Study Arabic in Palestine

Video and Photos

About

The Excellence Center would like to invite you to participate in the Study Arabic Intensive Program in Hebron. The Arabic Program combines studying Arabic with an immersion into the Palestinian culture and history.

International participants study the Arabic language with Palestinian teachers in interactive ways. Language studies include learning the Palestinian dialect and Modern Standard Arabic. We offer Arabic courses for all levels from starters to advanced learners. The Excellence Center provides international students with all necessary books needed in the course.

The Study Arabic Program is a singular opportunity for students searching to make a unique difference in their lives. While studying Arabic in Hebron, they are also involved in community development activities that are organized by the Excellence Centre.

The program is an optimal opportunity that gives an intimate, first-hand experience of Palestinian life and the political realities of that life in Hebron

Highlights
  • Stay with a Palestinian family in Hebron
  • Engagement with Palestinian youth in cultural and educational activities
  • Visit unique tourist attractions with a non-touristic perspective
  • Live and engage in the Palestinian daily life
  • Meet new people and make new Palestinian and international friends

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 76 reviews
  • Academics 9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 8.9
  • Safety 9.1
  • Impact 0
  • Support 0
  • Fun 0
  • Value 0
  • Safety 0
Showing 1 - 15 of 76
Default avatar
Emma
9/10

My experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron

As an immersive experience with the Hebron Excellence Center, the staff and the resources provided were of great quality. Arabic exposure was ideal, in my experience, due to Palestinian hospitality and the opportunities provided to speak throughout the course of studies. Arabic teachers here are also amazing with providing conversational practice to the students and helping with vocabulary retention and grammar correction. The visits to different areas also lent us a greater insight into Palestinian culture and the politics that make up a great part of the daily life in this area. It was overall a very rewarding experience and one that will continue to be valued.

How can this program be improved?
A greater amount of organization and progress tracking would maybe aid the program in visualizing concrete results for the intensive Arabic program. A more meticulous tailoring to individual needs would greater complement the amazing individual attention that the Center already has to offer.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lauren
9/10

My experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron

I had a lovely experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron. The Arabic classes were very good and I learned a lot in a short time and feel much more comfortable in my Arabic. My host family was incredibly nice and allowed me to eat so much delicious local food and try dishes I hadn't before. The program also allowed me lots of free time to explore the city and travel around Palestine to see some of the sites there. Ibraheim was a great teacher and tons of fun to work with. Also the other internationals at the center were lovely.

How can this program be improved?
My host family was a bit far away in Halhul and I think it would have been easier to stay somewhere withing walking distance of the center. Also I think they deserved to be compensated more for their efforts.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Qing
10/10

Incredible experience in Palestine with Excellence Center

My name is Qing, I am a student from China. I have spent six weeks learning Arabic with Excellence Center in Hebron. I am living with other volunteers and students in a dormitory. Though the wi-fi in our dorm is not very stable and water is some time cut off, the place and people are still lovely. My program is intensive Arabic course, I spent three to four hours with my tutor. The Arabic course tends out very worth and interesting. And I use rest of my time to join the tours provided by the center.

Staying Hebron also provide me a great chance to explore the local culture and have deeper understanding of the Palestine-Israel conflict. There are many tours provided by the center every week, from visit the old city of Hebron to local university and factory. Though it not a full-scale culture emersion, I obtain many facts and conduct many communications with locals. And as the biggest city in the West Bank, it is very easy use Hebron as base to travel around the West Bank and the transportation here is quite cheap and convenient. And it is safe to stay and traveling around the West Bank. The people in Hebron is also very friendly and even “militant” hospitality.

However, the most important part for me is learning Arabic. I have one-on-one class with my tutor, Shayma, 5 days a week. So, it is intense, but not overwhelming. Because it is unlike normal language class in university that strict follow the text book, we will spend a hour and half to talking about anything that interesting us that including local customs, culture, Palestinian cuisine and some politics. And we also learn all the basic grammar and useful words and phrases that really helpful during the daily life. Though 6 weeks are still a short time regarding learning a new language, the learning here is efficient and helpful for further Arabic study.

It is worthwhile to take the opportunities to study Arabic in the Excellence Center and explore the real situation here in the West Bank. In a word, if I have chance I will visit this place again.

How can this program be improved?
No need to improve.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Wietske
10/10

Experience at the Excellence Center

My name is Wietske. I am a twenty year old university student from the Netherlands. This summer I participated in the Studying Arabic in Palestine program for five weeks. This means that I had five three-hour one-on-one classes every week with my teacher Afnan. I have to say, deciding to participate in this program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only did I improve my Arabic a lot, because of the amazing, personally tailored program, I also made a lot of friends, saw lots of places around Palestine and stayed with the best family.

Starting with my classes, Afnan ,my teacher, was amazing. She was patient, kind and very professional, but most importantly we had a lot of fun and developed a beautiful friendship I hope will last for many years to come. She made sure to incorporate all sorts of exercises in my classes that would stimulate both reading, writing and dialogue, sometimes in conventional ways, and sometimes through fun games or drawing. I couldn’t have wished for any more.

The whole environment of the Excellence Center also really enhanced my learning experience. There would always be people around willing to have a chat in Arabic with me, and we went on many fun trips with the volunteers and center personnel, including the old city, kaffieh factory, Kharas, glass and ceramics factory, Moscobia church, and more. Next to being a great place for studying Arabic, the center is definitely also a great place to make friends with interesting and kind people from all over the world.

I did a quite a bit of travelling through Palestine during my time at the center. I went to Ramallah, Jericho, Bethlehem, Jerusalem and the villages surrounding Hebron. Travelling is very easy, especially since you will find yourself often going with a group of volunteers/students. I also went on a trip to Jerusalem by myself, which was totally fine as well. I guess I never really felt unsafe travelling around Palestine or in Hebron. As a woman traveling alone of course you are going to find yourself in situations none of your male friends will be able to relate to. My one advice here would be to really make sure you are dressed conservatively. Not only will this prevent a lot of stares, which you are inevitably going to get, it will also make you feel more confident and in place in Hebron.

Last but definitely not least my family in Hebron was the absolute best. They made sure I always felt welcome, happy and well-fed. I stayed in the family together with another student, which has led to a wonderful friendship, next to of course the wonderful friendships I have made within the family, especially with Marwa, who I will never forget.

Over all I think it is clear that my time in Palestine has been absolutely wonderful and unforgettable. I am so grateful for my time in this beautiful, welcoming, friendly place and I wish for you to have the same experience. Of course I can do nothing but highly recommend!

Yes, I recommend
picture
Kenji
10/10

flexible and engaging cooking class

I really enjoyed my time at the excellence center taking a weeklong cooking course with complementary Arabic lessons. Each day, my teacher and I went grocery shopping together and then cooked delicious and interesting meals. Even the recipes that I didn't personally enjoy as much were fun to make, and I hope to share the stories and flavors of this culture and these people with my family and friends back home. I would recommend the staff and community of the center to anyone interested in studying Arabic, Palestinian cooking, or the political situation on the ground here in Hebron. I absolutely hope to return in the future to this warm home away from home.

How can this program be improved?
I hope this center can continue to grow into larger facilities and continue to make even more of an impact on the people of Khalil and the globe.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Emily
10/10

My experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron

If you're looking to learn Arabic, please come to the Excellence Center. Everyone here is very relaxed and welcoming, and prior knowledge of Arabic is not necessary. I have spent just one week learning here at the Excellence Center, and, in just this short time, I have learned and experienced so much. Both the culture of Palestine and the Palestinian dialect are incredibly beautiful, and the people are welcoming and helpful around every corner.

At the Center, you can go on excursions in and around the city every day, and the trip to get to Hebron is not difficult. The atmosphere here is very relaxed and friends are made easily. You also have the opportunity to live with a host family, which allows you to further your cultural understanding and practice Arabic every day.

I've learned more in the amazing week than ever before in my studies. I've also made life-long friends. In the future, I will definitely come back to the Excellence Center to participate in the volunteer program and improve my Arabic knowledge. I hope to see you here!

-Emily Roberts

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Joanne
9/10

My experience in Palestine

My name is Joanne, and I’m a British student studying Arabic at the Excellence Centre in Hebron.
I have spent the last three weeks living with a host family, taking part in intensive lessons during the mornings and exploring the city and surrounding areas in the rest of the day. Hebron is a great city for a base; it’s fascinating to wander through the old city and experience the reality of the settlements and how they affect the southern side. It’s a regional centre, with shops, markets and restaurants of every kind imaginable.
It is very easy to explore the rest of the West Bank too; the public transport is cheap and usually friendly, and despite restrictions on Palestinian-vehicular travel by Israeli checkpoints, Hebron to Ramallah is just under two hours by servees. The Excellence Centre organise a ton of trips each week – either to local places like the last remaining keffiyeh factory or the Maskobiyeh church, or to areas further afield, like Jericho and the Dead Sea, or to Bethlehem. The staff are really lovely and
The chief purpose of my stay in Hebron was to learn Arabic, so each morning I’ve had 3 hours of lessons with a wonderful tutor. Usually the classes are on a 1-2-1 basis, but my university friend and I have ours together – this is helpful because we can revise vocabulary and classwork together afterwards. We’ve covered a lot of material; basically we re-covered all of the basic grammar again and addressed a few topics such as human rights, future plans, marriage (!) and Palestinian cuisine. Both of us had been learning Modern Standard Arabic at university, but since no-one actually speaks MSA, we decided to focus on amiyya. Conversations with local shopkeepers, waiters and taxi-drivers has been getting much easier over the course of our stay – it is rewarding to be able to communicate in Arabic rather than switching back to English!
A number of friends from the UK were concerned about security issues and my personal safety when travelling around Palestine; I was also somewhat apprehensive about what the situation here might be. But the reality is that most of the time there is no overt difference between the lives of the locals here and those who live in other Arab countries – of course, the occupation means that there are restrictions for Palestinians, that many of them find themselves unable to travel to work or visit relatives in other areas of Palestine or even abroad because of new checkpoints, and it is impossible to drive anywhere without coming across settlements or Israeli military bases – but the lives still go on. They still go to school, go shopping in the evenings on the ein sarah street, attend university, work in every kind of business and go on day trips to amusement parks or other villages and towns. It’s been a right privilege to have lived with a host family in the north of the city, close to the main university, and see the familiar pattern of school term-time played out in another culture! The family are very welcoming – as are most of the people were have met here.
I thoroughly recommend the Excellence Centre to anyone who wants to visit Palestine, learn Arabic, meet wonderful people and eat awesome food.

How can this program be improved?
Perhaps with a member of staff meeting the students in Jerusalem to take a servees together - lots of the international students were given wrong information by Israeli bus drivers, who said that there was no direct transport available from Jerusalem to Hebron. This is not true, but the Israeli bus drivers wanted us to go to Bethlehem or Efrat first and then get a taxi.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Colter
10/10

Amazing Experience

I am Colter, a Canadian Master of Arts Student at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. My experience of the Excellence Center in Hebron, Palestine, has been incredibly rewarding. The decision to study Arabic in Palestine has been fulfilling, not only because of the high level of professionalism and enthusiasm with which the lessons are conducted, but also because of the chance to continually practice and develop my Arabic while casually speaking to people at the Center, in the city, or at my host family residence.
Not only has the Excellence Center’s program given me the opportunity to intensively study the Arabic language, but it has also afforded me numerous memorable encounters with Palestinian culture and society. The atmosphere at the Center has been welcoming, inclusive, and learning-friendly. Living in the Center of Hebron city with a Palestinian host family has furthermore allowed me to directly connect with regular Palestinian life and traditions. The warm hospitality, delicious food (falafel, shawarma and knaffeh), and weather have been wonderful. I have also been thankful for the opportunities organized by the Center to travel around Palestine; while here I have visited not only Hebron, but also Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho and Jerusalem. Along the way, I have made numerous friends, both local Palestinians and fellow students, volunteers and lecturers.
I have furthermore welcomed the many opportunities provided by the Center to further earnestly explore various aspects of historical and contemporary Palestinian life, in addition to the nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict. As such, I highly recommend the Excellence Center to anyone who wishes to study Arabic, volunteer, or grow in their understanding of Palestine. It is worth every moment.

How can this program be improved?
No improvement required
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Celmah Cecily
9/10

Once in a lifetime, once in Palestine

Once in a lifetime, once in Palestine -
A land of olives, grapes and people

I am Celmah Cecily Yim from Hong Kong. It is my second time to come back to Palestine and I decided to spend two weeks doing intensive private Arabic lesson with Excellence Center in Hebron.

It is really my fortune to have studied Arabic with ustadha Shayma who is highly skillful and experienced in teaching this beautiful language to foreign students. Personally I have been studying spoken Arabic in Hong Kong for 3 years but I wanted to dedicate some time to practise and focus on the fluency. Alhamdulillah ustadha Shayma is very detailed and knows exactly how far I can reach and what objectives I aim for. All the materials provided have been extremely helpful and relevant. Simply a short two week has improved significantly my Arabic in terms of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Works like magic ! I am now feeling much more confident and comfortable in this language.

Excellence Center is like my home base in Hebron. Everyone including the staff and the volunteers are so welcoming and friendly. It is like a family. I am grateful for Rafat, Marwa, Khitam and Abu Mohannad for taking care of me in every aspect. In just two weeks, I am able to get to know the Palestinian culture, local industry and society in a deep level.

During my stay, I am living with a Palestinian host family. Before arrival, I was a bit hesitated about this idea but alhamdulullah, the family is very very good. I am becoming part of the family and now we feel how strange it will be when I am back to Hong Kong ... leaving them alone at home. I am extremely thankful for the Natsheh family, especially Shaza, Safwat, baby Zayna, Yosra, little uncle Yahia, Mustafa and Khitam. Everyday I have been spoiled with wonderful food, either local Palestinian crops or hand picked right from their yard ... lemon, almond, rosemary, potatoes... as if the concept of diet was left behind in Hong Kong.

One of the highlight in this journey is to be able to pray in Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem. Alhamdulullah. As a Muslim revert, this is such a rewarding experience and I wish Allah SWT will accept all our duaas.

As for safety, being a single woman traveller, I feel completely safe, even safer than in Hong Kong and in the U.S. I am perfectly at ease walking alone or wandering around the town by myself. There is no problem at all. The Palestinians in Hebron are the nicest, the most passionate kind I have ever met in my life. There must be someone coming to help you whenever you look in doubt in the street. The owners in the falafel shop, spice shop, fruit shop, sweets shop etc surprisingly can remember everything you told them and admire your level of Arabic in the public. This little episode not only made me feel welcome but also motivated me to speak even better Arabic !

A city where "everyone is doing business with China", Hebron has everything I want and everything I have been looking for : food, people, local industry, a perfect environment to practise Arabic, an accessible balad to walk from here to there, a tradition of family always together, a safe neighborhood for children to run free, a time to slow down and a space to stimulate my intellectual thinking etc etc. The conversation with the local people about their life under Israeli occupation, for example, what they think about it, how they cope with it every day, what are their worries and how do they want to solve it etc is the most amazing moment in this adventure. It's worth every minute and more to listen to their story, their attachment to this land, their determination to protect the homeland.
I highly regard the Palestinians, in spite of the occupation, they remain proud, resistant and resilient.

Open a window to new country and you will be glad you did. On a personal note, immediately after I had embraced Islam in 2012, there was always a voice in my heart calling me to come to Palestine. Alhamdulillah for everything, Allah made it easy for me to follow the heart map. InshaAllah I will definitely come back to Palestine again, come back to Hebron which has become my important home base in The Middle East.
God bless and protect Palestine.
I am always with you !

الف الف !

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Maria
10/10

Study Arabic in Palestine

I stayed for five days at the Excellence Center and I studied Arabic with my great teacher Maryam Joulany. After my stay in al-Khaleel I continued my travels to Ramallah, Nablus and Jericho. I never felt unsafe during my stay in Palestine even though I was a lone traveller. It was very easy to get around in spite of the fact that I hadn't done any planning, I didn't have a working mobile phone or any maps. I asked my way around and always got very good help from the people I met and that way I also got a valuable chance to speak and listen to a lot of Arabic.

I learned a lot of 3amiyya both at the center but also from all the Palestinians I met during my trip. Maryam was a wonderful teacher and had many creative ideas on how to teach the language. The classes were very varied and never felt boring. The staff at the center were extremely helpfull and generous and we were for example invited to Maryam's house where we ate wonderful Maqlooba and got the chance to communicate in Arabic in a larger group of people. Me and another student also went out for a lovely Palestinian breakfast with our teachers at a restaurant. We did excursions to many interesting places in al-Khaleel and its surroundings; like Betlehem, the monastery Mar Saba and the Jabal al-Fureidis and got the chance, thanks to Marwa, to visit the observer organisation TIPH. I did not only improve my Arabic, but I also learned a lot about the political situation, the occupation and the hardships that most Palestinians meet in their daily lives. The ambiance at the center was very warm and welcoming, thanks to the dedication among students, staff and teachers.

To live in a host family was also a great experience and gave me a chance to speak and listen to a lot of Arabic (and eat great food).

I am also very glad I went to different cities in Palestine because I felt that the culture and climate varied a lot between the places. My trip from Nablus to Jericho for example was very interesting because even though the two places were just about an hour apart by car they seemed to be totally different.

I will of course recommend the center to others. My stay at the Excellence Center was so enriching in many ways and I hope I get the chance to return to the center and Palestine soon!

Thank you for your generosity and for giving me memories for life!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Coco
9/10

My stay in Palestine

My name is Coco, I'm 23 years old and I`m a midwife from Germany. This year I was staying for 4 weeks in Hebron and participated in the ¨Study Arabic¨ program at the Excellence Center. I want to tell you a little bit more about my stay.
It was the first time ever that I visited an Arabic country and for the first few days I felt like I stumbled pretty clumsy through this foreign culture. I didn`t speak the language and I didn`t really know much about the culture. Thankfully everyone was so patient with me and supported me in every way possible.
I was staying with a Palestine host family that took very good care of me. Everyone was always so friendly and welcoming although it was challenging to communicate because I spoke little Arabic and they didn`t speak that much English. But surprisingly it worked out every time. I also probably gained about 3 kg because they feed me all the time delicious food. And I could get really get used to the practice to have tea or coffee basically all the time. I enjoyed this lots!
I had four Arabic lessons everyday and my teacher Maryam was really good and so patient. I only knew the alphabet before I came here and she helped to improve my Arabic really fast. I`m still a little bit shy with speaking but actually there`s no reason for it as I know all the necessary grammar and words now. Nevertheless Maryam never gave up with getting me to speak. I always have a lot of questions and sometimes I get frustrated easily but she always had been so patient and tried to encourage me.
The environment of the Excellence Center is also a very friendly one. Everyone has always been so supportive and caring. Whenever there was a problem or I needed anything, everyone has tried his or her best to help me. I also enjoyed my time with the other Internationals here and a few good friendships have formed. They have been very important for me while I was here because the understand the struggles you sometimes face while being away from home. We usually would go out every other evening to a coffee shop and it was always lots of fun. I`m gonna miss all the people here – the one`s that work here and my fellow Internationals.
It also never gets boring because the Center organizes lots of activities you can participate in. Unfortunately I didn`t get to enjoy too many as I had been ill during my stay and also needed a lot of time just for being on my own. So I only got to participate in a trip to Jericho and the Dead Sea and it was amazing! I have seen the pictures of people floating in the Dead Sea but it`s a very special experience to really do it yourself. We had lots of fun on your trip although I was very tired when we returned in the evening.
I also got to celebrate my birthday here as I turned 23 during my stay and it was a really good experience. The people from the Center had organized a small party, there was a cake with a picture of me on it and they even got me presents! I was really amazed how everyone tried to help to have a good time and I did in fact. It was a beautiful day and I`m glad that I got to celebrate my birthday here.
What could be challenging from time to time was that I`m a vegetarian. Palestine food contains lots of meat in general but it`s still possible to get by. Especially the Falafel place across the street has a huge place in my heart. As does the bakery. Those cookies are just delicious. I also enjoyed the breakfast in the Center with lots of hummus. I could totally keep that up in Germany. So even you have to search a little bit from time to time it`s still possible to survive here as a vegetarian and there are really lots of delicious food you definitely have to try!
Another thing that was on my mind (and my Mum`s) was the security situation. In general I felt safe most of the time. There had been protests in December after Trump accepted Jerusalem as the capital of Israel but I didn`t really see much of those as they were pretty far away from my host family and the Center. I always felt as nothing could really happen as long as I didn`t go to the protests and just stayed inside. Be carefull, pay attention to the things around you, read the news and ask for advise from the people at the Center and you will be fine. For most of the time everything here is just as normal as elsewhere.
In general I enjoyed my stay in Palestine very much. Sometimes it`s not easy because of the different cultures – for both sides. But just be open and talk with the others if there are problems. It´s also a huge learning experience and I didn`t only learn a lot about Palestine culture but also aboutmyownandaboutmyself.EveryonehasalwaysbeenverysupportiveandkindandI`msadthat I have to leave soon. If you want to learn about another culture and learn Arabic I can only recommend you to stay at the Excellence Center.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Coco,
Thank you so much for leaving a review. We really enjoyed your stay at the Excellence Center during the month. We wish you all the best in learning Arabic

All the best and we hope to see you in Palestine in the future

With kind regards,

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Mila
10/10

Intensive Arabic in Hebron

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!

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Our Danish Student,

Thank you so much for leaving a review. We enjoyed your stay very much in during the two weeks. We were also amazed by your Arabic skills.

We wish you all the best and success in learning Arabic (You are like Arabic native speaker)

Greetings from the EC's Staff

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Amanda
10/10

My experience studying Arabic

I am Amanda, and I am from Denmark. I almost have a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Arabic, and I came to the Excellence Center to improve my Arabic. Therefore I did the ‘Individual Arabic Course’, and I was very happy with my course. In my opinion it is impossible not to learn some Arabic just by staying in Palestine and living with a host family, and the language course can be a further help in improving your language skills. It has been a much valued experience for me, and I would not have it any other way. The Excellence Center is such a nice base to have in the city! The staff and the teachers are very nice and friendly and willingly to help you with literally everything, you need. It is a wonderful to have a base as this, where you eat breakfast and talk in the mornings, drink coffee in the breaks, share experiences with the other international volunteers and the staff, and you can go back to center, when you need a break from walking in the city. Personally I really liked the Excellence Center, because it is not just a language school. Besides all the meals and talks the center also arranged trips, because they want their students to experience the city. I went on a visit to a glass and ceramics factory and a kuffiyah factory also, which was very interesting. I also went on trips around in Palestine and experienced some of the beautiful places and cities here like Bethlehem, Jericho, Ramallah, Nablus, Jerusalem. There are always new things to see and experience in this country, and I am looking forward to coming back soon, hopefully. But living in Hebron with a host family was the best experience! I learned so much about Palestinian culture just by living with my host family and being a part of their everyday life. For me it was also very nice having someone, you come home to and share things about your day and experiences. I never felt unsafe in Hebron at all. In my opinion it is often a question about travelling wisely and respectful, but the kindness and hospitality of Palestinian people needs to be experienced for sure. My favorite thing about Palestine is the Palestinians, who are some of the warmest and friendliest people, I have met on my many travels. My lasting impression about Palestine is that it really needs to be experienced - this country is so much more than I had ever imagined.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Amanda,

Thank you so much for leaving a review. We are so happy to hear that you had a good experience learning Arabic at the Excellence Center. It was very nice to have you at the Excellence Center. We enjoyed your stay as well

We wish you all the best and success in learning Arabic and we hope to have you in Palestine in the future

Greetings to you

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Erica
10/10

Studying arabic in Excellence center

My name is Erica and I’m a teacher student from Sweden. I took a two month arabic intensive course at the Excellence center. I am very happy with the course and my teacher. She really did a great job to variate my lessons and to make it fun and interesting. I am very satisfied because of how my arabic has improved.
I spent a lot of my time in the center. We had breakfast together everyday, and usually I stayed after class to make my homework. I liked the center because of its nice staff, teachers, volunteers and students.
The center also arranged trips to Jerusalem, Betlehem, local factories, the dead sea, a village and a refugee camp. And since I made some Palestinian friends, I also got the chance to go on trips with them to Nablus and Ramallah.
During my stay in Hebron I lived with a palestinian family. They were all very friendly, and I felt very welcomed. The city is very pleasant with nice coffee shops, cafés and restaurant. But what I didn’t know before I came here was how conservative the city is.
The palestinians I’ve met has been very friendly, and the only times I didn’t feel safe was while walking alone in the evening. The hardest thing for me to cope with during my stay was the traditions. It was never a big issue for me, but I got comments like ”Don’t smoke in the street” and ”Cover your body”. But it’s a good experience to see what life’s like for women in Hebron. It’s also good practice for you to put your own beliefs aside for a while due to respect for the culture and religion here.
The things I will miss the most about Hebron is the delicious food, the warm weather and the hospitality. The warm welcoming every time you enter a shop or restaurant is rare to find in Scandinavia.
If you want to improve your arabic, I really recommend you to take classes at the Excellence center.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Erica,

Thank you for leaving a review. It was very nice having you for two months in Palestine. We enjoyed your stay as well.

We wish you all the best in learning Arabic and we hope to meet you in the future in Palestine

Warm regards from the entire EC's team

Yes, I recommend
Miroslav
9/10

Palestine experience

My name is Miroslav, I'm 32 years old and I'm from the Czech Republic. I graduated in Architecture and Urbanism at the Czech Technical University in Prague. At the Excellence Centre I was studying Arabic for one month which meant 4 lessons per day 5 times a week.
As I'm working in Prague I have one month of holiday only so I decided to focus on Arabic rather then being volunteer at the Centre. My teacher was دعاء and I'm appreciating her approach and skills. She tried to do her best to help me with Arabic as well as with learning vocabulary. I have learned a lot however I would need at least another month to be able to communicate on a level that I would like to have.
As for the Centre itself, I was attending lessons in the new Centre which is quite big and comfortable. The staff, teachers, international volunteers and students were very nice and I really enjoyed time at the Centre. Sometimes we had common dinner and every day before the lesson there was a common breakfast. The Centre organised some trips within the city as well as out of the city. We went together to Jerusalem and a village called Susya, there was also possibility to visit a glass factory in Hebron. All trips were very nice and I'm happy I could visit a place such as Susya.
During my stay in Hebron I tried to travel a lot and so I visited Jenin, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Dahrija. All the cities are accessible by local service and except to Jenin it is possible to visit them in a one day trip. I didn't go to Nablus and Jericho because I already visited these cities last year. I would recommend everyone to travel within the West Bank because each city has different atmosphere.
Hebron itself is a city that has a Jewish settlement in the very centre which creates some difficulties for its citizens as well as for visitors. However I can't say I would feel unsafe in Hebron. Sometimes it happens that Israely soldiers are coming to the centre and in this situations it is better to stay at home.
If I focus on living, me and other guys either volunteers or students only, we were staying in a old house in the very centre of Hebron. I like architecture of the house however I would recommend some improvment, for example in the shower where water pressure was to small to unable us to wash ourself comfortably.
When I decided to come to Hebron to the Excellence Centre I had already known something about Palestine because I had travelled a lot in the region. However I have to say that to stay there for one month was a different experience in a positive way and I realy enjoyed people's hospitality, food and (...) water pipes. In Hebron you can realize what the occupation is, how it is influencing people's lives etc. I would recommend everyone who is interested in Palestinian culture and the region to came to Hebron.
I wish I could come back again.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Miroslav,

Greetings from the Excellence Center team. We enjoyed your stay in Palestine as well. Thank you for sharing your experience

We wish you all the success in learning Arabic and we hope to meet you in Palestine in the near future

With kind regards,

Yes, I recommend

Interviews

Meet the Staff

About The Excellence Center

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...