jumu’ah Prayers, but your safety as an international is priority to the locals. Everyone here takes great care of you.
I would recommend volunteering in Palestine for an experience you will definitely not forget, an experience which will help you connect with yourself and develop many life skills. I cannot wait to return here in two years after I have graduated from University. Palestine is a beautiful country, with the most hospitable, helpful and kind people you can imagine. A country where you can go on a holiday, just as in any other country in the Mediterranean, yet understand the complex historic conflict in the country. I have made some amazing friends here among the locals and fellow volunteers, who I hope to stay in touch with. I am so glad my volunteering experience started here. Just one piece of advice – if you decide to come here during the winter, pack for a few chilly nights (Something I didn’t do and ended up regretting).

Yes, I recommend
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I am 29, American and I have spent the last 3 moths working with the Excellence Center.

The Excellence Center is staffed with great local Palestinian individuals who have good hearts and aim to uplift their community by providing language and life skills. I volunteered here for 3 months in the "Volunteer to Write about Palestine" program. I wrote two articles a day on the work of the center or local Palestinian life and also edited articles written by others . My host family experience was amazing, as was my Arabic teacher. The staff of the center are helpful and welcoming and the hospitality of the Palestinian culture at large is unlike any other. I worked five days a week with Fridays and Mondays off. I got to travel all over Palestine. Volunteering at the Excellence Center requires you to be able to take initiative, be flexible and think quick on your feet which are skills that are important for anyone to have. The time I spent with the center and in Hebron was a very positive experience and I glad to have been able to participate in this program and work alongside the amazing people at the Excellence Center.

Yes, I recommend
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Hi, my name is Nathan. I am a student from Australia. I came to the centre for a period of two weeks as part of the Volunteer in Palestine program. I chose the program as a means to, beyond the good that you can do here helping local children, better my understanding of Palestine - its people, its culture, and its ongoing issues and conflicts.
Above all else, I believe that I have come away from the program having achieved that, among many other things. I have been able to engage with the staff and children of the Excellence Centre, as well as the wider Hebron community, in a safe and supportive environment. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Hebron with the Excellence Centre and would highly recommend it to potential visitors.
The most immediate concern I had coming to Palestine, as many will share, was that of safety and security. I was pleasantry surprised to find the entire experience, including arriving in Palestine as well as travelling around within its borders, to be a safe and easy one. For internationals, travel is very convenient – though it is worth noting that that is not necessarily the case for the locals. At every step, the people of Palestine were friendly, helpful, and approachable. Many Palestinians have at least a rudimentary, conversational level of English. Transactions such as those with taxi drivers or shop workers are therefore rather easy. More often than not they will engage internationals in conversation wherever possible. They are friendly and welcoming, and always eager for a chat.
While I had travelled to the centre as part of the volunteer program, while I was in Hebron I was provided with Arabic lessons to help establish a fundamental understanding of the language and basic interactions therein. I found these lessons to be helpful, especially when later used to engage with locals. Teachings were practically focused, emphasising conversational phrases that are frequently used.
There was a good relationship between the staff at the centre and the volunteers, such as myself. There was room given to experiment with classes and class structure. We were encouraged to impart on the children where we could a sense of our own unique cultural and societal backgrounds. The volunteers I met here are from all different countries, ages, and backgrounds. A flexibility to class structure allowed us to make the most of our differences.
The lasting impression I have of Palestine is undoubtedly of the kindness of its people. I felt truly welcomed during my trip. From warmly, home-cooked dinners at the centre to just friendly chats in the streets of Hebron, the friendliness of the Palestinian people is abounding and something I will not soon forget.

Yes, I recommend
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I am here at Hebron for technology program. So I mostly worked with PPU university. At the center, I learned Arabic.

I absolutely loved my Arabic lessons in the center. Both my teachers are very different. First one taught me a lot about Islam and Palestine culture while trying to teach me Arabic. Ahlam, on the other hand, focused on my Arabic. My second lesson with Ahlam was an exam :). She took my Arabic learning very seriously. I am going to continue my learning with Alham through Skype. I hope she becomes my best friend in Palestine. I don't want to lose her. She is an inspiration! My life here in Hebron has become easier because she taught me enough Arabic to survive. She has 10/10 score.

Excellence Center provided me the foundation and connections for my 2 month stay. Osama is always there taking care of each one of us. He has 30 eyes -- all of them busy making sure we volunteers are doing well in our stay in Palestine :). Osama took care of our safety, our well being and organized our work every week. He is a very empathetic director running the center. I will cherish the memories of trips with Osama. I will recommend him and the center to all who might be interested in working in Palestine.

Center/Osama organized multiple trips to Old city, Bethlehem, Leather Factory, Glass Factory, Dead Sea, Jericho. These trips were absolutely lot of fun. On my own, I went to Jerusalem, Ramalleh and Jordon(Petra and Wadi Rum).

I lived with Mai Atiya's family. She took wonderful care of me. I don't think it is humanly possible to give the amount of love Mai and her family gave me. She made me a part of her immediate and extended family. I danced with them on Indian music and also learned from them belly dancing moves. I was part of birthday celebrations of her kids and I hope to stay in the kids' life forever.

I have walked the roads of Palestine all hours with no problem. I keep getting lost :)) and I keep getting help from locals to direct me to the right way. In last 2 weeks of my stay, I moved to Lamar Hostel to get a downtown old city experience. There were days when I was the only guest in the hostel and I still felt super safe. This must be the only place on the planet that is absolutely safe for women traveling alone.

I liked Palestine's people. They are not bitter. They are not scared of loving strangers. I also admire that people in Palestine has kept their culture and traditions. They don't look or live or wear like people in west. They look so beautiful in their cultural attire. I hope they can keep Hebron the way it is! It is perfect.

My favorite time is with Ahlam, my Arabic teacher. May be because she is my most favorite person in Palestine.

You will see more people from Apple here. You are the very best. I love you. Let me know if there is ever anything I can do for the center!

Yes, I recommend
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Hi all, 

My name is Fabian, I am 30 years old and I live in the Netherlands. 
I studied Commercial Economics and Marketing Management and I currently work as an International Sales Engineer. 

I travel a lot because of my job, but not ever I have been in a place which left such a big impression on my heart as Palestine. 

Here is why. 

The reason of my stay in Palestine was selfish. When you grow up in a country like Holland, you take a lot of things for granted. 
Education, facilities, money, opportunities and especially freedom. I wanted to change my outlook on life and to see what life is really all about. 
What matters most in life? 

My first impression of the Excellence Center was already very positive. 
I had a Skype interview with Rafat and I could see in his eyes how passionate he was about this project. 
He told me about the dreams and hopes he had for this country which convinced me to take part in this beautiful project. 

My preference was to stay with a host family to truly experience the way of living in Palestine. 
Since I arranged this very last minute (3 weeks in advance) this was not possible but I stayed in a dorm instead. 

The experience stayed quite the same since the host of the dorm, took perfect care of me.
His name is Sheikh Abed and he is truly amazing. A kind hearted, funny person which could tell me a lot of stories about the life in Palestine.
I have seen him everyday over the last 2 weeks, played with his kids, played football with him, prayed with him and so much more. 

Throughout this stay, I have never felt unsafe.  I am very grateful to have met him, his kids, his whole family and friends.

They will make you feel like part of a big family. 

During my stay in the Excellence Center I followed a volunteership but this wouldn't do justice to what I have been doing here. 
This would mean that I would be mostly helping others which was not really the case. 
Ofcourse I have been teaching English to young children, teenagers and young adults but they taught me a lot more than i taught them. 

Especially the young children were absolutely amazing. 
The enthousiasm they showed, the politeness, the joy in their eyes and their dreams taught me a lot more than what I would be able to teach them.

The children were studying English outside of their regular program at school but still came to class everyday with a big smile on their face. 

The taught me to work hard, believe in your dreams, keep smiling no matter your circumstances, to educate yourself and to say alhamdulilah for everything that is given to us.  

The Center showed great professional guidance, were very helpful and flexible to make your stay as good as possible for you. 

Trips were arranged for me to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the old city, Jeericho and several other places like glass factories and a Kufiya factory. 
Therefor it has been a great cultural experience as well. A special thanks to the team which was absolutely amazing. 
Marwa, Khitam, Ahlam, Ibrahim, Ibrahim, Dua, Maryam, Osama and Muhammad. Shukran Khateer!

I wanted to write something about my favourite moment or experience but I am not really able to choose from all the good things that have happened. 

If I have to name one, it would be the football match that I have organised for children of the Excellence Center. 
We played Barcelona - Real Madrid and while I was looking at the kids running after the ball with concentrated but smily faces, I realised that this is something we should do more often. Make eachother happy. Make eachother smile more often. We tend to care too much about our own happiness that we forgot about the happiness of somebody else. One moment they forgot about the world around them. This world which is not too big since these small kids with big dreams, live in a small world which is literally surrounded by gates. Borders which prevend them from travelling and opportunities but not from dreaming. 

My overall experience is one with a lot of mixed feelings. Sad to leave, sad to see the limited amount of opportunities, sad to see certain cirumstances, angry about injustice, sad to leave behind great people but also happiness. Happy to have met great people, happy for personal growth, happy for what I've learned and happy to realise that God has blessed me with everything I have. Alhamdulilah! 
Besides happy and sad, I am also hopefull. Hopefull that the Excellence Center can contribute to the education and potential of young people in order to provide for a better future. As my great friend Ibrahim told me 'Education is the key to freedom'. 

I am already happy if you took the time to read this whole review. I hope this review will makes you realize that you have the opportunity to have a great cultural experience in which you will experience personal growth, see many things and are able to give back something to children and people that don't have the opportunities that you have. I promise you, they will not let you down...

If you would like to know more from my side and my stay in Palestine, please feel free to always contact me. 

Ma salaama (May peace be with you), 


Yes, I recommend

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The Excellence Center in Palestine

The Excellence Center would like to invite you to participate in the Study Arabic Intensive Program in Hebron. The Arabic...