Study Arabic in Palestine with The Excellence Center

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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

9.41 Rating
based on 117 reviews
  • Academics 9.1
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 8.9
  • Housing 8.9
  • Safety 9.2
  • Instruction 9.4
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 8.7
  • Value 9.6
Showing 57 - 64 of 117
Default avatar
Nick
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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,

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

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,

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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

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,

Default avatar
Marie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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

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

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,