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 78 reviews
  • Academics 9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 8.9
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 16 - 30 of 78
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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 this program
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 this program
Default avatar
Nick
8/10

A week of Arabic in Hebron

My only regret is not having been able to stay longer. The Excellence Centre's management are wonderfully relaxed about when you arrive, when you leave and what skills you want to focus on, which makes it possible to fit your stay around other commitments. I'm especially grateful to Usama for helping me settle in and showing me the best falafel dive in town, and Maryam for listening patiently for a solid 3-4 hours as I babbled ceaselessly about what I'd done the day before, my favourite colour etc. When classes were over, we got a chance to what Palestinian culture is really about, through visits to a glass furnace, a sandal factory run by hand, the last kuffiyeh factory in Palestine and the old city, squashed between an Israeli settlement and a heavily guarded checkpoint. All in all this course was informal and relaxed in all the right ways, while delivering an intense and very practical language programme. My fellow foreigners who'd been around for longer seemed to have forged real friendships within the community; Hebron is welcoming, positive and interested in visitors.

How can this program be improved?
I made the mistake of coming just before Eid, so travel out of Hebron will probably be very crowded and some of the teachers were fasting. These might be factors to take into account when you're planning dates of travel.
Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Nick,

Greetings from Palestine. We enjoyed your short stay very much. 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 this program
Default avatar
Cynthia
10/10

The Excellence Center: 2 Months Teaching and Learning in Hebron

My name is Cynthia, and I am an undergraduate student at the University of Mississippi studying International Relations. I am from the United States, and I am participating in the Teach English, Speak Arabic program at the Excellence Center.

Before I came to Hebron this summer, I was under the impression that I was going to be living in a conflict zone, that I’d have IDF soldiers walking up and down the street, and that fear and political tension would be oppressively present in every part of my daily life. Professors who have traveled to the West Bank told me that I’d want to have someone to whom I could vent to about the situation. I read many, many news articles online that pointed to instability in the Palestinian Territories, and that living there meant inevitably being involved in protests and politics.

However, the understanding of the situation in Palestine among not only common people, but also among those who study the Middle East, is gravely skewed. I had prepared myself for a summer of politics, when I really did not need to. I have spent the past two months with the Excellence Center, teaching English in both the city of Hebron and the village of Kharas. It wasn’t a political experience. It wasn’t unsafe, and it wasn’t nearly what I thought it would be. I lived in a beautiful house, had plenty of hot water for my showers, and the electricity never was cut off. I took public transportation by myself, and passed checkpoints easily whenever I travelled to the Hebron settlement or Jerusalem. While I did have to adjust to the culture with both my host family and the classroom, volunteering with the Excellence Center has given nothing but wonderful insight and impressions of Hebron and the West Bank.

Every day this summer, I would take the bus in the morning from the village where I lived to the center. Ialways would breakfast with the entire Excellence Center staff, which was a great time for me to talk to my friends before we went our own ways for the day. During breakfast, all the Excellence Center volunteers were constantly engaged in interesting political discussions as we talked about Brexit, the Trump election, South African politics, or Hawaii’s complicated relationship to the United States. The people here at the Excellence Center come from such diverse backgrounds, so there’s always a multitude of conversation topics. This was one of my most favorite aspects of working here at the center: being constantly surrounded by people who had so many different perspectives and opinions that no one ever had the same ideas about any subject. Sometimes we would talk about weddings, and the former professional chef from New York City would talk about how she catered an extremely fancy wedding last year. Or we could be talking about Trump, and the conversation would just move to talking about the alt-right movements in Europe. We would always share our languages with each other too, picking up words in Swedish, Danish, Chinese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Italian, and Spanish, as we all taught English and learned Arabic.

The environment here at the Excellence Center is nothing but positive and supportive, even on the worst of days. There’s always someone to talk to, someone to rant to, someone to celebrate with, and someone to study with. Everyone is excited to experience new things, tease out new bits of Palestinian culture that we don’t understand, and to support each other for the time that we’re here. Adjusting to life in a conservative, religious city can be hard, but the people and internationals at the Excellence Center make it much easier.

The most important lesson that I’ve learned from my time here in Palestine is that you really need to go to its cities, meet its people, spend time on its streets and in its public transportation system, and eat in its restaurants and coffee shops if you really want to know what life is like there. My life here in Hebron doesn’t look like your Al-Jazeera documentary or your exposé from the New York Times. No amount of academic research or talking to my professors could have given me the same knowledge that living in Hebron did. I experienced Palestinian culture and what it means to live under occupation. I learned a lot about Palestinian classroom culture, and the positive and negative aspects of having foreigners teach English classes to Palestinian students. I learned how to cook Mensif and Makloubeh, and about how many spoon-fulls of sugar to put in a pot of Arabic tea. Teaching at the Excellence Center has been an invaluable experience that has changed the way in which I look at life and education in the West Bank. I will not leave Palestine with extensive experiences in protests or the IDF, but I know a lot more about Palestinian daily life, which is almost more valuable.

Teaching English and learning Arabic at the Excellence Center was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The experiences I have had and the people that I have met have changed my life for the better, and my knowledge in the Palestinian Question has increased in ways that I had not thought possible before.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Cynthia,

Greetings to you. Thank you so much for your great work at the Excellence Center during the last two months. It was very nice to have you as well. We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in Palestine in the near future

With kind regards,

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Marli
8/10

Arabic Individual Course

Marli, Australia

I currently work as a town planner, with a previous Bachelor and Masters degree, in Australia and have recently been working in Arabic speaking counties and have been looking for a program to enable me to learn the language as a beginner.

With no prior knowledge of Arabic, I undertook beginners Arabic lessons at the Excellence Centre. While having only a small window of two weeks, these intensive one-to-one daily classes provided me with a solid foundation on which to develop my understanding of the language.

One-to-one tuition enabled flexibility in the coursework to adapt to my ability and needs, notably my preference for learning conversational colloquial Arabic and for navigating the basics of daily life around Palestine. Every class built a base of new vocabulary and grammar, leaving me with a awareness of how to further develop my Arabic speaking and writing beyond my time in Hebron.

Greeted to a friendly, welcoming atmosphere everyday, the Centre was an integral home base for my experience in Hebron. Local students were none too shy to test their conversational English skills or in turn for me to test my own.

This overall experience was confounded by the opportunity to stay with a local Hebron family. They were extremely hospitable and eager to include a clueless foreigner in all aspects of their social and cultural life. Whether invited to a celebratory family meal or an extravagant local wedding, the home stay experience provided the perfect place to test my new found Arabic skills.

Hebron is a unique city, small and quiet enough to feel at home, yet never far from the fireworks of a wedding party. For a solo female traveler, there is little to feel uncomfortable about as the streets of the city centre as always frequented by local women and girls. The city is easily walkable, if you are fit enough to tackle the steep hills, and stumble across many a fig tree or grapevine.

For an Arabic novice the experience may not be as straightforward or reveal as much about locals customs as more experienced Arabic speakers, but if you're willing to sit back and absorb, it will prove a very rewarding experience.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Marli,

Thank you so much for posting your experience at the Center. It was very nice having you for two weeks at the Center. We wish you all success in learning Arabic and we hope to have you in Palestine in the near future

Greetings to you from the entire team

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Brenda
10/10

Brenda's Review

My Experience + EC Review
My name is Brenda, a 24 year old from Chicago, USA. I currently work as an administrative assistant at an Architecture firm, but graduated 3 years ago from Wright State University with a BA in International Relations with concentrations in The Middle East, Peace & Diplomacy, and Arabic. I currently pursue my passions volunteering and mentoring with Syrian refugee families and teaching basic Arabic to children in Chicago.
I decided to come to the Excellence Center because I want to improve my Arabic through the immersion experience, as well as experience a new culture. My expectations were exceeded regarding my Arabic teacher, Ibrahim. His energy and teaching style not only kept me constantly engaged the entire 40 hours I studied, but made me excited to leave class to speak with others using what I learned that day, do my homework, and be enthused to come to class the next day and do it all over again. I learned so much in the short two weeks I was there that I’ll be able to go home and apply.
My host family was incredible. They helped me experience the daily life of a Palestinian family- an invaluable experience. They were so welcoming, accommodating, and helpful. I couldn’t have asked for a better family to stay with.
Before coming to Palestine, I wasn’t sure what to realistically expect in terms of safety. I’m an optimist, so I was sure what was on the news wasn’t accurate, but doubt still lay beneath my confidence. In reality, I never once felt unsafe while here. Literally not once. Even when I got lost, people would enthusiastically and genuinely want to help me and make sure I felt safe. The hospitality of the people here is nothing I’ve ever experienced, and it has encouraged me to go back home and spread awareness as to the reality of the Middle Eastern culture and people, as we often grow up in the West with mistaken beliefs formed by media and here say. The connections I’ve made with staff and locals are ones I will cherish forever and I absolutely plan to come back to Hebron in the future.

Response from The Excellence Center

Hi Brenda,

Thank you for reviewing our Arabic program. We are very happy to hear that you enjoyed your stay at the Center and benefited from the EC. 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 this program
Default avatar
Maria
10/10

Excellent Center? Excellent!

The Excellent Center is a perfect school to learn Arabic. I started studying Arabic here as a beginner and based on my experience, I can recommend this school. The teachers speak english well, they are professional and helpful to support you during your learning. You can decide to study Modern Standard Arabic, Palestinian dialect or both of them! Excellent center is not only a school: here you can study Arabic and also Palestinian culture. The school is in a new easily accesible building with Wi-Fi, located in the H1 area. Highly recommended!!!!

Response from The Excellence Center

Thank you so much Maria for posting a review. We hope to see you soon in Palestine

Greetings from the entire team

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
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 this program
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 this program
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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 this program
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 this program
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 this program
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 this program
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 this program
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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 this program

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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...