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),