The Excellence Center in Palestine

The Excellence Center

About

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.

Founded
2011
Headquarters

Ein Sarah Street across from Al Hussein High School
Hebron
Palestinian Territories

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.

Reviews

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Laila
10/10

As 2018 is coming to a close, I can look back, reflect, and confidently say that volunteering at the Center has been one of the best decisions I have made this entire year! First and foremost, the work I did was meaningful and impactful. I really felt that I got to know my English students on a personal level, and I learned a lot from them. In addition to this, my co-workers ended up being my good friends. We ate meals together, explored the city together, and I believe that the friendships I have made here are going to last a life time. Finally, my time here was made extra special by my host family. My host family welcomed me with open arms and I loved spending time with them and getting to know about their lives and their culture. It was all in all an amazing experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys exploring, meeting new people, and learning about different cultures!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jamila
10/10

Jamaila, French-Algerian living in Barcelona Spain.

For me coming to Palestine was a dream come true. I came to The Excellence Centre as a volunteer writing articles about life in Palestine, teaching and learning Arabic. Once advice, "expect the unexpected in Palestine."

What you will see here is people wanting to go about their lives like you do at home. I have gone to the gym, to restaurants, I have travelled by myself. I honestly felt safer here than in my own European cities. But mostly I have witnessed how the Palestinians value the importance of family and friends, of welcome a visitor and always having a spare dinner plate for them.

This is why I think The EC is doing an excellent job:
- bringing visitors to Palestine
- mixing the local community with English-speaking foreigners

I really loved staying with a host family that has been like a second family to me, I have been invited to dinner and lunch daily. I had lessons with Marwa, she has been incredible and gave me the confidence I needed to learn basic Arabic.

I have witnessed the reality of the occupation for the Palestinians but they have kept their spirits up, they still have hope for the future. One of their hopes is to see more of you in Palestine. Each visitors brings with them a window into the world and takes with them unforgettable memories of wonderful people.

Again, please please come to Palestine, come to Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem and any other Palestinian City.

How can this program be improved?
Perhaps with more tips on travelling arrangements to different cities, places to stay etc.. But really that's a minor thing really.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jasmijn
9/10

I did the 2 months intensive arabic course at the Excellence Center in Hebron. I really enjoyed the interactive lessons with my teacher, and i learned a lot during this 2 months.
Beside my lessons there also were some visits with the Center. I went to Ramallah, Nablus, Jericho and the death sea. But also some visits in Hebron itself, like the Old City and the Ibrahimi mosque, the glass factory and the kufiya factory.

During this 2 months i lived with a lovely hostfamily, they were all really kind and hospitable. We always had dinner together with the family, and i spend a lot of time together with my host sister.

I felt completely safe in Palestine. The palestinian people are really kind, helpful and hospitable. and i did not had any bad experience.
I highly recommend the Excellence center for others, it will be a great experience.
And i already planned to go back to Hebron and to the Excellence center

Yes, I recommend this program
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Vilma
10/10

I'm a 25-years old sociology student from Finland. I studied Arabic for two months in the Excellence Center, Hebron. I ended up in the city by chance: I was originally looking for Arabic programmes in Lebanon until I came across the Excellence Center. I have to say I am extremely happy with my sudden change of plan.

The Excellence Center is definetely worth your money. Not only the quality of the Arabic intensive course is high (I didn't speak any Arabic prior to coming to Hebron and after two months I'm able to handle everyday situations on my own), but the Center will give you a very good opportunity to dive into the local culture. The staff and the many local friends associated with the center invite the foreigners regularily to dinners, weddings and trips. The EC is very willing to provide trips on request - during my stay we for example went to a bedouin village, a refugee camp and many cities in the West Bank. The staff, including my teachers, became very dear friends to me. The athmosphere in general is very family like - we even share the breakfast together.

What comes to safety, Hebron is one of the safest places I've travelled to. Even as a woman I'm not afraid of walking the streets alone. The religious lifestyle of the people keeps crime rates low. People are very welcoming and always willing to help. On top of this the locals are very curious about the few foreigners and are extra keen on helping and making the foreigners feel welcome. Any problems you have the EC will always provide help. I have felt very taken care of since the beginning.

I would for sure recommend the Excellence Center for anyone interested in studying Arabic or travelling in the Middle East. For me this was the first time in the Middle East and I enjoyed my stay so much since the day one. Thank you so much!!

How can this program be improved?
Things could be a bit more organized and communication could be a bit more efficient.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Oceane
10/10

Looking out of the car window on my way back from Nablus, observing the Palestinians busy but laid-back Saturday routine and admiring the rocky hills in the backdrop, I cannot help but feel sad about going back to my home country of France in a few days. In just six weeks, Palestine has claimed my heart.
Its language, despite its difficulty and subtleties, has grown on me. Despite a year and a half of studying Modern Standard Arabic in university, I was barely able to articulate a word when I first arrived. The first few days were mentally exhausting, trying to juggle between the few words I knew and never ending questions from everyone I met. Luckily, thanks to the intensive Arabic course I was following and mostly to my amazing teacher Shayma, I quickly developed my vocabulary and was able to understand more and more situations. With 15h a week, the classes are challenging and require hard work; but Shayma always managed to make it interactive. During my time here, I’ve had Arabic classes involving cooking, going to restaurants, shopping, listening to music... After these six weeks, I feel much more confident in my Arabic and while it is far from being perfect, I feel more motivated than ever to work towards fluency.
The Palestinian food, cleverly mixing local olive oil and spices into heavenly pastries, has conquered both my heart and my stomach. Coming in as a vegetarian, I arrived with the idea that I’d only be eating hummus and falafels during my time in Palestine. Not that I would have complained about this, but I have been pleasantly surprised with the variety of food I am able to eat here. While most of the dishes are made with chicken, there is always on the side the option of rice, vegetables, or a salad. While vegetarianism/veganism are concepts that are still relatively foreign here and can sometimes be met with skepticism, most people will be very understanding and accommodate to your dietary restrictions. One thing is for sure, you will never go without food!
And finally, the Palestinian people, always welcoming me into their homes and sharing their life, hopes, and fears, have become family. My host family, but also friends met along the way, teachers, and other foreigners from the center, have made my time in Hebron unique and unforgettable. Not a day went by without being invited for dinner, for a wedding, for a visit of the city, or for a weekend trip. While prior to coming here I was afraid to become a bit bored, I quickly realized that I would not have enough time to do everything I wanted! Becoming so close to locals has also enabled me to discover the history of the country under new angles. Hearing life stories from Palestinians has been eye-opening and came as a very much needed counter-image to what is often portrayed in Western media. Palestinians are some of the most respectful people I have met during my travels, and while they do endure the effects of the conflicts, they always make everyone they meet feel at home - regardless of origins, nationality, or religion. This has led me to feel extremely safe while strolling through the busy streets of H1 in Hebron, where the conflict seems surprisingly faraway.
My month and a half in Hebron, Palestine with the Excellence Center has been all around incredible and has taught me more than any history or language class could have taught me. While I start getting my bags ready for my departure, my mind is with my Palestinian families whom, I know, I will see again soon.

Yes, I recommend this program

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