A great balance of teaching and learning

Growth: 10
Support: 10
Fun: 7
Housing: 9
Safety: 10

Let me first start by saying how happy I am that I came to the Excellence Center. I thought the environment was perfect. I used my experience as a native English speaker with the help of online and Center provided curricula to teach English to people who wanted to accelerate their learning. For learning Arabic, I was happy to be in an area where English isn't overly common. I chose a limited Arabic class schedule of three hours per week because I didn't want to get overwhelmed by book learning. While I sometimes retreated to the dorm for English, at other times I forced others, no matter their English proficiency, to deal with me in my questionable Arabic. Since my goal was more directed at practicing Arabic for proficiency instead of getting classroom training, this suited me perfectly. If this is not the type of atmosphere you are looking for, there are other programs available and the website will have more information

While the experience was wonderful overall, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to learn Arabic in an Arabic speaking country, I do want to relate some caveats to make sure any future students are prepared for them. Let me first explain the lower rating I gave for how much fun I had. I didn't go for fun. If I wanted fun, I would have gone on a typical vacation. I came to the Excellence Center to learn, specifically Arabic. As much as I love the results of studying Arabic, I hate taking classes, so I'd feel disingenuous if I gave a 10 for fun. But I did have fun in spite of myself. I got to tour both Israel and Palestine on my days off, we watched some World Cup, we had some group dinners, but I spent more time trying to figure out how to shop for common household supplies, which was the kind of Arabic practice I was looking for.... but it was not fun.

As for the housing, all your needs will be covered, but don't expect luxury. Once again, it's not that type of vacation. It's described as a dorm, but I'd describe it closer to a hostel. You are provided with furniture and bedding and you will have at least one roommate. My biggest regret with the housing was that I didn't ask to pay a little extra for a family stay. As a bad student, I took the opportunity of being in the dorm to indulge in English being the common language. It would have been a little better for me if I didn't have that type of escape. You'll have to use your judgement to decide if that's right for you, if you're male, that is.

One warning I'd like to give is about Ramadan. As a non-Muslim, I thought that the fasting was the biggest thing to consider for Ramadan. It turns out that the biggest change is to people's sleep schedules. Because fasting happens during the day, people spend their time awake at night. As a result, during the daytime, people are tired or sleeping. It's not like the country shuts down, but it definitely slows down to a snail's pace. If you are looking to carry a more active schedule, it will be easier for you if you avoid coming during Ramadan.

So, in summary, if you're serious enough to set yourself on a course of leaning and experience, you should consider coming to the Excellence Center. Know the program, know yourself, and you will benefit immensely.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed