An outstanding week

Impact: 9
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Value: 10
Safety: 10

For my five-week holiday in Israel & Palestine, it was really important to me to see the Palestinian side as well. Therefore, apart from some other short forays into the West Bank yet to come, I decided to spend one week as a volunteer at Excellence Center in Hebron.
The most surprising thing for me was how friendly everyone was - not just people at the Center, but children, teenagers and adults in the street as well who had never seen me before! Very often they would call out "hi", "hello", "what's your name", "where are you from" or "welcome to Palestine" - which I thought was really nice even though on most occasions I only answered briefly, but that was totally fine - unlike thirty years ago in Italy when men were looking for a date for the evening. :-)
My host family were amazing and lovely too. I was so lucky with them - not only were they among the few people who don't smoke inside the house, but I was also invited for their "iftar" (breaking the fast after sunset) meals at the beginning of Ramadan, which were sooooo delicious.
I had Arabic lessons with two very nice teachers who couldn't have been more patient and we even ended up doing overtime. The second teacher gave me - on my request - an informative brief lecture on the human rights situation in Palestine - in English of course, there's no way I could have coped with this topic in Arabic!
As for my actual volunteering bit with English language teaching, it would have been better if I'd stayed longer. Ideally I would have met each class at least twice and from the second time on liaised with their regular teacher well before the lesson in order to discuss what activities I could lead or what supplementary materials I could design to tie in with the lesson's topic and aimed at increasing student talking time in the target language. But for this to happen, one week was really too short.
As mentioned in other reviews, bring layers of clothing! I was glad of my hot water bottle for the first few nights...
I had a great time at the Excellence Center in Hebron, and who knows, maybe at some stage I'll try out their branch in Germany too!

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