Volunteer and Learn Arabic In Palestine
91% Rating
(82 Reviews)

Volunteer and Learn Arabic In Palestine

Join The Excellence Center In Palestine In 2018
The Excellence Center in Palestine welcomes applications for the next year 2018. Furthermore, the Center will publish 9 new community development programs for internationals who would like to come to Palestine to volunteer, visit, intern or study Arabic next month.

Greetings from Palestine. We would be happy to have you at the Excellence Center in 2018 :)

Are you interested in coming to Palestine? Would you like to live with a Palestinian host family? Would you like to volunteer with school and university students as well as community members? Do you want to learn about the Palestinian culture, situation and the Arabic language? If the answer is 'yes' to one of the above questions then Excellence Center, would like to invite you to volunteer in Hebron-Palestine.

During the last four years, the Excellence Center has hosted more than 250 international interns, students, and volunteers from every corner of the world.

Time: Excellence Center welcomes the application year-round, we are flexible, we can host you whenever you have time (from 1 week to 3 months).

The Volunteer in Palestine program is designed for students and people who do not possess experience in teaching English as EFL (English as a Foreign Language). All majors and nationalities are welcome to apply for the program.

Locations
Asia » Palestine
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
6-12 Months
Language
Arabic
Housing
Apartment
Host Family
Hostel
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
The program fees include: pre-departure support, accommodations with a host family, some of the Meals, full coordination while volunteering in Palestine, 3 hours per week of Arabic lessons, and some visits to different sites in the city of Hebron.

Questions & Answers

No. Not at all. Even West Bank Palestinians need a very good reason to go, and getting approval from the Israeli government can take months. The only way I know of for a foreigner non-NGO member to get to Gaza is by crossing the Rafah crossing from Egypt. I believe this is technically illegal though.
I have had a lot of free time. Sometimes less because you are planned in for courses as a teacher. But there is a lot of freedom in asking free time and enjoy yourself in an other city or with friends.
Hello Chrissy, No prior visa is needed for Americans, Canadians, and most Europeans to enter Israel and Palestine. You can can a visa for three months on arrival. If you would like to stay for more than three months, you have to leave the country (e.g. visit Jordan) and come back to get another visa for three months. Please write to us if you have any questions. Greetings from Palestine

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    87%
  • Support
    90%
  • Fun
    84%
  • Value
    89%
  • Safety
    91%

Program Reviews (82)

Default avatar
Fabian
Male
30 years old
amsterdam
Other

Lifechanging

10/10

Hi all, 

My name is Fabian, I am 30 years old and I live in the Netherlands. 
I studied Commercial Economics and Marketing Management and I currently work as an International Sales Engineer. 

I travel a lot because of my job, but not ever I have been in a place which left such a big impression on my heart as Palestine. 

Here is why. 

The reason of my stay in Palestine was selfish. When you grow up in a country like Holland, you take a lot of things for granted. 
Education, facilities, money, opportunities and especially freedom. I wanted to change my outlook on life and to see what life is really all about. 
What matters most in life? 

My first impression of the Excellence Center was already very positive. 
I had a Skype interview with Rafat and I could see in his eyes how passionate he was about this project. 
He told me about the dreams and hopes he had for this country which convinced me to take part in this beautiful project. 

My preference was to stay with a host family to truly experience the way of living in Palestine. 
Since I arranged this very last minute (3 weeks in advance) this was not possible but I stayed in a dorm instead. 

The experience stayed quite the same since the host of the dorm, took perfect care of me.
His name is Sheikh Abed and he is truly amazing. A kind hearted, funny person which could tell me a lot of stories about the life in Palestine.
I have seen him everyday over the last 2 weeks, played with his kids, played football with him, prayed with him and so much more. 

Throughout this stay, I have never felt unsafe.  I am very grateful to have met him, his kids, his whole family and friends.

They will make you feel like part of a big family. 

During my stay in the Excellence Center I followed a volunteership but this wouldn't do justice to what I have been doing here. 
This would mean that I would be mostly helping others which was not really the case. 
Ofcourse I have been teaching English to young children, teenagers and young adults but they taught me a lot more than i taught them. 

Especially the young children were absolutely amazing. 
The enthousiasm they showed, the politeness, the joy in their eyes and their dreams taught me a lot more than what I would be able to teach them.

The children were studying English outside of their regular program at school but still came to class everyday with a big smile on their face. 

The taught me to work hard, believe in your dreams, keep smiling no matter your circumstances, to educate yourself and to say alhamdulilah for everything that is given to us.  

The Center showed great professional guidance, were very helpful and flexible to make your stay as good as possible for you. 

Trips were arranged for me to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the old city, Jeericho and several other places like glass factories and a Kufiya factory. 
Therefor it has been a great cultural experience as well. A special thanks to the team which was absolutely amazing. 
Marwa, Khitam, Ahlam, Ibrahim, Ibrahim, Dua, Maryam, Osama and Muhammad. Shukran Khateer!

I wanted to write something about my favourite moment or experience but I am not really able to choose from all the good things that have happened. 

If I have to name one, it would be the football match that I have organised for children of the Excellence Center. 
We played Barcelona - Real Madrid and while I was looking at the kids running after the ball with concentrated but smily faces, I realised that this is something we should do more often. Make eachother happy. Make eachother smile more often. We tend to care too much about our own happiness that we forgot about the happiness of somebody else. One moment they forgot about the world around them. This world which is not too big since these small kids with big dreams, live in a small world which is literally surrounded by gates. Borders which prevend them from travelling and opportunities but not from dreaming. 

My overall experience is one with a lot of mixed feelings. Sad to leave, sad to see the limited amount of opportunities, sad to see certain cirumstances, angry about injustice, sad to leave behind great people but also happiness. Happy to have met great people, happy for personal growth, happy for what I've learned and happy to realise that God has blessed me with everything I have. Alhamdulilah! 
Besides happy and sad, I am also hopefull. Hopefull that the Excellence Center can contribute to the education and potential of young people in order to provide for a better future. As my great friend Ibrahim told me 'Education is the key to freedom'. 

I am already happy if you took the time to read this whole review. I hope this review will makes you realize that you have the opportunity to have a great cultural experience in which you will experience personal growth, see many things and are able to give back something to children and people that don't have the opportunities that you have. I promise you, they will not let you down...

If you would like to know more from my side and my stay in Palestine, please feel free to always contact me. 

Ma salaama (May peace be with you), 

Fabian

Default avatar
Ola
Female
22 years old
United States
University of Michigan

My Experience in Palestine

10/10

My Experience in Hebron Palestine
My name is Ola, I’m from the United States, have a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Political Science, and I participated in the Teach English and Study Arabic program (TESA) for two months. Through this program I had 3 hours a week of Arabic lessons and taught students of all ages and levels. At university I studied Arabic for three years, so I came to Palestine with a base of Arabic. However, at my university we learned the formal dialect, which I quickly learned is completely different from the spoken dialect. So, I chose to have my classes focus on building my speaking and listening skills in the Palestinian dialect. My teacher was Maryam, she created lesson plans which were tailored to my level and what I wanted to learn. Maryam really has an amazing energy which encourages you to push yourself, but also isn’t too harsh. I enjoyed my lessons from her so much and really was able to see my listening and speaking improve because of her. The best thing about being at the center is that your Arabic lessons aren’t just in the classroom. There is almost always somebody in the kitchen you can practice your Arabic with, whether it’s a teacher or a visitor.
Working at the center is both fun and rewarding. The full-time teachers are so helpful in helping you adjust. I worked with Ibrahim Zahada and was so inspired and encouraged by his passion for teaching.The director MarwaShantir was an extremely important part of my adjustment to the city and the center. Her kindness and light-heartedness encouraged me to become comfortable at the center and truly act like myself in this new place. I loved working with my students so much, and the best part is seeing their improvements at the end of your time together. I think the most meaningful part of my experience was when I said goodbye to a class I had been teaching for most of my time at the center. Their genuine gratitude meant so much to me and I will carry that with me forever.
During my stay in Hebron I lived with a host family which was a unique and significant experience of my stay here. They are the true model of Palestinian hospitality. My host family was so kind, generous, and hospitable with me; but at the same time, they were respectful of my personal space which I really appreciated. They always invited me to eat meals with them, allowing me to try different traditional Palestinian food, and ensured that I had a comfortable stay. Living with a host family also gives you more opportunities to practice your Arabic. I think my favorite part of living with a host family was spending Fridays with them. Because there is no work on Friday everyone would be home and we would eat a big lunch and then just have a nice relaxing day and night watching movies, enjoying the weather, or just talking.
While in Palestine I visited a few places through the center and outside of the center. Through the center I went on several small trips within Hebron. We visited the Ibrahimi Mosque, the Old City, Al-Shuhada Street, the glass and ceramic factory, and the Church of the Maskobiyeh. These local trips were ranged from a couple of hours long or half a day. I also went on one full day trip to Jericho through the center which was a truly beautiful day. We started the day with a short hike outside Jericho then went from there to the Dead Sea. At the Dead Sea we swam, or rather floated, then made a barbecue and ate while enjoying the view of the sea. After this we went to a beautiful view at the top of the mountain and drank tea and smoked shisha while watching the sunset. Separate from the center I went on trips to Bethlehem, Nablus, and Jericho again for some hiking. The West Bank offers many beautiful and historical places to visit, and many are easy enough to get to on your own, but if you ever want the center to plan a specific trip all you have to do is ask and they will.
Before coming to Palestine, of course safety was on my mind, and I hoped that no significant political changes would occur during my stay. Unfortunately,during my stay President Trump made the announcement to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. After this announcement there were reactions in Hebron and surrounding cities, and for the first two days it was unsure what would happen. However, by the third day I realized that I had nothing to fear so long as I was smart about where I went. Yes, there were protests in Hebron; but because I didn’t go anywhere near where these protests were taking place they didn’t affect my daily life, let alone harm me. I was so happy to have the center and my host family during this time because they were able to provide me with accurate knowledge about what was happening, what I could expect, and what I should do to stay safe. In general living in Palestine felt very safe for me. I never worried about walking home by myself or taking a taxi. In addition, the people of Hebron are incredibly kind and friendly people and want to ensure the safety and comfort of visitors to their city.
During my experience at the Excellence Center I really found a family in the people I met during my time in Hebron. From the staff at the center, my fellow volunteers, and local Palestinians I befriended I found so much love in this city which makes it so hard to leave. The center provides such a beautiful experience for it’s volunteers and I’m so grateful for the time I was able spend here.

Default avatar
paulina
Female
hebron
Other

nursing student in Palestine, health and medicine program

9/10

Pauliina, Finland, BA Nurse student, medicine and healthcare program

I participated in the medicine and healthcare program, and I also studied arabic on the side. Arabic is a relatively difficult language, but during one month I managed to do some small-talk, and to read arabic in english. The centers environment was nice, and everybody were very friendly. During my time in Palestine I visited Betlehem, the old town of Hebron and the Dead Sea.

Living in the host family was really nice experience, and I learned a lot of palestinian culture and people, that I would’ve not learned if staying on my own. We ate dinner together, and my hostmom took me to market, shopping, meetings, and made my stay in Hebron safe and comfortable. During my time in Palestine, the mood in the city was sometimes restless, due to certain political happenings.

My favorite memory of my time in Palestine was the people’s kindness and hospitality. I also celebrated my country’s 100th independence day in Palestine by having a huge dinner, and I was so happy people were participating to this event important to me.

I recommend excellence center for everybody coming to visit Palestine, they offer a programn for everybody, tailored to their interest! My medicine and healthcare programn was really a success, I got to keep lectures to first year nursing students for example about the patient communication skills and ethics. I also visited local palestinian hospital during my stay.

Default avatar
Mats
Male
27 years old
Belgium
Other

Excellence Center Stay

8/10

My name is Mats, I’m a Belgian teacher who volunteered as an English language teacher in Hebron, Palestine.
It’s weird to think that it has been 3 months since I last wrote about my experience in Palestine. Back in September I knew very little about this little place called Hebron, apart from what I’ve read in the little research I did.
It’s no secret that the political climate during my stay has greatly changed. For the most part during my stay, there had been no reason for concern and keeping myself to the same guidelines as I follow in all ‘big cities’ has worked out well. What is important to note for future volunteers is that cultural awareness and respect take priority, as well as heeding the advice of the locals and your host family.
Spending my time here as an English language teacher has been a great experience for me personally. In the past 3 months I worked with many of the staff member (although with some not as extensively as I would have liked) and have come to respect them greatly. These are Palestinian teachers who arrive after their regular hours to supplement their already busy schedule in order to help students improve their English, as well as going out of their way to make the various volunteer that come and go feel welcome. Special thanks should go out to Marwa, who not only leads the center but also has taken up the valiant task of trying to teach me Arabic. It did not matter if I failed to do my homework, forgot everything that she fought tooth and nail to teach me or if I had to bug her with another one of my questions, she always went out of her way to offer help with a smile.
The students have, for the most part, been nothing but welcoming and eager. Classes have been hectic at times, especially for the volunteers with little teaching experience, but that’s part of the experience and the regular staff members have always gone out of their way to offer assistance. After my second month I was given my own personal Intermediate 1 class and – while I’ll never say this in the classroom itself – all of them have been such incredible students that I feel proud and privileged to have been their teacher.
As a teacher-volunteer, part of your job will also be to take private classes with 1 or 2 (adult) student. These classes are the ones that are most memorable to me. Khaled and Eiman, the government officials who were always ready with a joke and a story (and the occasional cheating attempt when I was playing some games with them) and Wa’el, the traveling doctor with whom I had countless conversations about life and who taught me so much about Hebron and Palestine, I’ll miss them a lot.
Most of all though, I’ll miss ‘the Sheikh’. He started off as our landlord, since the male volunteers rent out his old parental home, but Sheikh, as well as his entire family, have become friends and companions during my stay.

How can this program be improved?

As with all NGOs that rely on volunteers in combination with teachers, the quality of education greatly depends on the quality of the volunteers that arrive at the center. Many of the staff are good and experienced, but some of them are overworked and have to rely extensively on the available volunteers.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Mats,

Thank you so much for leaving a review. We appreciate your efforts very much during the last three months. You did a great job helping our Palestinian students develop their English and life skills.

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

Greetings from the entire Excellence Center's staff

Default avatar
Aleksandra
Female
30 years old
Latvia
Other

Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times

10/10

First of all I would like to say that I was the first Latvian visiting the Excellence Center and usually any Palestinian heard nothing about my country and sometimes it started to be very funny to explain where I am from. Nonetheless, I felt some kind of responsibility and honour to bring the part of my culture to the new place and I really hope that I left a good memories and brought a value for these wonderful people in Excellence Center and Palestine.
I would like to start to write my review with a proverb which says: “Better to see something once, than to hear it thousand times.” I consider that these words absolutely applicable for my trip to Palestine.
Now I understand that I did not have any clue about life in Palestine and people living there. Before my arrival to Palestine I had some vague information about the situation in region. The Mass Media usually provides us with uncertain information about Palestine and creates an impression of a dangerous place. Upon my arrival I realized how far away from reality it is.
During my stay in Palestine and Excellence Center I participated in volunteer program “Teach English - Study Arabic”. Part of my job was to assist teachers in English classes, doing the teaching for students of Intermediate level and private lessons.
I got a lot of pleasure working as an English teacher and volunteer. It was a new experience for me and I would like to thank Excellence Center for providing such an opportunity to enrich my experience. As a reward I had Arabic lessons. My Arabic teacher Maryam made the study process especially jouful and fruitful.
The atmosphere in the Center was very joyful and relaxing. The staff is super supportive and welcoming, always ready to help you with everything. Speaking about the Center I can’t not to mention Marwa who is responsible for organization and who cares about every student and volunteer very deeply.
I suppose that every student and volunteer before coming to Palestine asks him or herself about the safety in this country. I can retell only my experience and it was very positive. I did not experience any dangerous situation. I was walking alone by myself along the street of Hebron and I was traveling alone around Palestine and Israel and did not face any problems. Of course, as a foreigner, you have to be ready for an extra attention to your personality from the local Palestinians and sometimes it can seem annoying, but you have to realize that people are just curious or really welcoming.
In conclusion I can add that Palestine is just as any other normal country where people live and just try to be happy and Palestine is a place where you can experience the highest level of hospitality.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Aleksandra,

Greetings from Palestine. We are very happy to hear that you had a good experience at the Excellence center and in Palestine in general. Thank you so much for your great effort during the month you spent here. We learned a lot from you.

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

With kind

Default avatar
Annabel
Female
22 years old
London
University of Edinburgh

My Experience in Palestine

8/10

After finishing my undergraduate degree in History and Politics, I decided to complete an internship in writing articles for the Excellence Center in Hebron. I thought it would be a good opportunity to gain some experience writing articles, and I was excited to explore more of the West Bank, and to be able to learn some Arabic.

My daily life at the Excellence Center involved writing two articles a day for their website, on topics such as the safety of Palestine, the history of Palestine, and place of interest to visit. I also had two Arabic lessons every week, and I helped to teach two lessons of English a week. Although it wasn’t the focus of my internship, and I hadn’t expected to like it, I especially enjoyed teaching English, so I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to try something new and step out of my comfort zone. I also enjoyed my Arabic lessons. As I knew no Arabic before I arrived, I started from scratch, but I quickly got to grips with the basics, thanks to my teacher, Marwa.

In general, I found the staff, teachers, students and volunteers at the Excellence Center extremely friendly and welcoming. The students were very respectful, and I had a lot of fun hanging out with the other interns and volunteers. We often organised fun things for the evenings, including dinners, smoking shisha and sometimes trips. With the Excellence Center I visited some local factories, and also Farwa refugee camp, which was very eye opening.

The other interns were definitely my support system during my time in Hebron. I did enjoy living in Hebron, but I did experience some culture shock when I first arrived. Unfortunately, I did also experience some harassment as a woman, but in general I felt safe as long as I stuck to common sense rules, such as not walking alone after dark, and dressing conservatively.

I also really liked my host family, and felt extremely safe with them. They were incredibly generous, and always offering me food. They even gave me a ring as a gift before I left, and I’d definitely like to stay in touch with them. The amenities at their house were a bit basic, but the family was so warm and welcoming, I really felt at home there.

While I was staying in Hebron, I visited the sites of Hebron, including the Ibrahimi Mosque, and the local glass and ceramics factory. I also managed to go to Bethlehem, the Dead Sea and Jericho for a couple of days. Jericho was definitely a highlight for me, and I really enjoyed visiting the desert and St. George’s Monastery. I also plan on visiting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Masada before I get my flight home. One of my favourite parts of living in Hebron was living so close to so many interesting historical sites.

How can this program be improved?

I think perhaps it could be better organised, but Palestinian culture is very laid back which is also good in ways.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Annabel,

Thank you for leaving a review. We appreciate your efforts at the Excellence Center very much. We wish you all the best and hope to meet you in Palestine in the near future

Greetings from the entire team

Default avatar
priscilla
Female
23 years old
Italy
Other

My First Time to Palestine

10/10

MY EXPERIENCE IN PALESTINE
My name is Priscilla, I’m 23 years old and I’m from Italy. Two months ago I graduated in interpreting and communication and after that I decided to come to Palestine. I have always had a huge passion for the Middle East and for the Arab culture, (plus my bachelor thesis was about Palestinian refugees after 1948) so I decided to combine all my passions in one trip and the Excellence Centre seemed to be the most appropriate choice. Here I participated at the program ‘teach English and learn Arabic’ and I can say that ithas been a great experience: most of my students were kids and they were so respectful and nice with me. Every time that we had a lesson together they were asking me a lot of questions about my culture and about my country and I was really happy to see that they were really interested in knowing me better. I also had the opportunity to teach in the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar, that was really nice because it was an opportunity to see how Palestinian people live outside the city and to discover more things about the Palestinian culture. I loved going to Beit Ummar, and after the last class one of the students invited me to eat in his house with his family, it was great! Since he knew that I was a vegetarian he cooked everything without meat and at the end of the day his mother gave me a present. We had a really good time together!
At the Excellence Centre I also had the opportunity to learn the Palestinian dialect, and I can say that this was the greatest experience of my journey here. Before coming here I had studied Arabic at university for one year but I wasn’t able to speak it at all, but aftera few weeks of classesI made great progress. Now I can actually speak and talk to people, and that was one of my main goals before coming here. During my stay here, I have lived with a Palestinian family and it has been a great experience. My host mum was great, and her husband and the children as well. Living in a host family is a great experience because you can actually learn more about Palestinian culture, plus it is a great way to improve the Arabic language.
Since I had two days off from the centre I was able to travel a lot around the country: Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah, the Dead Seaand Nablus. Palestine is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to, the landscape is amazing and the people even more.Before coming here, I was a bit scared;this maybe because I’m a girl, ormaybe because in Europe there is a lot of misinformation about Palestine, but after a few weeks I realized I had nothing to worry about! Palestine is completely safe, people are so friendlyand if they notice that you need help they would do everything possible in order to solve your problem.
The hospitality and kindness of the Palestinian people are one of the things that I have loved,despite the conflict with Israel not being easy, they never lose their happiness and glee and that is one of the things that Ireally admire about them.
In the end, I can say that my experience at the Excellence Centre has been completely positive. I have had the opportunity to learn more about this great country and to meet a lot of people that I will forever remember in my heart.

How can this program be improved?

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Salam Priscilla,

Greetings to you form the entire team. Thank you so much for your great during the last two months at the Excellence Center. We appreciate so very much.

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

With kind regards,
The Excellence Center in Palestine's team

Leila
Female

Trip to Palestine

10/10

I am Julia, 28, from Berlin, Germany. I participated in the trip to Palestine that was organized by the Excellence Center in August 2017 and spent one week with a host family in Hebron during which I could experience the local culture and explore a lot of sites in Palestine.

We visited many places, starting with the university and nativity church in Bethlehem, as well as the terraces of Battir, the old city and Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron as well as the local factories for shoes, ceramics and kaffeah and the tomb and museum of Arafat in Ramallah. The Excellence Center included me and the other participants of the trip in their mutual activities, like the shared breakfast in the mornings and enabled us to spend time with the other volunteers and locals.

The highlight was the trip to Jericho and the dead sea. Floating in the dead sea is a unique experience that can't be compared to anything else. You have to experience it yourself! On this day we visited also a spring that was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. I could have spend the whole day there.

We could also learn a lot about the current living conditions and the circumstances of the conflict, that you can hardly overlook while in Palestine. We were invited to a refugee camp and to the Shuhada street in Hebron and got the chance to talk with people who suffer from abuse by settlers and the army on an almost daily basis. It was heart breaking!

Aside from these very sad problem areas, the general living conditions are good. Even the heat was not as bad as expected as the buildings are cool from the inside and it is usually possible to find places in the shade. As a respectful visitor you have to adapt your clothing and behavior to the local standards and will find yourself very welcome by the open minded Palestinian people.

Staying with a host family is the best way to immerse in the culture and learn about the daily life in this area. I felt very welcome, appreciated and taken care of. My host family even invited me to a family party which was a great experience that taught me a lot about the culture. I enjoyed it very much.

Security was never an issue! Even the controls through Israelis were fewer than expected and although still an unpleasant experience, nothing to be afraid of. In Hebron, I could pass freely although I was only very few times on my own. The Excellence Center staff, my host family and strangers were all very friendly and helpful. I made a lot of new friends and am really happy that I took the chance of this trip. It was an amazing experience that changed the way I see the world.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Julia,

Greetings to you from the EC's team. We are really happy to hear that you enjoyed the Trip to Palestine 2017. We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in Palestine in the near future

All the best in learning Arabic :)

With kind regards,

Default avatar
Saloua
Female
25 years old
France
DePaul University

Experience in Palestine

8/10

My name is Saloua, from France, I have a Master's degree in Human Resources. During my stay, I taught English in several places next to Hebron, often in pair with McKayla, an American volunteer. We went to different cities/villages such as: a center at Beit Omer, a school in Seir and at the Chamber of Commerce of al-Dahrya. We noticed that in the schools in which we taught, the students already had notions of English.
The staff from the center is very nice, for all of the courses inside the center like the summer camps, we had Palestinian assistants who were there to help us to translate the hard words which the students couldn’t understand. That was very helpful. The staff is also here to help you when you need some information about different topics. For example if you want to know how to go to a different city or if you want to buy something special, you can ask them. They will help you with pleasure.
The Center organizes some visits for the internationals. We had a schedule displayed in the kitchen of the center with all of the visits. For example, we went to a sandal and a Koffieh factory, to the old city of Hebron, in a camp… That was amazing to visit these places with the other volunteers.
During my stay, I had the chance to visit several important cities as Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus and Jerusalem. It’s really easy to travel inside the West-Bank, you just have to walk or go by taxi at the city center (taxi station), and then ask for the place you want to go. You can easily organize day-trips with other volunteers or members of staff.
Living with a host family is a good way to discover Palestinian culture. If you stay more than four weeks it can be good to change host family for having the chance to discover different ways of life.
Palestinian food is different from food we eat in France. Here they eat lot of chicken and rice, these are the principal food you will eat with your host family. I really loved the food here. The mothers of the host families take time to cook, so you will have the chance to eat several Palestinian dishes. You will see that people here are really welcoming, in addition of the host family you will be invited by others family to have dinner.
I volunteered in July and August, the weather was hot: from 28 to 33 Celsius degrees in Hebron in the afternoon. It’s easily bearable; you just have to bring adequate cloths.
To conclude about my volunteering, I am very happy to have travelled in Palestine

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Dear Saloua,

Greetings to you from Hebron, Palestine

Thank you so much for your great work during the last two months, we really enjoyed your stay at the Center and appreciate your efforts very much

We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in the near future at the Excellence Center

With kind regards from the EC's team

Default avatar
Irene
Female
21 years old
Spain
Other

Volunteer at Excellence Center Hebron

10/10

Would you like to volunteer in Palestine? Would you like to make an impact in the education of Palestinian children? The Excellence Center in Hebron is the place to be!
I have spent two months Teaching English and Learning Arabic in the Excellence Center, and it has been one of the best choices I have ever made. The working environment is really good, and the staff in the Center are nice and loving. I was teaching various groups of children at regular lessons, summer camps and villages near Hebron. Moreover, I also prepared workshops on academic writing, and gave private lessons on IELTS or conversational skills to University students. Apart from this unique experience of engaging with the Palestinian youth, I also learnt Arabic in the best imaginable atmosphere. I had three hours of Arabic lessons a week, and learnt how to read and write! I will definitely continue developing the skills that the Excellence Center gave me the opportunity to learn in the future!
My period in Hebron is filled with beautiful experiences and friendships, and it will always be in my memory and heart. If you are willing to volunteer or learn Arabic I highly recommend you to come to the Excellence Center in Hebron!

How can this program be improved?

Really, it is perfect!

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Salam Irene,

Thank you so much for everything. You did an amazing work at the Excellence Center this summer 2017. We really appreciate your efforts very much

Thank you again and we wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in Palestine in the near future

Greetings to you from the entire team

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valentina
Female
36 years old
Italy
Other

Volunteer at Excellence Center Hebron

8/10

My name is Valentina and I come from Italy. I have a degree in law and I participated in a voluntary programme with the Excellence Centre for 2 weeks. I was an assistant during English lessons for children and I underwent a few Arabic lessons with Teacher Dua’a. The environment in the centre is brilliant - the teachers are amazing and the students are both motivated and polite. My colleagues are really helpful and funny!

In Palestine I visited Bethlehem, and the old city in Hebron, which included visiting the Ibrahimi mosque. Whenever I visit these places alone, I felt safe and did not have any problems regarding the locals or the military presence. I can travel freely around these areas. I really love the hospitality of the Palestinian people because I have experienced help and offers everywhere and at anytime here in Palestine. Each in place that I visited, I found some people - children or adults, that offered services to be my guide around when I was visiting. After this short period, I will go back home with great lessons in humanity and how people living in such predicaments can still be hospitable and open to others. I will definitely recommend having an experience in Palestine with the Excellence Centre. Special thanks to my host family for such an amazing and homely experience staying here in Hebron - I sincerely felt like a daughter to the family!

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Valentina,

Greetings to you from the Excellence Center team in Palestine. Thank you so much for your great work at the center. We enjoyed your short stay very much.

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

With kind regard,s

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Niccolo

My experience with the EC

9/10

I am Niccolo’ Costantini and I study Modern Languages and Intercultural Mediation. I am about to finish my first degree and I am now writing my dissertation about Hebrew language and Education in Palestine.

I decided to travel to Palestine for two main reason: the first is personal, the second is academic.
I had visited Palestine before and worked with the Excellence Center. I found them to be very supportive and I had a great time: I met many people from all over the world with whom I am still in contact, not to mention the staff of the Center: when I came back, it seemed like not even a day had passed, and i found the warm and welcoming people that I left last year. I enjoyed this year more than last one as I have by myself, while a year ago I decided to travel with a friend from Italy. I have to admit that travelling by yourself is more productive from some point of view. For example, I was able to practise my Arabic much more as I was not tempted to stick with my friend and speak Italian, and I felt more free and more outgoing with the people.
The second reason is my research. I had to gather information about some issues such as the perception of the Hebrew language in Palestine, the administrative structure of schools and so on. The Center has been very supportive: I had to travel to several cities during my stay in Palestine in order to get the information I needed, and the directress, Marwa, never hesitated to grant me some more days off so that I could do what I had to do. I really appreciate that, and I will be forever thankful for that.

In addition to that, I think that i could spend a word on my stay in the Male Dorms. I found them much better than last year, and I got along with my flatmates. We established meaningful and - inshallah - long-lasting relations and we supported each other. I think that getting along with your flatmates can enhance your experience in Palestine a big deal: whenever I felt homesick or a bit sad they were always there to cheer me up. Once I caught a gastroenteritis which gave me a high fever, vomit and diarrhea. I was feeling very weak and lonely, but my friend volunteered to take me to the hospital and to call the Center for me. I am very grateful for that and I don’t know what I would have done if my flatmate had not been there.

In conclusion, not only did my second experience with the Center satisfy my expectation, it exceeded them. I would definitely recommend anyone to come to Palestine by themselves and let the warmness of al-Khalil take care of them.

How can this program be improved?

Provide better accommodation for boys

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Niccolo,

Greeitngs to you from Hebron. Thank you so much for your wonderful work. WE enjoyed your second stay very much and we appreciate your efforts a lot

We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in Hebron in the near future

We wish you also all the success in learning Arabic (You are a native speaker in Arabic)

With kind regards,
EC's Team

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McKayla
Female
21 years old
ohio
Bowling Green State University

My experience in the Excellence Center

10/10

My name is McKayla, from the United States and I am currently studying to obtain a bachelor’s degree in International Studies. At the Excellence Center in Hebron, I participated in the Teach English, Learn Arabic program. For the past two months, I have been teaching English in multiple villages around Hebron. Some of the villages included Se’ir, al-Zaharia, and Beit Umar. Each village and the students in them have been very welcoming and eager to learn. In addition to teaching, each week, I took Arabic courses at the Center with a native speaker. These lessons helped me to enhance my language skills immensely over the course of my time here in Hebron.

The atmosphere in the center is vivid and exciting. Each person’s personality is inviting and not once did I feel uncomfortable or worried about anyone in the center or even in the city. The volunteers who come to Hebron are also very interesting and eager to help in any way they can. Whether they were experienced in teaching or not, by the end of our time here, we had a better grasp on how to create lessons, conduct courses, and engage students in learning. In addition, teaching is a very rewarding experience that can not be compared.

The best part of my experience in Hebron was living with a host family. Everyday I came home to a loving family, a nice place to sleep, and delicious traditional Palestinian dishes. I have made connections with my host family that I wouldn’t trade for the world. They were always patient with me and encouraged me to be apart of their culture. They, along with the center, provided travel advice to each of the places that I traveled to in Palestine. Some of the places I visited were Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nablus. Each place was just as beautiful as the last. I had no problem navigating the city alone nor traveling with just one other woman. When we were lost people were so helpful in leading us to the right places and even put us on taxis and buses. As far as safety as is concerned, I feel safer in Palestine than in the U.S.

My favorite thing about Palestine is knowing that no matter where you are, you are welcomed and you are safe. If you ever needed anything people would be willing to offer you their last food, their house, or their time. I wish I could share with you my favorite experience, but my favorite things all include meeting new people, trying new foods and always feeling like I am welcomed. The weather is agreeable (in the shade), the food is exceptional, the people are more than happy to meet you and share their culture as well as learn about yours.

I have already been planning my trip back to Palestine (even with my mom). Therefore, this is an experience I highly recommend and I can promise you will be addicted and come back every year! So don’t hesitate to come to visit Palestine because you will not regret it!

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi McKayla,

Thank you so much for your great job. We really appreciate very much what you did at the center during the last 2 months. It was also great to have you at the center. We wish to meet you in the future

We wish you all success in learning Arabic as well

Greetings from Hebron, Palestine

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Giulia
Female
27 years old
Italia
Other

Volunteer Programe in Palestine - Hebron

10/10

My name is Giulia and I come from Italy. In April 2017 I completed my Master's Degree in International Relations and after few days from my graduation I decided to participate as a volunteer to the program offered by the Excellence Center in Palestine. This program consisted in teaching English to some students of the local youth; for example, I usually had lessons with children in the morning and private lessons with intermediate students in the afternoon. But I wasn't just a teacher: I was also an Arabic Student. The Excellence Center, gave me the opportunity to learn the local language and in just two weeks I was capable to write words and to have small conversations with people.

What about the Center? Well, I should say that the environment in which I volunteered was friendly and stress-free. All the people I met were so nice with me, both the volunteers and the staff of the Center, and we enjoyed a lot of time together, like having breakfast or lunch, organizing small parties etc. The students were just amazing! I felt their willingness to learn English every single lesson I had with them, and the atmosphere was always nice and friendly.

Beyond the teaching, the Excellence Center organized for me and the other volunteers some trips. We went to Ramallah, to Jericho and to the Dead Sea, but also we visited some sites in Hebron: the Kefiah and the ceramic factories, the sandals factory but also we went to Al Shuahada Street, and this was my hardest experience here in Hebron. I met a family that live there who told me about all the restrictions caused by the settlers, they explained how it is hard to live under occupation and without freedom, and to resist to all the injustices. I found their proof more than interesting, I found it important to me as a human being.

Concerning my stay in Hebron, I was hosted by a Palestinian family. I felt at home since the first day with them; they were polite, respectful, willing and so nice with me and we had a great time together. I can say the same about the Palestinian people I met! I felt to have a lot of things in common with them and their hospitality and honesty was just unbelievable. The food was really tasty, and believe me when I say that the Palestinians love to eat: you will eat a lot of traditional recipes and they will also be pleased to teach them to you! I need also to add the I never felt in danger here in Hebron, but also around Palestine. People are always kind and if they can they will always help you.

So, I just can say that staying here in Hebron for two weeks it's not enough. I fell in love with the people and with the city so I hope to come back as soon as possible and to have the opportunity of staying here longer. I recommend this experience to all the people that are interested in knowing and in understanding others culture, to people that believe in

the importance of cultural exchange, to people that know the importance of sharing(emotions, traditions, culture, capabilities etc.).

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Giulia,

Greetings to you from the entire team. Thank you so much for reviewing the Excellence Center volunteer program and for your great work at the center. We appreciate your efforts very much

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

With kind regards,

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Mariam
Female
23 years old
UK
University of Nottingham

Internship programme in Palestine

9/10

I live in the UK and just graduated from my law degree before coming to Palestine in the summer of 2017. I took part in the Internship Program in the Excellence Center for a month. I really enjoyed my time in Palestine and was able to meet a variety of lovely people, both Palestinian and international.

Programme
My programme was split into weeks of learning Arabic, learning about the politics, and teaching English. As I had studied Modern Standard Arabic in the past and briefly studied the Syrian dialect, I had a good foundation on which to begin my classes. I had an intensive first week of learning Arabic with three hours a day. I really enjoyed my classes as my teacher used a variety of activities to improve my Arabic and keep me engaged. My confidence in speaking has increased tremendously and I am now more willing to speak to others in Arabic.

The political week of the programme was very insightful. I visited the Hebron Governorate and spoke to the Director of Public Relations. I also went to the Palestinian Society Prisoners Club, the Old City and the closed Shuhada Street. I knew briefly about the history of Palestine before I came here, but was able to see first hand the effect of the past events on the Palestinians.
The final part of my programme was teaching English. I helped out in classes, worked with small groups of students, and prepared parts of a lesson with a partner. I was also in charge of teaching an IELTS student which, although at first was a bit daunting, after researching further into the examination and understanding the students level it was actually fun.

Outside of my programme, the centre also organised other trips around Hebron. This included a trip to the ceramics factory, the kufeyah factory, Ibrahimi Mosque and Maskobiyah Church.

Host family
I stayed with a host family consisting of a mother, father and seven year old son who were very welcoming. As Palestinian families usually live nearby extended family, you usually interact with a larger group of people on a daily basis. During my first week, I was visiting the extended family regularly, but less so afterwards. It was nice that I could visit them and have a cup of tea or play with the children. There were also times in the evening when the children would play on the roof whilst the adults were talking which I thoroughly enjoyed. On the down side, it was sometimes difficult to get alone time.

Hebron
Hebron is a city with all the amenities you would expect of one. Banks, shopping centres, supermarkets, convenience stores, cafes, and restaurants are all available. The one key difference is the transport system. I travelled around by taxi. There are mini buses along the main road, but depending on how far away you live from a main road it may be better to take a taxi and the taxi prices are clear and known by everyone. As I live quite a distance away from the main road, in the afternoons I would take a taxi back as it was mostly uphill and too hot to walk.

There are cash machines throughout the city. I withdrew from the Arab Bank in shekels, but other volunteers have had to use other cash machines and then exchange their currency.

The city is pretty safe and many people go out late into the night, especially due to the hot weather in the summer. I have been out after 10pm without any difficulty and its not unusual for shops to be open until late.

Travelling
Transportation around Palestine is informal, but relatively simple once you know where to get the mini buses. The bus to Jerusalem (Al-Quds) is not too far from the Excellence Center and takes you to the Old City. There are also servees (yellow mini-bus) from the bus station in Hebron. I travelled on my own to Jerusalem and was able to pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque by following those around me. I was lucky enough to meet a Palestinian in the mosque who was willing to go around the Old City with me.

I also went to the Dead Sea and Ramallah with internationals from the centre and went to Nablus on my own. On my journey from Ramallah to Nablus I met three sisters, one of whom was willing to go around the Old City in Nablus with me and later invited me to her home. Throughout my travels, everyone was very helpful and the sisters that took me around Nablus were the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Overall
I would recommend coming to Palestine for the cultural and learning experience. The Excellence Center provides various programmes to suit individual needs and provides support, especially in regards to finding a host family. One of my main goals was to improve my Arabic and I was incredibly satisfied with that aspect of the programme. It is also important to note that the quality of the experience really depends on how you utilise your free time as, depending on the programme you do, you may have flexible hours and/ or extra free time.

How can this program be improved?

More structure to the programme regarding the delineation between the separate weeks.
More Arabic lessons.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Salam Mariam,

Thank you so much for reviewing the internship in Palestine program. It was great to have you at the center this summer.

We will take your suggestion for improvement in our consideration. We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in Palestine in the near future

With kind regards,

Tataki
Female

Volunteering in Palestine: an opportunity to travel, learn Arabic and explore a different culture

7/10

I decided to participate in the Excellence center's program because I wanted to get to know Palestine, to study its language, to study its people, its history and to see for myself all those places I had heard so much about. Being here, I was given the chance to do all these and so much more.
My experience here has filled my memories with some very beautiful images; the woman in the taxi that offered me fries despite not knowing me, the guy who was willing to walk with me for two blocks just to make sure that I would not get lost due to my terrible Arabic, my host mother who introduces me as her daughter, the old man in the street who wanted to share with us his candies at 7 am, the late night talks with my host sister in a mix of body language and google translations and of course all those little efforts the people make to communicate with me in a language they do not master.

Palestine is an amazing place and its safe enough for foreigners. People here are very welcoming and I had great time here so I would definitely recommend participating in this program if you are interested in the region or if you are just looking for a fun and kind of productive way to spend your time.

How can this program be improved?

Some more organization could be helpful

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Tataki,

Greetings to you. Thank you so much for your great work at the center. We appreciate so very much

Thank you also for your suggestion, we will take it into consideration

We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in the near future in Hebron

With kind regards,

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Einar
Male
22 years old
Stockholm
Other

Great time with wonderful people

10/10

I really enjoyed my stay at the Excellence Center in Palestine. Hebron is a very lovely city though it has kind of a bad reputation in the West Bank, but I assure that what you read in the news isn't representative of the life here. People are very sweet and kind and I've made a lot of friends that I am going to miss a lot.

I feel like the teaching was very rewarding, and though I didn't have teaching experience from before I had a great deal of fun and learnt a lot. The Arabic classes were also really good, my teacher was Marwa and she's a really nice person and a good teacher. I also learnt a lot of Arabic just by chatting a lot with people at the center, they are all very kind and helpful.

Thanks to this program I've become even more motivated to learn Arabic fluently. Hopefully this goal will bring me back to Palestine sometime in the future!

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi our Swedish volunteer,

Thank you so much for your great work at the Excellence Center this summer we appreciate your great work very much. We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in Palestine in the near future.

Greetings from the entire team

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Casey
Male
23 years old
Anaheim, California
California State University- Fullerton

3 months in Palestine

10/10

When I decided to go to Palestine to volunteer and learn Arabic, many of relatives expressed genuine concerns for my safety and questioned whether or not my going was worth it. It was. Let me tell you we foreigners are far safer than any of the locals in these parts, a privilege that allowed me to travel and learn. A privilege I tried not to take for granted. The souls you will meet here are of phenomenal value and at least for me I have made life long friendships. Apart from the people and experiences, international presence we the volunteers bring are crucial for cities like Al Khalil and other cities in the West Bank. Not only do the Israeli's furthermore feel the eyes of the world are upon them, we bring the world to a people who by in large are forbidden from travelling. We give them the opportunity to meet foreigners and discover the world through our stories and both we and them break stereotypes while getting to know each other. The world needs eye witnesses of the occupation, our home countries need our tales of the West Bank in order to shatter stereotypes and bring awareness of the struggle here to the world. Personally I took a lot away from teaching my English classes, the young minds I encountered really opened my mind up to the reality that we are all the same and deserve the treatment and opportunities. At the Excellence center itself, we the volunteers were treated very well. Whenever we needed anything or had a question, we merely had to speak up and staff would be ready to handle our problems personally. Not only these, we make close friendships with the staff, almost always a particularly strong friendship with whomever our Arab instructor happens to be. My instructor was the implacable Mariam who fostered me from an obnoxious tourist to a pigeon Arab speaker who can chat with a taxi driver. Over the numerous classes I'd like to think we became friends. So if you're reading this, Hey Mariam!!

How can this program be improved?

It is perfect.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Casey,
Greetings from Hebron. Thank you so much for writing a review. We appreciate your great work very much. We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you again at the Excellence Center in the near future.

We wish you success in learning Arabic

With kind regards,

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Ben
Male
21 years old
England
Durham University

My Experience in Palestine

9/10

Hello, my name is Ben and I have spent the last month volunteering at the Excellence Centre. As an Englishman studying a degree Natural Sciences I arrived in the West Bank with a very limited understanding of Palestinian language and culture. Through teaching, studying and travelling, I felt far more aware by the time I left and have the intention to return in the future to learn more.

The Excellence Centre acted as the central hub throughout my stay. The centre organised various trips to local businesses and a refugee camp, provided meals every morning (and some evenings) for all the volunteers, and was where I spent the majority of my time teaching, or planning for, English lessons for various classes ranging in age and ability. I found the teaching surprisingly rewarding; I was given real responsibility teaching classes (I was teaching independently by the end of my stay) and the desire the pupils at the centre had to learn was humbling. With my more advanced classes, I had the opportunity to move away from teaching grammar and vocabulary and instead stimulate intercultural discussions which truly were some of the highlights of my stay.

The centre also provided my Arabic Tuition. My formal lessons were the perfect opportunity to ask any questions and go through some useful topics, however I found myself learning more outside my lessons through my peers, staff at the centre and though the Palestinian people. I was constantly stopped after classes, on the street and whilst travelling by Palestinians who would encourage me to use my arabic and correct my mistakes (often requiring a lot of mime!).

At different times in my trip I stayed with both a host family and with other volunteers in an apartment owned by the centre. I enjoyed both experiences greatly; having valuable time to relax in the evenings with other native speakers whilst in the apartment and engaging in another aspect of Palestinian culture spending evenings with my host family.

Many of my highlights of my stay came whilst travelling around the West Bank. The centre provided me 2 days of each week, and was very accommodating when I requested to have the same day off as some of other volunteers so we could travel together. During my stay I managed to visit Bethlehem, Jerusalem (twice), Nablus, Jericho, the Dead Sea and Ramallah, all for a reasonable price via public transport. I love to travel and one of my main worries when deciding to come to the centre was that I would get bored staying in the same place for a month - my days off meant this certainly wasn't the case! Importantly, I felt completely safe everywhere I visited and and all the volunteers planned their trips inclusive of anyone who wanted to come along so people were rarely traveling by themselves.

Of course, I would be lying if I said everything about my stay was positive (however the pros far outweighed the cons) . If you plan to travel in the summer, be prepared to be constantly sweaty (maybe i'm just used to the typical English weather) and enjoy a very limited diet predominantly of pitta and falafel. Although not a universally negative point, I find it important to note that you will find yourself with a fair amount of free time, so you need to be self disciplined to study, plan lessons or experiences for yourself and not expect the centre to keep you completely occupied.

In summary, I found my stay in Palestine with the Excellence Centre truly rewarding on many levels, most significantly through teaching and providing a location to get to know a huge range of people from the West Bank and across the world. I would wholeheartedly recommend the experience to anyone with a curiously about Palestinian culture and language, no matter their teaching experience or Arabic ability.

How can this program be improved?

Of course, I would be lying if I said everything about my stay was positive (however the pros far outweighed the cons) . If you plan to travel in the summer, be prepared to be constantly sweaty (maybe i'm just used to the typical English weather) and enjoy a very limited diet predominantly of pitta and falafel. Although not a universally negative point, I find it important to note that you will find yourself with a fair amount of free time, so you need to be self disciplined to study, plan lessons or experiences for yourself and not expect the centre to keep you completely occupied.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Ben,

Thank you so much Ben for your great work at the Center. We wish to meet you soon in Palestine

We wish you all the best

With kind regards,

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Benjamin
Male
29 years old
United States
Columbia University

2 Months in Hebron

10/10

Teaching for the Center was a very rewarding experience. The classes and workshops that the Excellence Center offers provide many opportunities for the different volunteers to use their particular teaching styles. I was fortunate enough to participate in a variety of classes at the center. I provided assistance to the Beginner English Classes on numerous occasions, taught Intermediate English II, gave independent lessons, and led several workshops. All of the different opportunities to teach were a pleasure to be apart of and was truly the best part of my entire time in Palestine.

The staff and teachers at the Excellence Center are awesome people. They do a great job of bringing international volunteers into the center family. The center's management, English teachers, and Arabic teachers have such a great working relationship with each other that was a lot of fun to be apart of. Some of the best times I had in Hebron were the evenings we would be at the center after hours drinking tea, smoking hookah, and hanging out with the staff.

How can this program be improved?

Their could be a little more contact with the center for volunteers while they are traveling to Hebron. The article about getting there isn't the best, and some volunteers end up paying too much for the cab/bus ride on the initial journey only to show up and have to scramble to get ahold of the center upon arrival.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Benjamin,

It was a great plesure to have you in Palestine this summer. Thank you so much for you great work and kindness. We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in the future in Palestine

With kind regards,

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Marta
Female
21 years old
Denmark
Other

My Palestinian Adventure

9/10

My name is Marta and I‘m twenty-one years old, coming from medium-sized town in the south of Poland. For two years now, I have been living in Denmark, where I study European Studies – a mix of politics, cultural and business studies. I came to Hebron to volunteer as an English teacher, as well as to pick up some Arabic.
During my time in the Center, I was assigned to do many different kinds of activities. I taught English, my students were both kids and grown-ups on various levels, although most of them were beginners or starters. I found teaching, quite unexpectedly, to be extremely rewarding and fun. Certainly, it wasn’t always easy and preparation took quite some time and creativity, but seeing students finally learn or understand something was worth all of the effort. I was also a student myself, learning Arabic. I had lessons twice a week with one more person in class; I learnt very very basic Arabic, especially the alphabet and numbers, but also few forms of communicating. The teacher was great, always eager to answer my questions or repeat if something wasn’t clear – my adventure with Arabic definitely doesn’t end here!
Atmosphere in the Center is great: everybody is extremely helpful and positive, both staff and international people. It’s always full with volunteers and students – that makes the time pass extremely fast. Everyday breakfasts and from time to time, dinners, for all the internationals was a great opportunity to get to know each other better. Generally, volunteers are amazing people, and that was the case this time as well. In our free time we would go out together or go for trips, which was always a lot of fun; I’m really grateful for the opportunity to meet them. Some of the trips were organized by the Center (such as Camel Sandals factory, visit in Doura or walk in the Old Town – that last one was definitely my favorite). I have also seen Ramallah, Betlehem and Jerusalem, as well as the Dead Sea – some of the trips I took with other volunteers and the rest with my host family.
Speaking of my host family, I don’t think I could be luckier: they made me feel at home almost instantly and I felt just like another daughter. They cooked for me delicious Palestinian food, introduced me to whole family and took me on trips; I even attended a wedding – that was definitely my favorite experience here. Seeing all the women from the family looking so elegant and glamorous, dancing beautifully to celebrate one of them getting married was magical. There was also a lot of candy and cake and overall whole experience was amazing. Hebron is a buzzing city, with a lot of people, cars and shops, with a lot to offer – from parks to shopping places to cafes; I’m sure everybody will find something interesting. I felt safe during my whole stay, even though it was a time of incident with Al-Aqsa mosque and therefore there was more tension. Personally, I didn’t experience anything negative and the only scary thing were soldiers with big guns sometimes visible on the streets. It was more of a shock than actual fear – in Denmark, where I live, guns are not an ordinary view.
Palestine amazed me the very first day I came. Everybody I met, whether on the streets trying to find my way, among Center’s stuff and finally, my host family, was extremely welcoming and kind. I think the people are my absolutely favorite thing about Palestine. They create the atmosphere one cannot not fall in love with, instantly make you feel at home and do everything possible to make your stay memorable. Last but not least, their kindness is 100% selfless – and it can be felt. I know that impression will stay with me for a long time and I’m already planning to come back in the near future, I still have much more yet to experience and explore.
Overall, I can definitely recommend volunteering with Excellence Center. My experience was very positive, I learnt a lot and had many opportunities to get to know Palestinian culture first-handed. I cannot wait to come back!

How can this program be improved?

I would add couple of more Arabic classes a week if possible. Also, I would appreciate to get the details about my host family a little earlier, so I could get in touch with them, it's always nice to at least have an idea about people you're about to live with.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Marta,

Thank you so much for your great voluntary work at the Center. 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

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Szymon
Male
18 years old
Poland
Other

Experience as a volunteer in Palestine

9/10

Hello, my name is Szymon and I come from Poland from Warsaw where I attend high school.As a volunteer I participated in 'volunteer and study arabic in Palestine' programme. Here you can receive many various task that are about teaching english, from standard lessons in the excellence center to summer camp and many more. My task was to teach small children in kindergarden and also the older ones in training center in local village called taffouh. At the beginning in the kindergarden I was a little overwhelmed by the kids being excited from our presence and it was hard to gather them in one group, but after a very short period we managed to encourage all of the kids to listen and had a lot of fun together while teaching english. The kids were very welcoming, they waved at us when we first arrived and they have greet us with incredible warmth. The older students from training center were also friendly and open-minded if it comes to learning english. Not everything was easy for them but most importantly they wanted to learn and remembered the topic from last lesson and for most of the time they didn't talk with each other so it was much easier for us to proceed with the subject.Volunteering in this programme includes 3 hours of arabic lesson per week. Classes are usually organized individualy or in two. With my only very basic understanding of arabic at my arrival it was very hard for me to communicate with local population, however arabic lessons with my teacher gave me the idea of basic communication in local Palestinian street dialect. Foundations in arabic are not really hard to understand and if you learn it with a teacher you will catch it very fast for sure!
Also, staying with the family in the city of Hebron was an incredible experience. We lived in the outskirts of the town in the neighbourhood called Wadi-Al-Karm. It was amazing to eat with locals, sleep in their house and live their everyday lives.
We were often taken to the parties or just acquainted with their friends. As an international you will probably receive a lot of invitations for dinner or parties even from random strangers. The city itself has much to offer, from decent palestinian restaurants, to snooker, gaming and coffee places and many tourist atractions, which can be mostly found in the old city. It is very easy to travel to many other places in Palestine, there is a big bus station near the city center that can take you almost anywhere! Don't forget that historically Palestine is the center for three large religions. Places like Jericho, Betlehem or Ramallah have much to offer.If it comes to security than I doubt if there is anything to worry about, people here have huge respect for private property so the likelihood of theft is almost 0% here. The street violence also doesn't exist among Palestinians. Saying it shortly, It is an amazing experience to share your knowledge with local people and get a lot of gratitude for this, traveling around the country is very easy and it feels like a adventure of a lifetime. It is a place for people at any age that rejoice with working with kids and teens!

How can this program be improved?

Extend volunteer options from learning english and studying arabic and writing about Palestine to something more

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi our Young Volunteer Szymon,

Thank you so much for your great work. 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

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Matthew
Male
20 years old
USA
Indiana University- Bloomington

Great 2-month experience

10/10

My name is Matthew and I am from the USA, where I study music and theatre at Indiana University. I have spent the last two months doing the Teach English Speak Arabic, or TESA, program at the Excellence Center in Palestine.

As part of this program, I taught English, took Arabic lessons, and wrote articles. My main teaching duties were in Kharas, a nearby village, where two other interns and I taught two five-week courses to students aged eight to eighteen.

I came here knowing almost no Arabic. My Arabic lessons here were fast-paced and informative. I started out in lessons with one other student, then had one-on-one lessons later. Arabic is a difficult language that will probably take me years to learn, but this summer got me off to a running start.

The Excellence Center is a wonderful environment to work in. The staff are friendly and helpful. Working at the Excellence Center provides the opportunity to get to know not only Palestinians, but internationals from all over the world. After my time at the Excellence Center, I have friends in Sweden, the UK, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Greece, Italy, Canada, and South Africa.

The Excellence Center provides free tours for internationals a few times per week. During my time here, I have visited a leather factory, a glass and ceramics factory, a keffiyeh factory, Ibrahim’s Oak, a nearby refugee camp, Hebron’s Old City, the Ibrahimi Mosque, and al-Shuhada Street.

On Fridays and other days off, there is plenty of time to make trips around Palestine, which internationals sometimes organize in groups. I have visited Jerusalem several times, and all of the major cities in the West Bank at least once: Bethlehem, Jericho, Ramallah, and Nablus. I have also crossed the Green Line and visited Nazareth. Before coming to Hebron, I spent time in Haifa, Akko, and Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

I lived in an apartment with other male internationals, rather than with a host family. However, Hebron is a large and friendly city with endless opportunities to interact with locals. Palestinians are extraordinarily eager to make friends, especially with foreigners, so I experienced plenty of cultural immersion.

I did not feel scared or unsafe during my stay here. Hebron is not usually a violent place, and crime is not prevalent. Near the end of my stay here, there were some demonstrations by young men and boys over Israeli restrictions and alterations on the al-Aqsa Mosque. Demonstrations typically result in clashes with the Israeli army involving tear gas, stun grenades, and sometimes bullets (usually rubber or rubber-coated). While Palestinian demonstrators get injured and sometimes even die in these clashes, you as an international will definitely be safe as long as you don’t put yourself in the middle of these. They most often occur on Friday afternoons and evenings within half a kilometer of the Old City. They did not make me fear for my safety and you can usually tell ahead of time when they will occur if you follow the news.

My favorite aspect of my time in Palestine was the people I met here; both the internationals working at the Excellence Center and the Palestinians I got to know. It has also been extremely rewarding to work with my students in Kharas over the past five weeks, befriending them and watching them make progress.

One of the most interesting experiences I have had in Palestine was touring Ibrahimi Mosque, the Old City, and al-Shuhada Street, which is in H2, the part of Hebron controlled fully by the Isreali army rather than the Palestinian Authority. The Excellence Center hires tour guides who can give you information about Hebron and their firsthand experience. It was sad to see how part of Hebron has been turned into a ghost town where the Palestinian residents live under constant harassment from settlers and soldiers, as well as the threat of having their homes stolen. Nevertheless, it was an amazing experience to visit this area.

I loved my time in Palestine and I absolutely want to come back. Palestine is a fascinating country with an extremely kind people. The TESA program at the Excellence Center was the perfect way to spend my time here. I now have a foundation on which to build my Arabic skills, as well as the confidence that I am able to teach English. I would certainly recommend the Excellence Center to anyone interested in coming to Palestine, studying Arabic, teaching English, or even just having a unique cultural experience.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Matthew,

Thank you so much for your great work during the two months in Palestine. We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in the future

Greetings from Palestine

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Oliver
Male
England
University of Birmingham

My Experience in Palestine

8/10

My name is Olly and I am from the United Kingdom. I am currently studying Economics at the University of Birmingham and I participated in the volunteer in Palestine program. During my month here, I have taught all levels from starter up to intermediate, which has been nice as each level has its own pros and cons, so a mix keeps you both enthusiastic and challenged. I have also been teaching in Dura, a suburb of Hebron as part of an outreach program there. My work in Dura has added a different dimension to my time here, and I think has made it more varied and enjoyable.
The Arabic lessons I have received from the centre have been very good, as I had no prior experience before coming here, and now have basic conversational skills and some varied vocabulary. My teacher was great and very kind, although I think a more intensive course would only have positively influenced the experience. It is easy to pick up and practice your Arabic whilst here, as most locals don’t speak English, so there are ample opportunities to improve.
The centre itself is great, the staff and volunteers are by far the best aspect, with them always been incredibly friendly and welcoming. The students were also all fairly keen to learn, and though you don’t stay with all the same classes throughout, the students were a joy to teach and develop friendships with. The breakfast offered was a great opportunity to chat with the other volunteers, and the only thing I can say the centre is lacking is a few more computers, as I often found myself fighting to get control of one to write articles or prepare lessons etc. This could also be remedied by expecting all volunteers to bring laptops and having a more accessible printing system for lesson materials.
Whilst in Palestine, I made an effort to go and see as many other cities as possible, and to make the most of my time here, as who knows when I’ll be back. Therefore, I visited Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Ramallah, Nablus, Jericho and Jerusalem. Each of these had its own amazing sights to see, with my favourite probably being Ramallah, as i simply just liked the vibe of the place and architecture. There were a few places I would have liked to have visited that I didn’t get to see, such as Herodyon and Haifa, but given the time I had, I feel that I saw all I could. One thing I would say, is that before coming I was told that $50-$100 is sufficient weekly, and that is probably true for Hebron, but if you go on further trips to Nablus, Ramallah, Haifa the costs start to add up with hostels and such. Thus, if you want to make the most of your time here be prepared to spend a little more, although Palestine is still very cheap in comparison to most other places I’ve visited.
Living with a host family, i think, definitely improved my experience and helped for me to settle in and see a different side of the city. Equally, having other volunteers living with us also helped me to settle in, so I believe I had the best of both worlds. The Palestinian people are all very friendly and welcoming to us as foreigners, and really keen to get to know you and show you around.
People in England have a certain perception of Palestine, based on its portrayal in the media, and its been great to come and see what its really like. Now at the end of my time here I feel very safe here in Hebron, and returning from trips feels likes returning home. Often you will forget the bigger picture and just get swept up in the day to day, before something reminds you of the occupation. It is more noticeable when on trips, as you see the checkpoints, soldiers and walls. However, I’d say I feel as safe here as I do in England.
In summary, Palestine has provided me with experiences which I will never forget and has helped me to develop as a person while having fun doing it. The staff and the kids at the centre are great, the other volunteers are fun and the Palestinian people are warm and inviting. Any complaints I’ve made are but nitpicks suggesting room for improvement, and what matters most is that you have a good time and feel like you’ve made a difference. Which I can say that I have.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Olly,

Thank you for posting a review and for your great work at the Center. We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you soon in Palestine

Greetings from Palestine

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Nick

Excellence Center Review by Nick

10/10

My name is Nick Hainsworth from the United States. Currently, I am studying for my bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies/Arabic at Brigham Young University in Utah. For the past 5 weeks, I have been living in Hebron, Palestine, teaching English at the Excellence Center. This teaching has been challenging, diverse, and rewarding. In addition to the amazing opportunity to connect with Palestinians through teaching, I was also able to participate in the Center’s excursion programs and Arabic classes.
My primary activities at the Excellence Center consisted of teaching English in various capacities. For several weeks, another volunteer and I taught an English class at a summer camp a couple times a week. I was also asked to teach English privately at the Center to a local girl named Mira. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I had to connect with and teach Mira. Not only was it a chance to stretch myself in terms of teaching, but I learned so much about Palestinian life from these lessons. The Excellence Center also provided two Arabic classes for me a week. For me, these lessons were invaluable. So much of the time was focused on teaching English, it was refreshing to have time during the week to solely focus on learning Arabic. An addition to the lessons, it was always fun to practice my Arabic with locals in taxis or grocery stores. Even without an immense effort, being saturated in the language helped to improve my Arabic skills.
A special part of the experience here that made it so enjoyable was the outstanding people I got to spend it with. The other volunteers were fun and provided opportunity to meet and befriend people from other nationalities. The Excellence Center became close friends and near to my heart. It was apparent they cared about us and our wellbeing here in Palestine. They accompanied us on all our excursions to historic and cultural sites in Hebron, including places like the Abraham mosque, Old City, local factories, a nearby refugee camp, and an Orthodox church. In addition to these local sites, we were given two days off a week to explore other places in Palestine. I would highly suggest to any future volunteer to take full advantage of these days off. I was able to travel all over Palestine, seeing sites and meeting people in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho, and Jerusalem.
There is plenty of media in the western world that paints Palestine as this constant war zone and an incredibly dangerous place to live. To be fair, this place is different than the western world and there is a conflict. I got a real sense of that while living here. That being said, I never once felt threatened while getting around Hebron. There might be some taxi drivers who try to rip you off, but that’s about it. By the end of my time, I felt completely comfortable walking around. So many people on the street would say, “Welcome, where are you from? Welcome to Palestine, welcome to our city.” This is pretty telling of the hospitality of the people here. That will probably stay in my memory as the what I liked most about Palestine.
It’s still a little hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I could come to the West Bank, Hebron of all places, and live for a short amount of time. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for the chance to live here, meet amazing people, and give back in some small way. I loved the Excellence Center and the chance to teach English. The staff and students I met will always hold a place in my heart. I’ve had too many fantastic experiences to pick one that encompasses all that I’ve learned and experienced. However, the sum of these experiences has left a lasting impression on me. Living here has been life changing. I will never forget this country, its people, its culture, and the change all these things had on me. Thank you, Excellence Center, and thank you, Palestine.

How can this program be improved?

The teaching experience could be slightly better organized with more time for preparation, but this wasn't the hardest thing in the world to work with.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Nick,

Greetings from Palestine. Thank you for your great work. We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you in the future at the Center

With kind regards,

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Emil
Male
25 years old
Sweden
Other

My experience in Palestine

10/10

My name is Emil and I’m a 25 years old guy from Sweden. I came to Hebron, eager to learn about the Arabic culture and language, without any former experience of it. The five weeks I’ve spent here have been amazing in many ways. The working environment at the center is great and we (staff and volunteers) have become a family and to teach English to the students is so rewarding. The three hours of Arabic lessons I had every week were really good and made me able to understand, at least some, conversations in Arabic. And that is useful, because a lot of Palestinians on the streets are interested in western people and want to talk for a while.

There’s also a lot of time to visit different cultural and religious sites. Besides the tours the Excellence Center offer in Hebron, including local factories, the old city and meetings with Palestinian families, volunteers have two days off every week, making it possible to travel around the West Bank. I have visited Bethlehem, Jericho, Jerusalem, Ramallah, the Dead Sea and the mountains outside Hebron during my time here. These places have so much history and are important to all three Abrahamic religions, which makes it possible to experience so many different things when living on the West Bank.

I had the opportunity to stay with a Palestinian guy, together with four other volunteers. It was very fun and gave me a good understanding about the daily life of Palestinians. We spent a lot of time with him and his family and they taught us a lot about the issues many Palestinians face on a daily basis. Staying with a host also gave us the opportunity to taste some of Palestine´s cuisine. Which is delicious!

When I first came here I was worried about the safety in the West Bank. But I haven’t felt unsafe even once. I also thought five weeks were a lot of time, but the time has flown by so fast and it’s with mixed feelings I leave Hebron, Palestine. I’m glad for all the new Palestinian and international friends I’ve made, the teaching at the center, the places I’ve seen and everything I’ve learnt about the culture here, but it feels a bit sad to leave what has become my second home.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Emil,

Greetings to you from Palestine

Thank you so much, Emil, for everything. We wish you all the best and we hope to have you again at the Excellence Center in Hebron

With kind regards,

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Jamie
Female
28 years old
Hebron, Palestine
Other

Wonderful Time in Hebron

10/10

As my time in Hebron comes to an end, I am happy to say that I have had nothing but wonderful experiences throughout the past month. I arrived in the middle of Ramadan, and therefore had many opportunities to experience local culture during the Holy month. This included many iftars and many family visits. I felt very welcomed by my host family and accompanied them on visits to extended family members’ houses and even a wedding!
There were many opportunities to speak with locals from all different backgrounds. I had many interesting conversations that you couldn’t have in a classroom, including about the history of the area, the ongoing conflict, and how Hebron has progressed as a city in recent times. Hearing the opinions and point of views of different people in this setting was extremely interesting, and it will continue to fascinate me.
After the parties of Eid were over, there was more to see and do. I spent the long weekend travelling into the north of Israel with a few other teachers from the Center. We rented a car and drove to Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Tiberias. One day, we went hiking and river rafting in the Golan Heights. It was a very easy drive – only a few hours by highway – and therefore we had a lot of time to explore the surrounding countryside.
After arriving back in Hebron, there were a few more classes and the last few nights with my host family. I have spent most of my time at the Center teaching Workshops instead of the regular classes, which I very much enjoy. The workshops are for more advanced students and cover topics such as CV preparation, creative writing, and interview practice. The students are very open and eager to learn, and their motivation makes teaching these classes so rewarding. A lot of the students are eager to speak with you after class, to ask where you are from and what you study. I have even been invited to the homes of some of my students to meet their families.
I will be very sad to leave my host family when that day finally arrives. They have made me feel so at home and I feel like after nearly a month I have truly become part of the family. My host mom has taught me how to cook some Palestinian dishes, and we spend every night sitting and talking (and practicing Arabic). I have enjoyed my time in Hebron so much. I will always remember my time at the Center and I hope to come back the next chance I get.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Jamie,

Thank you so much for your great work the center during the month in this summer

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

Greetings from Hebron

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Tanya
Female
39 years old
Germany
School of Oriental and African Studies

The over-all best way to learn Arabic!

10/10

I joined the Excellence Center three months ago as a volunteer and I could not be happier with my experience here in Hebron, Palestine. I had searched online for a program that would afford me total immersion in the Arabic-speaking community. As soon as I came across the website of the Excellence Center, I knew I had found the right place for me. Once I arrived in Hebron, I was placed in a host family. Living with a Palestinian family was truly special and an experience I will never forget. I was welcomed with open arms and treated like a member of the family from day one. I was always included in every family occasion, including seven wedding-related events, which truly gave me a unique look into everyday Palestinian life and culture. We always enjoyed meals together (my host mother is an exquisite and passionate cook!) and I feel I have tasted almost every Palestinian dish. Most importantly, I was able to have Arabic around me at all times which helped me tremendously in my quest to learn the language. It has all been a truly heart-warming experience and I know my host family and I will be friends for life.

Teaching Palestinians English was incredible as well. Prior to the Center, I did not have any teaching experience but I realized straight away that the wonderfully supportive staff at the Center led by the director Marwa was always there to answer questions and help guide me when help was needed. My students were very eager to learn and speak English. I taught different levels and always tried to stay loyal the main goal of the Center, which is to have the students speak as much as possible and for us to create classes that are fun and motivating for the students. Volunteers are asked to be as creative as possible and this freedom in teaching makes the work here in Hebron especially fun and rewarding for us.

I have dreamed about learning the Arabic language for many years. Having completed a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies ten years ago, I had already attempted to learn Arabic once before but sadly did not continue. I always regretted this. So I finally decided to go to the Middle East this year and signed up for the volunteer program at the Excellence Center, which includes 3 hours of private Arabic lessons each week. I could not have made a better decision. On my first day I met my teacher Shayma and we started the most amazing language journey! She is the most talented, charming and motivating teacher and every day with her has been pure joy. I was so excited about my progress after eight weeks that I decided to pursue the intensive course for another month. I could not speak any Arabic at all prior to my stay here in Hebron and can now hold a basic conversation in Arabic as well as read and write. This development feels incredible and it is all thanks to Shayma's positive energy and teaching methods, which make class fun and filled with laughter. If you do your share and study daily on your own, you can really benefit from everything the Center offers. The staff is just amazing. Especially the director of the Center, Marwa, is always concerned in making your stay as perfect as possible. Her support made me feel so welcome at all times and well-taken care of. The Excellence Center has a beautiful soul and I will never forget how well I was treated in Palestine.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Tanya,

Thank you so much for your great efforts at the Center. You were a very good teacher and Arabic student. We wish you all the best in learning Arabic and we hope to meet you soon at the Excellence Center

With kind regards,

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Eleanor
Female
29 years old
London, United Kingdom
Goldsmiths- University of London

My time at The Excellence Center: A summary

9/10

Marhaba! My name is Eleanor. I’m 28 years old, was born in Australia and grew up in Oxford, United Kingdom. I have been living in London for the past five years. My undergraduate degree was in Social Anthropology and History of Art/Archaeology from SOAS, University of London; I’m currently completing a masters degree in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths, University of London. For the month of June 2017, I volunteered at The Excellence Centre in Hebron, Palestine.
I also participated at The Excellence Centre last year in 2016, with the ‘Teach English, Learn Arabic’ program. This experience improved my teaching skills, providing a variety of teaching experiences, such as the opportunity to teach children, teenagers and adults. Though I had taken some beginners Arabic classes before, both experiences of living in Hebron and volunteering at the centre improved my Arabic a great deal. This year, I was signed up as a volunteer, allowing me the freedom to create my own lessons.
From the 11th to the 14th of July 2017, creative writing workshops in English were coordinated for intermediate level students at The Excellence Centre. These were organised and filmed as part of my dissertation project for an MA in Visual Anthropology. The focus was linguistic exchange, and the project was designed to watch and encourage students to express themselves in English, in a manner with which they were perhaps not used to being taught. The workshops were split into four lessons, subsequently with four primary focuses: Introduction to creative writing, Form and Rhythm, Similes, Metaphors and Descriptions and finally: Performance. The final workshop was designed to mimic an open mic or spoken word night such as that are common in the United Kingdom and United States. Overall, the project was successful with good feedback.
My Arabic lessons on both occasions both helped to me to improve my proficiency in Arabic, but perhaps the most rewarding experience in improving my knowledge of the language has been staying with a host family. I stayed with the same host family on each visit to Palestine: they are kind and welcoming, have helped me with my homework and have taught me new words. Palestinian people are very welcoming, and if you have the opportunity to stay with a host family here then it will certainly be a rewarding experience. It enlightens the visitor to the culture, and provides a comforting safety network whilst in Palestine. I have remained in touch with my own host family, and they are very dear to me. Due to their welcoming nature, I have felt very safe in Palestine.
The centre’s environment is also welcoming, in which there’s the potential to meet new people every week from around the world. Teachers and volunteers cooperate together to plan their lessons, and help each other with their Arabic study. There’s a communal kitchen in which people have their morning tea. There are site visits, and during my time at The Excellence Centre in 2017 I have visited a local glass and ceramic factory.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Eleanor,

Thank you so much for your great work at the Center. We enjoyed your 2nd visit very much

We wish you all the best and we hope to meet you for the 3rd time at the Center

Greetings from Hebron, Palestine

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Emma
Female
20 years old
London
Other

Excellence Center Review

8/10

There is nothing quite like volunteering in the West Bank during Ramadan - I would definitely recommend the Excellence Center as a way to do this. The staff are friendly and helpful, the center is really well located and the students are generally engaged and eager to learn. Hebron is an interesting city to explore, and it is easy to travel around the rest of the country and explore. If you want to teach English and also learn Palestinian Arabic from a fantastic teacher, this is the place to do it. One thing I would recommend for potential volunteers is to adapt to the Palestinian pace of life - things don't always get organised as promptly as they might do at home. But as soon as you get used to this, you are bound to have a great time.

How can this program be improved?

It would maybe be helpful to have slightly more organisation regarding class times - sometimes things would be delayed or cancelled at short notice, or hindered by a lack of resources. However, this can at least partly be attributed to Ramadan, which definitely affected student attendance, as well as the process of moving to the new center.

Response from The Excellence Center in Palestine

Hi Emma,

Thank you so much for your great work at the Center this summer. We appreciate your efforts very much

We wish you all the best in learning Arabic and we hope t have you again at the Center

Greetings from Palestine

About The Provider

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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 the supervision of

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