Volunteer and Learn Arabic In Palestine

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About

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.

Questions & Answers

I don't know for certain what the age limits are, but when I was there I met people from their early twenties to seventies. You don't need to have teaching experience as far as I know. They seem very willing to work with whatever level of experience you have. It is helpful to know some Arabic before you go. I didn't know any and it was difficult at times, especially with my host family, but not...
Hi, thanks for reaching out! We don't have the details on our site for classes. To learn more we recommend contacting the program provider directly to learn more! This helpful link will take you right to their contact info: http://excellencenter.org/contact-us/ .
Hi, great question! The monthly fee to participate in the program is $695 (U.S.$). Anything extra you save can go to personal spending and exploring the area! For an estimate of how much you should bring for personal spending we recommend contacting the program provider more details, which you can do here: http://excellencenter.org/volunteer-in-palestine-2/ .
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.

Reviews

92%
based on 112 reviews
  • Impact 8.8
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 8.6
  • Value 8.9
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 16 - 30 of 112
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David
9/10

My experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron

I have always enjoyed visiting 'difficult' areas so that I can see for myself what's going on. Volunteering in these areas is even better, where not only can you speak to people directly but you can give some useful help.

The opportunity at the Excellence Center provided all of this. Colleagues, now friends, and I were able to help young Palestinian people (and American/Canadian volunteer friends!) with English, which not only helps them access a much wider range of education and entertainment opportunities, but enables a sort of peaceful resistance through education. I learnt a lot about their culture too, which after understanding a few etiquette barriers, is not that much different to the UK. I picked up a little Arabic too but I only had a week here so not as much as I wanted.

I have met some lovely people and seen their difficulties and humour first-hand. I have also visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and eaten a lot of chicken and rice...

It's been a great experience and I very much want to return. I thoroughly recommend this.

How can this program be improved?
Some better organisation, I thought some free time could have been used better. Though the general rule is that "everything happens, but not when you are told it will!"
Yes, I recommend this program
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Patrick
9/10

A stint at the Excellence Centre

Volunteering at the Excellence Centre provides one with invaluable experiences, from meeting local people to making use of one's skills to impact the local community. My stay here was brief and so it is difficult to comment on the overall impact. My only quibble would be that it would help volunteers if a schedule were given to them soon after they arrive (perhaps they could be given some indication of what their work will entail). That said, I have conducted a teacher-training session, sung action songs with children from a village nearby, had Arabic language lessons, team-taught a class of intermediate students, etc., so only as small quibble in the great scheme of things. Volunteering here will allow one to have many learning experiences and opportunities for personal growth. The highlight of my stay here was meeting and chatting to local people - every day brings a surprise :)

How can this program be improved?
Please see above
Yes, I recommend this program
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Steve
10/10

Volunteer at the Excellence Center

I have been with The Excellence Center here in Hebron, Palestine for the month of June 2018 and I am so happy I chose this organisation to come with. It offers a great balance of learning, contributing and enjoying yourself. I have been helping to run classes mainly in basic English but also games and activities with the children and even things like helping university students with their CV's. But you also get time off and you're going on trips and doing all sorts of other things as well.

Something important that I would mention is that I have been to over 20 countries and Palestine is probably the safest (for tourists). The people here are so friendly, kind, welcoming and hospitable, it had been a fantastic experience.

I would encourage anybody and everybody who is thinking about coming to book with the Excellence Center now.

:-)

How can this program be improved?
Flexibility is good but more organised schedules and timetables provided ahead of time would be ideal.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Luke
9/10

Luke Oades’ Review

I spent 2 weeks volunteering in Hebron in March at very short notice (I was already in Palestine at the time), with Rafat and all the staff being extremely accommodating and welcoming of me in every possible way. The volunteering schedules allowed for very worthwhile work whilst also ensuring enough free time to explore Hebron. The other volunteers were always both amazingly friendly and very interesting, and the house I shared with the other male volunteers was lovely and very well-located.

It was a truly eye-opening experience in so many ways, and all of the trips that Excellence Center organised (such as to the keffiyeh factory, al-Ibrahimi mosque and the ceramics factory) enabled me to explore parts of Palestinian society that I otherwise may never have considered. The locals were often just as welcoming as those involved with the Center, and I spent many fun evenings outside of the Center with some of the students that I had been working with.

There were periods when there were tensions in the Old City of Hebron due to escalations between Israel and Gaza, but nonetheless any violence is generally very localised and possible to avoid if you so wish. All in all, I had the most fantastic time imaginable and I’m extremely thankful to Osama, Rafat, Ahlam and all the wonderful staff, volunteers and others that made this such a fascinating trip. Thanks a lot!

How can this program be improved?
I think that forming greater links between volunteers and other charitable organisations working in Hebron could allow for those with free time to help out even more on the side if they would like to.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Matt
9/10

Volunteer at the Excellence Center

My name is Matt. I’m from Utah, USA and I’m studying Information Systems at Brigham Young University. I had a wonderful experience at the Excellence Center in Hebron. I did the month-long internship program here at the Center. It was incredible. I didn’t know any Arabic at all when I came, but the instruction was really helpful and I was able to hold a conversation by the end of my time here. The staff do a great job creating a friendly and comfortable environment. They were very accommodating with our schedule, allowing us to explore the things we wanted to while still giving us responsibilities and opportunities to serve. They’ve become my good friends and I’m sure we’ll stay in contact. I got to go see Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, and even took time to go to Petra, Jordan. Almost everyone is really friendly here and wants to help you feel welcome. I felt safe throughout my time here and I’ve so much enjoyed seeing daily life here. The Palestinians are a happy people, even in the face of many difficulties. My favorite experience here was getting chased by on ostrich in the town of Kharas. True story! Palestine has left a lasting impression on me of really good people and a vibrant lifestyle. I’m so glad I came and would recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Mie Vibeke
9/10

My experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron

My name is Mie and I am 21 years old . I live in Denmark and went to The Excellence Center during my second gap year. I finished the Danish ‘gymnasium’ (equivalent to high school) in 2016 and have worked as a substitute teacher since then. It was my work with children and my interest in art and travelling that lead me to The Excellence Center. I applied for the Art and Music program in the hope of teaching art here in Palestine.
The moment I walked inside the center I was welcomed by the other volunteers. My trip here was not as smooth as I expected, so it was nice to be welcomed in that way. As I sat in one of the chairs in the reception I heard volunteers speaking fluently with the staff – and I was speechless, I thought that if they all are fluent in Arabic I will be left behind in the social life at the center. This turned out not to be true, and at every activity and the everyday life at the center, English will always be the main language, especially when your Arabic is lacking or non existing, as it was in my case.
As you probably could guess from the text above – I DID NOT KNOW A WORD OF ARABIC. I knew the word for ‘dog’ and ‘animal’, but I learned from and Iraqi, which means that even those words were a different.
My very intelligent and sweet teacher Raghad learned me everything I know now from scratch. We started with the common greetings and during each class she would teach me five new letters. At first I didn’t see the use of learning the alphabet, but it will help me continuing my studies at home. She adjusted the classes to my needs, so I learned the different colours (to make my art class easier for the children and myself) and the numbers so I could go shopping and hackle with the prices as you are supposed to.
I quickly received many classes at schools and got my own class at the center. They do not have art at the schools, so no matter what kind of creative class I broad it was an improvement. The way of seeing art classes was also different: I was asked to choose the best drawing but refused – art is for me a place where judgment is put aside and it is more about the act of creating and the process than the product itself (especially when we are talking about children). It is the same reaction that art can bring children no matter the geographical place. Their smiles are the same in Denmark and in Palestine.
I also had drawing classes three times a week at the center, one for children and two for adults, who would also learn something about drawing techniques.
I was very fortunate and got the opportunity to travel around Palestine during my stay, even though I didn’t expect this when I planned my trip here. I have been to Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, The Dead Sea and Jericho during my five week stay and I have travelled both with friends I have met at the center and staff from the center. Seeing more than just Hebron has broaden my view on what Palestine is and what it is like living in Palestine. I have met different Palestinians living different lives both in Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, this have helped me colour my view of what it means to be Palestinian.
I lived at a host family with another Danish volunteer for the first 3\4 weeks of my stay, and to have her as a link between the new and the known has been a big part of my positive experience in Palestine. There will always be some adjustments when you travel to a new place and live at a family, but to be honest it wasn’t hard. There is the language barrier – but one of my host sister was excellent in English and the other children spoke it okay as well, so it was only in my conversations with the parents that I needed help. The most different thing when it comes to food is how the Palestinians loves their bread, hummus and oily food. My skin bears the clear signs of the oily food (which tasted good but my body had to get used to all the grease). I have eaten grey food, and it tasted just as you might imagine, I have also eaten yellow rice, so much that I think I am going to stay away from rice when I come back home, and I have avoided all the neon pink pickles (food should NOT be neon pink!) – but dear Lord if eating falafel and hummus was a sin, I would be deemed to hell. I have had falafel for breakfast, lunch and dinner and tried many different falafel spots, but I must admit that I got the best falafel in Jerusalem.
I can only recommend coming to Palestine and volunteering at The Excellence Center. Prepare yourself to have very busy days that feels overbooked and very slow days where you (seemingly) have nothing to do. Be open-minded towards the staff, the Palestinians, their culture and the other volunteers – they will make you feel sad when you are leaving if you open yourself up to them. Say yes to new things such as wedding invitations, trips with the center, time with the family, grey food, and no when you feel like everything is a bit too much. I will definitely come back. Or as they say it down here to make sure that you know that their promises and plans can change any minute it should be (also when you have arrived) INSHALLAH

How can this program be improved?
Better contact with the students. Maybe have a facebook group just with the teacher and the students so it will be easier to ask and answer questions
Yes, I recommend this program
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Shayma
10/10

Volunteer at the Excellence Center

I have been working with the excellence center for one month. I work as a registered nurse in the UK and wanted to take a career break, I decided to come to Palestine as I enjoyed my last visit. I have enjoyed my time here from my host family who have been absolutely amazing to the staff at the center. I came to volunteer for the heath care program and had the honor of delivering a workshop at the The University of Hebron in front of 50 students. I think that for me was the highlight of the trip. I also had the opportunity to visit hospitals and discuss with registered nurses about the challenges they face as well as discuss some of the differences between UK nurses and nurses working in Hebron. I also assisted in teaching English at the center which has made me realize that I love teaching and cant wait to get a teaching qualification soon. I hope to return to the centre next year as one month was not enough.
I would recommend coming to Hebron and volunteering with the excellence center as they help you get settled and you will feel safe. Despite the language barriers I managed to communicate with my host family via Arabic translation apps and I have been able to learn basic conversational Arabic.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jason
9/10

Volunteer at the Excellence Center

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Excellence Center in Palestine. This was actually a life changing experience where my eyes were opened to many issues both good and bad for many groups. I have made many lifelong friends and have been a recipient to the most incredible friendship and hospitality. The safety issues are sadly exaggerated in the media to the point that I am dismayed at the unfair contrast. Not once, have I ever felt that my safety was compromised, always did the the people welcome me; in fact I would go as far to say that the Palestinian people were protective. I went into a shop, and the keeper tried to overcharge me, and two Palestinians standing by intervened and told the man to charge the regular price. Furthermore, foreigners are needed in Palestine, and can perform a valuable mediation and education role to explore possibilities for peace. I must have a genuine affection for these people as today I leave, and I am very heavy hearted.

How can this program be improved?
There are lots of opportunities to allow the foreigners to better network and meet more locals which is both important for the center and for Palestine. Classes are not always constant which means there can be breaks of minimal activity. Arab time does not necessarily mean that it will start on time - but always people are friendly and polite.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Lynn
10/10

Amazing Hospitality in Palestine

I am a 43 year old Mother of 4 teenagers from Philadelphia in the US, I have degrees in Urban Studies and in Theology, and I am currently a full time freelance musician. I have been at the Excellence Center for 2 weeks composing, playing, and singing music to help children and adults learn English. Before I came here, I did 30 hours of online Arabic lessons with a teacher from the Excellence Center and I had an additional 5 hours while in Hebron. I found the online lessons a very important and beneficial preparation for coming to Hebron, as I had previously only studied MSA alphabet, grammar and vocabulary from books. My Arabic classes in Hebron focused on learning Arabic language and Palestinian dialect through listening to Arabic music and lyrics. I chose this approach because a goal I have is to learn more Arabic music, and also because this is the same approach I have been using to teach English to my students here.
As an intern in the Music and Arts Program at the Excellence Center, I taught English through music to classes of students and adults at the Excellence Center. Additionally, I visited several private schools in Hebron and taught classes of 20-30 students between the ages of approximately 10-13. I taught English using music and lyrics at an all boys public school in H2, the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron. I also taught 6 lessons at the School for the Blind. In each school, there was always a teacher present who could translate my English to Arabic for the students when needed. I also led a workshop for about 20 public school English teachers and led a brainstorming session with them about the challenges they face and how music can help them engage their students in learning English. Facilitating this workshop was one of my favourite activities because the teachers were so engaged and appreciative. I also visited a hospital and led a small workshop on music for healing and relaxation for patients and then demonstrated by playing music for several patients who were interested in receiving this type of support.
I enjoyed three cultural outings that were coordinated by The Excellence Center for volunteers. A group of volunteers toured the Ibrahimi Mosque, Old City Hebron, and saw Shehadah Street. At another time a group of us toured a Kaffiyeh factory and a pottery factory in Hebron. Another day several volunteers and I visited several places of interest in and near Bethlehem such as a remote monastery from the 5th century, the ruins of Herod's palace, and the church of the Nativity. Each outing was an important way to get to know other volunteers and was culturally enriching.
Another meaningful part of my two week visit to Hebron was living with my very welcoming host family. They have 4 children and live in an apartment that is about 30 minutes walk from the Excellence Center. I shared the bedroom with their 18 year old daughter, ate many meals with them, and they invited me on several outings with the family during my stay, including several visits to extended family. Several teachers or students I met here also invited me to their homes, so I had multiple opportunities to experience Palestinian hospitality.
One of my favourite evenings at the Excellence Center was when two teachers organized a guided conversation and other staff prepared a meal for us staff and internationals to enjoy together. It was so nice to be together with all the internationals and many of the staff.
Every day I walk thirty minutes to the Center in the mornings and I ride a shared taxi home. On my second day I got lost and was dropped off by the taxi in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. Teenage boys and several men gathered around me and I was nervous because I knew I was lost and my Arabic skills are very limited. The boys began to practice their English with me and giggled with each other. The men helped me use their phone and call my host father to get directions to the apartment. This is an example of how helpful and respectful the locals are to internationals and women. I believe it would also be safe to bring my family and children to visit Hebron.
The Excellence Center is well-connected to many agencies and leaders in Hebron and the surrounding area so they can help internationals do research or volunteer in a wide range of settings based on each person's unique interests and goals. It is also a friendly, welcoming home base for internationals visiting the West Bank, studying Arabic language, experiencing Palestinian culture, or volunteering. I will definitely visit Hebron again and look forward to another chance to study Palestinian Arabic and volunteer at The Excellence Center.

How can this program be improved?
Increase opportunities for volunteers to have group conversational Arabic lessons and gatherings of all volunteers and staff to meet each other.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Amy
10/10

Cooking in Hebron

I didn't know anything about the Excellence Center before I found it online 10 days ago. I signed up for a week long cooking class of the local cuisine. I was pleased that they said that I could come anytime for however many days that I desired. The communication was good and I felt very welcomed when I arrived. I really had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised that I would have private cooking lessons at the center with the delightful young woman Khitam.
Together we prepared breakfast for the other volunteers and staff. The rest of the morning I had a chance to go on field trips, have meaningful conversations with the staff and other internationals, and have a few Arabic lessons. Khitam and I would then go to the market for ingredients for that day's menu. I had a great time learning the words for the food items and seeing how the dishes were made. Khitam loves cooking and was a fun teacher. When the dishes were ready, everyone eagerly gathered around to share in the meal.
I've learned so much more than simply a few Palestinian recipes, I have been welcomed into their lives and received their delightful hospitality. It was challenging at times to not be able to speak Arabic, but everyone was so nice and made me feel welcomed. I will never forget the lovely people that I have met here and all of the experiences of this week.

How can this program be improved?
Since I didn't speak Arabic, it was challenging to be put with a family that didn't speak English. I loved getting to know them and they were very nice but sometimes the communication was difficult.
Yes, I recommend this program
مرحبا
Lidija
10/10

Palestine, first time

Lidija, 27 year old sociologist from Croatia participating in "teach English, learn Arabic" program in the Excellence center.

I applied for the Excellence center course because I was drawn to its program that tries to benefit the local community, as well as to allow participants to really get to know how the life in Palestine looks like.

My first impressions were overwhelming: people of Palestine are so welcoming and friendly, making you feel like you are at home. My advice to everybody would be to let go of fears and prejudices one might have about the Middle East and come enjoy great music, culture, food and company of Palestinians. I feel completely safe in Palestine and people are more than willing to help if you need it.

During my stay in Hebron I went to the local schools and participated in English classes in Excellence center, group ones as well as the private ones. It's a good way to be in touch with people and get a more authentic experience and I was glad to see the students were so motivated and willing to learn. The center also providedus with some little tours around, such as the old city, glass factory, keffiyeh factory etc. and it was possible to organise trips to the Dead Sea, Jericho and other places that may usually be confusing for a solo traveler to organise.

My host family made the whole experience amazing, making their home feel like mine too, I couldn't thank them enough. Living in Hebron means dealing with hundreds of different experiences and seeing a completely different world than of your own, especially if you are coming from Europe or North America, which makes it that much more interesting and gives you a new perspective.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Enamul
10/10

Amazing Experience

My experience in Palestine (By Ali)
I have been in Palestine for the past two weeks and what an experience it has been. I’ve always had a long desire to visit Palestine, having an interest to understand further the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the religious, historic and cultural significance of the country to so many around the world. I am currently an undergraduate psychology student, from the UK. When I came across the ‘teach English and learn Arabic’ in Palestine programme hosted by the Excellence Centre, I applied to take part and volunteer here for two weeks. My short time in Palestine has now come to an end, which makes me extremely sad. I came here to explore the country, and feel in turn it has helped me to discovered myself, through meeting the other extraordinary international volunteers from over the globe, as well as the Palestinian people themselves.
This is the first volunteering experience I have partaken in, thus I was a little nervous before taking my first class. By the end of it however, I did not want it to end. The students have such a desire to learn the language and culture of my country and showed great enthusiasm and curiosity. I will miss them all! My role involved teaching English reading, speaking and helping to improve spoken English conversation skills through a variety of activities, and assisting the other English teachers at the Centre. The Excellence Centre is a very welcoming place with many friendly faces. There is a very vibrant and hardworking atmosphere here and excellent facilities for teachers and students alike. During my first week, I attended the Palestinian Polytechnic University to assist teaching here. Furthermore, I was invited to attend the Al Quds University Student Graduation Ceremony, which was an amazing experience for which I am grateful.
Having prior knowledge of Arabic (being able to read but not speak or write), I had good foundations which my Arabic classes helped me to build on. I learnt how to introduce myself, and have basic conversations in Arabic. I felt the best way I learnt Arabic was through speaking to neighbours and students, especially through socializing.
The places I visited in Palestine
The first city I visited here was Bethlehem, famous for its religious significance. I had a great experience here with fellow volunteers and EC staff and some friends. We tried different Palestinian and Syrian food and explored the historic buildings in Bethlehem. Next, we visited the Old Town of Hebron, a 10 minute Taxi ride from the Centre. This was such an eye-opening experience and you can really feel the extent of the Israeli occupation here, with the numerous settlements and checkpoints. Unfortunately, I was unable to visit the “Ghost town” (Al-Shuhada street) due to it being closed by the Israeli police.
Visiting Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque was my favourite experience here. Such an eye-opening experience, and such a unique place, important to many different religions. The old city of Jerusalem is split into four quarters (Muslim Quarter, Jewish Qurater, Christian Quarter and the Armenian Quarter), which I was able to explore. I would extremely recommend visiting Jerusalem to everyone. Seeing the wall separating Israel from the West Bank was such an eye-opening experience.
Finally, I was able to visit Jericho, the oldest city in all the world. The weather here was amazing, and we went hiking up through Wadi Qelt, a mountainous desert region with a beautiful valley in the middle. It was great to see this other side to Palestine, and meet the Bedouins and their camels. Due to my short time here, I was not able to visit everywhere I had planned on.
What I liked most about Palestine
I think the greatest thing about Palestine is the spirit of the people here. The hospitality is unlike anything I have experienced before. Everywhere you go you are welcomed by the friendly locals. I built up so much respect for everyone here, having now witnessed the occupation and the effect of it on the locals. Yet, you will never see it in them; they have such a positive outlook on life, which has helped me to develop myself. There wasn’t a day where I was not invited to do something, and found the only time I was home was to sleep!
Safety in Palestine
In my country and many other European Countries, it is not advised to travel to the West Bank due to obvious reasons. Before coming here, my family expressed their concerns. The reporting of the conflict by the media results in an unwillingness by many to travel here. However, it couldn’t have been more different. I expected to arrive into village settings with basic facilities, yet was greeted by a beautiful built-up industrial city with some amazing views, and when travelling, some amazing greenery. I have never felt safer whilst being here. During my visit, there have been protests taking place after Friday Jumu’ah Prayers, but your safety as an international is priority to the locals. Everyone here takes great care of you.
I would recommend volunteering in Palestine for an experience you will definitely not forget, an experience which will help you connect with yourself and develop many life skills. I cannot wait to return here in two years after I have graduated from University. Palestine is a beautiful country, with the most hospitable, helpful and kind people you can imagine. A country where you can go on a holiday, just as in any other country in the Mediterranean, yet understand the complex historic conflict in the country. I have made some amazing friends here among the locals and fellow volunteers, who I hope to stay in touch with. I am so glad my volunteering experience started here. Just one piece of advice – if you decide to come here during the winter, pack for a few chilly nights (Something I didn’t do and ended up regretting).

How can this program be improved?
Pre-departure support could be improved. Other than that everything was on point.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Gabrielle
9/10

Wonderful Experience

I am 29, American and I have spent the last 3 moths working with the Excellence Center.

The Excellence Center is staffed with great local Palestinian individuals who have good hearts and aim to uplift their community by providing language and life skills. I volunteered here for 3 months in the "Volunteer to Write about Palestine" program. I wrote two articles a day on the work of the center or local Palestinian life and also edited articles written by others . My host family experience was amazing, as was my Arabic teacher. The staff of the center are helpful and welcoming and the hospitality of the Palestinian culture at large is unlike any other. I worked five days a week with Fridays and Mondays off. I got to travel all over Palestine. Volunteering at the Excellence Center requires you to be able to take initiative, be flexible and think quick on your feet which are skills that are important for anyone to have. The time I spent with the center and in Hebron was a very positive experience and I glad to have been able to participate in this program and work alongside the amazing people at the Excellence Center.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Nathan
10/10

Review Of My Time At The Excellence Centre

Hi, my name is Nathan. I am a student from Australia. I came to the centre for a period of two weeks as part of the Volunteer in Palestine program. I chose the program as a means to, beyond the good that you can do here helping local children, better my understanding of Palestine - its people, its culture, and its ongoing issues and conflicts.
Above all else, I believe that I have come away from the program having achieved that, among many other things. I have been able to engage with the staff and children of the Excellence Centre, as well as the wider Hebron community, in a safe and supportive environment. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Hebron with the Excellence Centre and would highly recommend it to potential visitors.
The most immediate concern I had coming to Palestine, as many will share, was that of safety and security. I was pleasantry surprised to find the entire experience, including arriving in Palestine as well as travelling around within its borders, to be a safe and easy one. For internationals, travel is very convenient – though it is worth noting that that is not necessarily the case for the locals. At every step, the people of Palestine were friendly, helpful, and approachable. Many Palestinians have at least a rudimentary, conversational level of English. Transactions such as those with taxi drivers or shop workers are therefore rather easy. More often than not they will engage internationals in conversation wherever possible. They are friendly and welcoming, and always eager for a chat.
While I had travelled to the centre as part of the volunteer program, while I was in Hebron I was provided with Arabic lessons to help establish a fundamental understanding of the language and basic interactions therein. I found these lessons to be helpful, especially when later used to engage with locals. Teachings were practically focused, emphasising conversational phrases that are frequently used.
There was a good relationship between the staff at the centre and the volunteers, such as myself. There was room given to experiment with classes and class structure. We were encouraged to impart on the children where we could a sense of our own unique cultural and societal backgrounds. The volunteers I met here are from all different countries, ages, and backgrounds. A flexibility to class structure allowed us to make the most of our differences.
The lasting impression I have of Palestine is undoubtedly of the kindness of its people. I felt truly welcomed during my trip. From warmly, home-cooked dinners at the centre to just friendly chats in the streets of Hebron, the friendliness of the Palestinian people is abounding and something I will not soon forget.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Maneesha
10/10

My experience in volunteering in Palestine through Excellence Center

I am here at Hebron for technology program. So I mostly worked with PPU university. At the center, I learned Arabic.

I absolutely loved my Arabic lessons in the center. Both my teachers are very different. First one taught me a lot about Islam and Palestine culture while trying to teach me Arabic. Ahlam, on the other hand, focused on my Arabic. My second lesson with Ahlam was an exam :). She took my Arabic learning very seriously. I am going to continue my learning with Alham through Skype. I hope she becomes my best friend in Palestine. I don't want to lose her. She is an inspiration! My life here in Hebron has become easier because she taught me enough Arabic to survive. She has 10/10 score.

Excellence Center provided me the foundation and connections for my 2 month stay. Osama is always there taking care of each one of us. He has 30 eyes -- all of them busy making sure we volunteers are doing well in our stay in Palestine :). Osama took care of our safety, our well being and organized our work every week. He is a very empathetic director running the center. I will cherish the memories of trips with Osama. I will recommend him and the center to all who might be interested in working in Palestine.

Center/Osama organized multiple trips to Old city, Bethlehem, Leather Factory, Glass Factory, Dead Sea, Jericho. These trips were absolutely lot of fun. On my own, I went to Jerusalem, Ramalleh and Jordon(Petra and Wadi Rum).

I lived with Mai Atiya's family. She took wonderful care of me. I don't think it is humanly possible to give the amount of love Mai and her family gave me. She made me a part of her immediate and extended family. I danced with them on Indian music and also learned from them belly dancing moves. I was part of birthday celebrations of her kids and I hope to stay in the kids' life forever.

I have walked the roads of Palestine all hours with no problem. I keep getting lost :)) and I keep getting help from locals to direct me to the right way. In last 2 weeks of my stay, I moved to Lamar Hostel to get a downtown old city experience. There were days when I was the only guest in the hostel and I still felt super safe. This must be the only place on the planet that is absolutely safe for women traveling alone.

I liked Palestine's people. They are not bitter. They are not scared of loving strangers. I also admire that people in Palestine has kept their culture and traditions. They don't look or live or wear like people in west. They look so beautiful in their cultural attire. I hope they can keep Hebron the way it is! It is perfect.

My favorite time is with Ahlam, my Arabic teacher. May be because she is my most favorite person in Palestine.

You will see more people from Apple here. You are the very best. I love you. Let me know if there is ever anything I can do for the center!

Yes, I recommend this program

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About The Excellence Center

The Excellence Center was established in June 2011 as a youth initiative to offer educational and community services to its diverse group of internationals and Palestinians. It is located in the main heart of Hebron on Ein Sarah street which is under...