Study Arabic in Palestine

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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 71 reviews
  • Academics 8.9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.6
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 16 - 30 of 71
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A
10/10

Job & More

My experience at the Excellence Center has been really addictive.
I had the opportunity to increase my knowledge of classical Arabic and to implement those of the Palestinian dialect for professional reasons.
The working environment is ideal because it is possbile to study professionally but in the funny way at the same time through theoretical and practical activities.
The teachers speak English well and, together with Coordinator Marwa, assist the student throughout the course of the study.
The Excellence Center is located in the new Hebron area (H1 according to the Hebron Agreements) in a recent, all-equipped building with internet access.
Easily reachable, the Excellence Center is close to all main services as well as close to the main street leading directly into the old town.
Certainly, the Excellence Center can become the right place to learn Arabic or implement it alongside the local dialect and where to find teachers and friends at the same time in Palestine.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Ali,

Thank you so much for posting a review. We wish you all the best and hope to meet you in Palestine very soon

With kind regards,

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Marie
9/10

Intensive Arabic in Hebron (3 weeks)

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study Arabic at the Excellence Center for three weeks in the summer of 2017. During my stay I was hosted by a local Palestinian family, and I had Arabic classes every morning five days a week (the intensive Arabic course)

I study Arabic at university level at home, and I was looking for a summer school where I would be able to study Modern Standard Arabic whilst also immersing myself in the dialect of the area of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine. I was in particular looking for a place with a reasonable pricing, the opportunity to stay in a family (as opposed to a dorm with lots of English speakers), and the possibility of both studying Modern Standard Arabic and local dialect. My classes have consisted on a mixture of MSA and dialect with the purpose of making me able to speak Arabic as much as possible. I have been fully satisfied with the tuition, and on top of the academic level - I have had a lot of fun and gained a lot of cultural knowledge. I have appreciated being taught on my own because we have been able to target the class according to my specific needs.

The journey to Hebron was way easier than I had anticipated, and when I was out of the airport (Ben Gurion) the journey went rather smoothly. I did not know much about Palestinian culture and Hebron beforehand – and I still have lots to learn, but I thought coming to Palestine was a great opportunity to learn more about the lives of Palestinians. And I have feel very welcomed by everyone from the staff at the center to the shopkeeper.

Living with a host family is an opportunity to get a glimpse into family life in Palestine. During my stay I have felt like a familiy member, and I have participated in everything from drinking tea and coffee by the (many) neighbours, looking at dresses for weddings (in the living room), doing dishes and stuffing eggplants for lunch. Staying in a family has given me insigths and understanding about Palestinian, Arab and Muslim culture that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to achieve.

As a woman I have overall felt very safe here. I have been to other cities in the Middle East, and walking the streets of Hebron certainly feels more safe than for instance Cairo. Apart from the occasional attention when people yell “how are you” in the streets, I haven’t experienced anything remotely related to street harassment, and during my entire stay I have felt that everyone I met has been looking out for me, and done their best for me to have a good and enjoyable stay here.

All in all I am very satisfied with my stay, and I hope I will get the opportunity to come back.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Maria,

Thank you so much. We are really very happy to hear that you had a good experience in Palestine. Thank you also for sharing it with others. We wish you all the best and we hope to see you in Palestine

Greetings from Hebron, Palestine
The Excellence Center' team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Clare
10/10

2 Weeks Intensive Arabic

I took a job in Palestine and came to Excellence Center for two weeks of introduction to Palestinian Arabic. This Center is a wonderful place to get to know Hebron, introduce oneself to Palestinian Culture, meet new friends, and learn Arabic! I am grateful to my teacher Ibrahim for his hours of teaching and willingness to extend our lessons to Skype even when I moved to Ramallah. The team at Excellence Center truly cares about each of their students and will welcome you to Palestine! Yalla!

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Clare,

Thank you so much for posting a review. You were a very good Arabic student :)

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

With kind regards,

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Harry
10/10

1 Month Intensive Course 2017

My name is Harry, I am a student from the U.K. and this is my second time visiting the Excellence Center, Hebron. When I was here last I volunteered for two weeks, this time around, I partook in the Study Arabic Intensive Course.

I am very pleased with the progress I have made whilst learning at the Excellence Center. Before my course, I could have basic conversations in Arabic and slowly read and write. After 4 weeks of studying, my teacher was conducting the lesson mostly in Arabic and I found that my speech was much more fluid (less "urrrs"). I also noticed that my ability to converse with the young kids had improved a lot (significant because understanding the kids is quite hard).

The community in and surrounding the Excellence Center is wonderful. This is important because travelling to, and staying in, Palestine can be daunting. To my relief, and I’m sure the other internationals, you will only meet friendly and like-minded people at the Center. You will become close friends with the people you live with whether that be other internationals, or a Palestinian family, and this makes the experience very enjoyable. The teachers and staff at the Excellence Center are very welcoming and will help you with any queries or issues you have. I had an issue with the first apartment I stayed at, but the members of staff here sorted it out the next day and I couldn't have asked for a better place to stay.

The Excellence Center provides all volunteers and students the opportunity to visit local sites in Hebron, and also in the West Bank. Some of these visits include a glass & ceramics factory, a Kufiya factory, Al-Ibrahimi Mosque and a camel leather shoe factory. The West Bank is very small which makes travelling to The Dead Sea or Jerusalem, for example, cheap and easy. I, during my four week stay, have visited: The Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho and the Old City of Herbon. Staying with a host family was amazing because I was able to experience these places as the locals would.

I lived with a host family and three other internationals. The internationals and I shared the floor of a house with our host brother. The rest of the family lived on the floors above us. My experience living with a host family was only positive. I am so happy with the family I stayed with as they made me feel very welcome, and like I was part of the family and local community.

My host brother took us on countless trips around Palestine, all the while showing us the best places to eat and introducing us to friends/family. Staying with a host family is very beneficial if you want to learn Arabic as well, as you can practice with them. In general, Palestinian people are extremely welcoming and generous. If you don't drink tea or coffee, you should start before you come here. It is not uncommon to randomly start talking with someone in the street and then by the end of the conversation, be invited for tea that evening and a relative's wedding the following week.

I have stayed at the Excellence Center and Hebron for a total of six weeks over two trips and not once have I felt less safe than when abroad in Europe. However, clashes are not unheard of and can be quite unnerving to see/hear. If they do happen, it’s usually on a Friday, so as long as you are sensible and vigilant there’s nothing to worry about.

Overall, I would thoroughly encourage anyone thinking about studying or volunteering in the Excellence Center, Hebron, to go for it. As soon as I left after my first stay, I knew I wanted to come back, and that is the same of many internationals at the Center. I really recommend the Intensive Arabic Course, as the combination of the fantastic teaching and constant immersion in the language, will swiftly improve your speaking, reading and writing skills. The social aspect of the trip adds to the unforgettable experience.

How can this program be improved?
(If I had to pick something) - Some internationals found it difficult to travel from Ben Gurion Airport to the Excellence Center and ended up having to pay hundreds of shekels for a private taxi. Maybe an updated or more detailed page instructing how to reach the Center using the buses.
Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Harry,

Thank you. We are really happy to hear that you benefited from the Arabic course at the Center and had a good time in Hebron :)

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

With kind regards,

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Joshua
9/10

Great Intensive Arabic course.

As an Arabic student, most of my time was spent either in lesson, or backing up notes and memorising vocabulary outside of lesson. The excellence centre also offers weekly excursions to sites of interest, such as the refugee camp outside of Hebron, and a leather factory in the old city. Without a doubt these excursions are interesting, and really help build your understanding of the culture of Palestine, and the situation here. The centre gives you two days off a week. This coupled with the fact that transport in the West Bank is relatively affordable, means you can independently travel around the West Bank and Israel. I have visited Bethlehem and Jerusalem during my time here. The fact that you can independently travel in and around this area of the Middle East certainly adds to the experience.
Living with a host family is a wonderful experience. Mine has been kind, welcoming and generous since the moment I arrived. I have found most Palestinians, including those in my host family, to be inquisitive and talkative. Furthermore they are happy to answer any questions you may have on the current political situation in the area.
My time in Palestine has coincided with a period of unrest due to Israeli security measures at the al-Aqsa mosque. There were clashes within the city between protestors and the IDF which I witnessed. It must be said that It was of my choosing to witness this event, and it was the only time I have felt slightly unsafe in Palestine. I have noticed the tensions but only in h2 and in IDF administered areas outside of the city.
My favourite aspect of Palestine has undoubtedly been the people. From the staff at the centre, to my host family to people on the street, Palestinians are wonderful people to live and talk with.
Lessons were a good mix of fun and challenge, and the teaching is excellent. I came to the excellence centre as a complete beginner of Arabic, but I leave with a good vocabulary and ability to simple everyday conversations
I will look back on my time in Palestine fondly. I came here thinking there would be a degree of danger and tension, but I leave with a completely different opinion.
I would highly recommend the excellence centre. Not only is the teaching excellent, the rest of the staff are kind, professional and accommodating. Furthermore the price is highly competitive compared to alternatives in other areas such as Jordan, Lebanon, Cairo and Muscat.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Joshua,

Thank you very much for posting a review. We are really happy to hear that you benefited from the Arabic course at the Center and had a good time in Hebron :)

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

Greetings from the entire team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Marna
9/10

My Experience Studying Arabic in Palestine

Marhaba! I am a bilingual (Spanish) 5th grade teacher from San Francisco, California, USA. I came to Palestine for the first time in 2015 as the recipient of a Fulbright Distinguished Award in teaching. During my three-month stay, I focused the bulk of my three months on an inquiry project, and unfortunately didn’t have much opportunity to study and practice Arabic. Because of my love for this country and its people, (and my strong desire to return), I decided I would try to come back, but this time to focus on Arabic language acquisition. The elementary school where I teach has seen a recent increase in refugees from Yemen, so I requested a grant to come to the Excellence Center to study, in hopes that I'd gain the skills necessary to better be able to connect with Arabic speaking families at my school.

I feel so privileged to have been able to return to Palestine and participate in a language course through the Excellence Center! As soon as I arrived, I was given a very warm welcome by staff and volunteers in Hebron. Later that day, I was taken to meet my host family in the nearby village of Beit Ummar. Immediately upon arrival, I was happily greeted by a room full of women who were in the midst of making delicious ma’ mool (traditional cookies during Ramadan), which came to be one of my favorite treats.

It has been such an incredibly rich experience living with a host-family. I am very fortunate to have such a great placement. I have learned so much more about Palestinian culture and traditions living with a family than I could have living in my own apartment. I am also very happy that I chose to arrive during Ramadan, which gave me the opportunity to enjoy Iftar (breaking of the fast) with my host-family, as well as the three days of Eid celebration. My host-family ensures that I participate in as many traditions as possible, so I have also had the chance to attend a couple of weddings, which has been so fun!!

My Arabic instructor, Shaymaa, is so knowledgeable, lively, funny, kind, and most importantly, patient. I am trying to learn a third language rather late in my life, and I know that I am not as speedy of a student as Shaymaa is used to, but she has been so flexible and understanding, making adjustments to lessons in order to ensure that I understand. There have been moments when I have felt very frustrated with myself, and that I have made little progress, but then I review my notebook and I am reminded of all that I have learned. My host-family is also very encouraging, and always makes it a priority to assist me with my homework as needed, or answer whatever questions I might have.

The Excellence Center offers a variety of outings in and around Hebron, but since this is my second time in Palestine, I instead used my free time to travel and visit friends in Bethlehem, East Jerusalem, and Ramallah.

It has been a different experience living in Area B/C, compared to Area A during my first visit. (If you are not familiar with what that means, you'll quickly learn upon arrival.) I do feel extremely safe in Palestine. I am comfortable walking around my village, traveling by public transportation (called "service"), but there is always some discomfort that comes with witnessing the strong soldier presence around the village, and throughout the West Bank, for that matter. I believe that it is extremely important for outsiders to witness the daily injustices Palestinians face living under occupation. I feel that it is my responsibility to share what I’ve witnessed and the countless stories I’ve heard with as many people as possible in my own country, so that we can all fight to end this oppressive system.

Despite the unjust and difficult conditions under which Palestinians live, as a “people” they are so very welcoming and generous; we all have so much to learn from their strength and resiliency.

I am very sad to have to say goodbye to everyone who I’ve met during my stay. It has been such a privilege and honor to be here. I thank Marwa, Rafat, & everyone at the Excellence Center, especially my beautiful teacher, Shaymaa! I also feel deeply indebted to Abu Youssef, Fatin, Shoruq, Sultan, Bayan, Anas, Ameer, Youssef and the entire extended family in Beit Ummar for their magnificent hospitality. They all have a very special place in my heart.

Shukran ktiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiir!!!!!

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Marna,

Thank you so much for writing a review. We wish you all the best in learning Arabic language and we hope to have you soon at the Excellence Center in Hebron

Greetings from Hebron, Palestine

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lexi
10/10

Excellent Excellence Center

One of the best programs I have ever attended. The teachers are above average educated, professional and accommodating. The lessons are fun and the center's efforts go way beyond teaching language. The entire Excellence center staff went out of their way to answer questions about local culture and politics, organized educational field trips and even included me in off-hours Ramadan events and family dinners. Frankly the center could easily charge three times as much for their language program.

I will return many times.

How can this program be improved?
I wouldn't mind if another branch of the center would open in Bethlehem, which is only 10 minutes away, only because I'm considering bringing my staff out to participate in the program and a religiously diverse town tends to be somewhat easier on westerners during longer stays than an exclusively conservative Muslim community.
Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Lexi,

It was a great pleasure to have you at the Excellence Center Lexi. Everybody enjoyed your stay

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

Greetings from the Excellence Center team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lucas
9/10

Intensive Arabic in Hebron

I studied Palestinian Arabic in Hebron with the Excellence Center for four weeks in the spring of 2017. It was a really great experience and I learned a lot. The teaching is really fantastic and having a private tutor is invaluable. The lessons are interactive and can be customized to your desire. The staff are all friendly and accommodating, always willing to answer any questions you may have about the Center, Hebron, or Palestine as a whole. Hebron is a very interesting city and the people are kind and open to discussing many topics. I would encourage people who are interested in learning Arabic, especially colloquial, as it represents a great chance to speak and listen to Arabic as it is truly spoken! I highly recommend the Excellence Center to those who are interested.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Lucas,

Thank you so much for writing a review. We wish you all the best in learning Arabic and e hope to have you again in Hebron

Greetings from the Excellence Center's team

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jakob
8/10

Intensive Arabic in Hebron

After having finished my 8-week intensive Arabic class at the Excellence Centre I can now conclude that the decision to come to Palestine and Hebron to finally learn Arabic was a good one. Not only did it pay off fantastically in terms of acquiring a new language, but in terms of gaining unique experiences together with lovely people.

I came to Palestine with a long-held wish to learn Arabic, but with only very basic knowledge of the language. Notwithstanding some vocabulary and knowledge of the alphabet, I was not able to construct even the simplest sentence.

However, within a few days of one-on-one class – of which I had three hours each day – I had already acquired a glossary enabling me to express myself in simple conversations. The structure of the lessons, with full attention to the individual progress of the student, is definitely a demanding one as it forces you to stay focused 100% of the time (no kicking back at the back of the class – your teacher will surely notice). The positive side of this is of course that you are forced to practice what you have been thought, immediately and constantly.

While – I have to confess – I did struggle for quite a while with those verb conjugations, I very soon noticed the pay-off of the hard work in the classroom. Indeed, for each week that passed, the daily spontaneous conversations with falafel vendors and kids on the street became more rewarding. Having never regarded myself as particularly good at languages, I can now, after 8 weeks of intensive Arabic class, not only make myself understood in most everyday interactions, but – given a dose of patience on the receiving part – can actually express abstract opinions on e.g. news and political events in Arabic.

Even if my studies took up a lot of my time, I am happy to say that my experiences outside of the classroom have been just as positive. The atmosphere at the Centre is familial and there is always someone there – be it a teacher, volunteer, current or previous student – ready to pour you the next cup of Arabic coffee and chit-chat about the peculiarities of Palestinian weddings. The staff is always ready to help out with practicalities and once in a while they arrange trips to different sights in and around Hebron.

It is a fantastic experience just to have lived for a short while in Hebron. It has a beautiful ancient city centre where you can wander around and admire the many hundred years old houses stacked on top of each other, while buying delicious fresh vegetables from the surrounding countryside or admiring the traditional and locally made ceramics, glass and embroideries. And be sure, wherever you walk in the city, you will encounter the hospitality of the Palestinians – often meaning a coffee and a friendly conversation in Arabic, if not an invitation to a family dinner or wedding.

Hebron, however, is an intense and, indeed, a conservative city; add to that the Israeli settlements and partial military control. It all makes for an incredibly interesting experience, of the Middle East in general, and the Palestinian situation in particular. I was nonetheless glad to be able to hop on a service to Bethlehem or Jerusalem a few times to just relax and do some sightseeing.

For someone coming the Middle East for the first time, Hebron will be an intensive crash-course in itself. But with the help of the staff at the centre and the always welcoming locals, you will soon feel at home. Indeed, you will probably feel a bit Palestinian when you leave. Just one advise though: bring warm knickers – while I got used to basically everything in Hebron very quickly, I never really accustomed myself to the cold of the early spring months. With a pair of warm socks and a wool sweater, however, you can manage most things.

Keeping that in mind; if you quickly want to learn Arabic and if you want get to know Palestine better, the coming to the Excellence Centre in Hebron will not let you down.

How can this program be improved?
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Andreas
9/10

Language learning TIPH

Hello good fellows, my name is Andreas and I’m from Norway. I came to Hebron sent by the Norwegian government to work as an international observer in the organization TIPH. A huge part of my work includes interacting and talking to the Palestinian residents of Hebron and the working language out in the field is Arabic. It is of utmost importance to have an understanding of the Arabic language and especially the Palestinian dialect, and by this the Exellence Center and my fantastic private teacher Shayma has provided me with the substance needed.

I have been studying Arabic before I came to Hebron, in classes compiling of several students and by self –studies over a period of a couple of years, but for the first time I have enjoyed the privilege of having a private teacher in the Exellence Center. Together with Shayma we have drafted and put into action a progression plan that has helped me advance to a higher level of mastering the language.

As an observer in TIPH (www.tiph.org) we report on breaches on international laws and regulations, and the Exellence Center with its cooperation with TIPH has been of an immense importance to increase the language level of the Arabic speaking observers, including myself.

My sincere call and recommendation to everybody thinking about studying Arabic in Palestine. The Exellence Center in Hebron is excellent. When I unfortunately in the near future have completed my mission, I will bring with me the great experiences, the acquired heightened level of my Arabic skills, and the great memories of the daily breakfasts and the fantastic feast I enjoyed on the rooftop of the center together with my invited family and all the teachers and students that lovely day in April 2017.

Yes, I recommend
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Jana Evi
10/10

Volunteer at Excellence Center Hebron

My name is Jana Lindner and I'm a volunteer from Germany.
This was my first time to Hebron and the West Bank in general, where I have been doing the teaching program with Excellence Center for the past 2 weeks and it has truly been one of the best experiences I've had so far.
I have had teaching experience before as I've been volunteering with another NGO in Tanzania in 2016 but volunteering here in Palestine was something completely different, challenging in another way.
In my time volunteering here I was helping local teachers with their English classes, as well as planning different English lessons suited to the individualities of the pupils, which also was the most challenging part, working with a lot of students with completely different English levels.
During my stay I also had 6h of Arabic lessons with my great teacher Ahlam. As for the Center's Palestinian teachers, they were very enthusiastic and willing to teach us as much as possible. I am a university student studying Middle Eastern studies and political sciences as well as Arabic, so it was an amazing opportunity for me not only to learn an Arabic dialect but also to practice my spoken Arabic with my host family.
Therefore I can only recommend this to everyone that is learning Arabic or wants to learn Arabic.
One of the best parts about the whole experience definitely was the love and respect as well as the courteousness and generousness that people in Palestine as well as my host family would constantly express. Locals would always be so excited to see us and they would always want us to eat or have coffee and tea with them. I've been having a lot of very warm and friendly conversations with people from many different backgrounds . Having travelled to a lot of other Arab countries before, I think my visit to Palestine is going to be the one with the best memories at pretty much every turn. I have never experienced a country with such a great hospitality like Palestine.
The country also has various different landscapes and it is very easy to visit other cities around the West Bank or even in Israel.
I have been doing trips to Ramallah, Jericho, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, all of them very different and very beautiful. Yet, nothing can compete with Hebron. It definitely is my favorite place to be in Palestine.
The staff from Excellence Center is more than willing to provide you with any information.
All in all, the Center is more than dedicated to its work and providing local communities with help for English classes as well as caring about their students and the well being of their volunteers. So if you're thinking about volunteering in Hebron, the Excellence Center is the place to be.
I'm leaving with a lot of great memories and I'll definitely be back to Hebron sometime soon, staying for a longer time, as 2 weeks were definitely not enough.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Mohammad
10/10

1-2-1 Arabic at the Excellence Center in Hebron, Palestine

My name is Amir, I am an IT consultant from London, England. Having visited the a number of Arabic speaking countries I chose to learn Arabic in Palestine due to my experience with the people when I visited in Ramadan 2016.

I was very pleased with my choice and it totally surpassed my expectations; both from the perspective of learning Arabic but also the amount of activities the centre takes you to.

I couldn't have asked for a better teacher than Dua. The standard of teaching was of high quality and I don't think I would have learnt as much as I did if I wasn't pushed like I was. Dua is definitely good at what she does and is able to recognise when I am having a bad day or my brain is a little frazzled and therefore mixes up the structure of the class. It is impressive considering she has no formal qualification or training in teaching. I think the 1-2-1 sessions really make a difference and I've learnt a lot in a month. I hope I can continue to progress at the same pace when I'm back in London. I plan to come back but I guess I'll have to think twice if Dua isn't here.

In terms of activities, I was fortunate enough to visit Abraham's Oak, Abraham's Mosque, a sandal factory, a kufiya factory, a glass and ceramic factory to name a few.

From the perspective of a male, we lived together in an apartment which was basic but sufficient. We attended breakfast together at the centre as well as a number of dinners. Generally we had lunch outside and cooked dinner together in the evenings. Initially I felt a little lost in terms of cooking and wished I had bought more food with me but once I was familiar with the local shops, supermarkets etc. it wasn't a problem anymore. We even managed to make pizza Hebron style using the local bread and without an oven.

Palestine is definitely a safe place to visit. It is so easy to make friends here which meant that we could spend our time in the evenings with the locals. The hospitality at both the centre and Hebron in general is totally unreal. Everyone is so friendly, welcoming and ready to help, this isn't something you see anywhere else in the world and the best thing about it is that it is genuine and there are no hidden agendas. I can't tell you the number of times someone has stopped me to say hello, ask me where I am from or offer me some coffee. I was invited round to play table tennis at someone's house and on another occasion invited to play 5 a side football at a local pitch.

On one occasion when I visited the local coffee shop I accidentally dropped 90 shekels on the floor. The locals that were with me handed it over to the owner and once we got out they asked everyone if anyone had lost any money. I checked my pocket and realised that I did, we returned to the shop and the owner went through the CCTV and happily handed over the money. I couldn't see that happen in England.

Regarding the centre, the staff really do make a conscious effort to look out for your well-being and on one of the days we decided to go hiking to Wadi Mukalak and the centre happily organised the transportation for us.

I would more than recommend anyone that would either like to volunteer or learn Arabic to seriously consider the Excellence Center in Hebron, Palestine.

Response from The Excellence Center

Salam Brother Mohammed,

Thank you so much for leaving a review. We are glad that you enjoyed learning Arabic at the Excellence Center. All the best to you in learning Arabic

We hope to see you in the future at the Excellence Center
With kind regards,

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Paul
8/10

My experience in Excellence centre

I knew Hebron before I came. I lived there for a few months before and was enjoying meeting people. Unfortunately, my Arabic, that I started learning really late in university couldn’t allow me to engage further more with the friends I made here. Therefore I decided to take classes in Excellence Centre. The result is fantastic!

Benefiting from one-to-one classes, I could learn a lot. My teacher is amazingly hardworking. She always adapts to any of my demands. I was trying to acquire knowledge that would be useful in my daily life as much as in a professional context and she was always planning classes according to my objectives. From literal Arabic to dialect, we went through texts, dialogues, and videos or any media that could improve my overall skills. Moreover, the centre was a place where I could receive help in any situation. I also enjoyed sharing lunch with all the teachers and volunteers.

Excellence Centre is more than a centre it’s a big family honouring the traditional hospitality of the city of Abraham.

Paul Elek

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Tarik
10/10

great experience

Learn success has a lot to do with what you make it, so as the son of an jordanian father, raised by a german mother in Germany, I will never be satisfied by my arabic skills, compared to those of my jordanian siblings. However, having had access to the language before, and not beeing a youngster anymore, it was all up to me, and my excellent teacher was ready to try any approach I would choose. The human factor in Palestine of course plays into their cards within the school or outside, so the staff is lovely, but, of course, there are conflicts. People from all over the world come together and not only the women participants wonder why they have to be back home with their families at early hours while the guys come and go as they please. And they would not only ask why the girls are not invited to the traditional meals in Ramadan, they would demand it. Not an easy job for the staff to explain the extraordinary conservative environment in Hebron, on which, probably, the schools mere existence depends. I would encourage them to try hard and make the decisions as transparent as they can and not just blame far away boss Rafa. So there are long faces, and there are frustrated ambitions, but it is all a necessary part of the process. My experience was all great and I definitely want to and will repeat it. The whole region is one of the most fascinating of the world. It is not only al Quds, I travelled all of Palestine and crossed over to Israel and Jordan for a surprise visit to my family at the end of Ramadan. All of this provides a lot of mixed feelings and crossing borders is definitely a very special experience! In Hebron I was sharing a rather downbeat flat with students from all over the world, and we became a part of the neighbourhood in no time, being invited to meals, singing, dancing, political meetings and much more. (They immediately stopped using our yard as a waste dump and I am pretty confident Rafa will shell out some real beds next time.) To sum it up, it definitely was an unforgettable experience and I would encourage anyone to try it.

How can this program be improved?
As the school becomes bigger they were already in the process of expanding in summer 2016.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Zo
9/10

:)

What I expected when I came to Hebron was a week of Arabic lessons, a place to sleep, and a few excursions. What I got when I came to Hebron was a second family. Not only was my host family quick to adopt me - by my second day, they were calling me their new daughter - but the Excellence Center itself, staff, students and volunteers, felt like a big, chaotic, warm family. Everyone eats breakfast together in the morning, works or talks or drinks sweet tea and bitter coffee in the kitchen between duties, and cooks a communal dinner together on Thursdays. The students and volunteers come from all over the world - during my time here, I met people from Australia, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the USA, and Mexico - and all of them have interesting stories. Equally, all of the Palestinians I met were incredibly welcoming, and happy to be able to show visitors their country.

I have studied Arabic for three years, including a year living and studying in Amman, Jordan, so this wasn’t my first experience in the Middle East. From my previous experience, I can say that the teaching at the Excellence Center is of a high standard. With my teacher Afnan, I studied both Palestinian colloquial and Modern Standard Arabic. We looked at a wide range of material and topics, from rap songs to poems to newspaper articles, jokes and comic folktales to documentaries. I really appreciated her calm and patient approach, as well as her ability to be flexible and adapt to what I wanted.

Outside of lessons, I got to see much more of Palestine. In Hebron, we visited the Old City and the Ibrahimi Mosque, as well as excursions to see local industry, such as glass-blowing, pottery, and leather workshops and the factory which makes the Palestinian keffiyeh. Outside of Hebron, I went with the center to visit Ramallah and Jericho: we visited sites including the Mar Saba monastery and the new Yasser Arafat museum in Ramallah.

Additionally, I really benefited from the time I spent with my host family - being able to immerse myself entirely in spoken Arabic in a home environment was challenging but has proven really rewarding. It wouldn’t have been possible without their amazing hospitality. Practising my Arabic with the staff and teachers at the center outside of lessons was a great opportunity as well. I also appreciated getting to know the other volunteers, and the experience of being among only a few native English speakers in a place where English is the lingua franca has been eye-opening.

Finally, I have one piece of advice for anyone planning to come to the Excellence Center, whether to study or to volunteer: you really do get out what you put in. It might seem exhausting (I know it has been for me!), but if you try your best to participate, help out, and talk to people whenever possible, you will find you learn as much outside your lessons as you do in them, not to mention the real friendships you will create. I wish I could have spent longer than a week in Hebron, and I’m definitely hoping to come back in the future - inshallah! (“If God wills,” a phrase anyone studying Arabic will learn to use often...)

Yes, I recommend

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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...