Volunteer and Learn Arabic In Palestine

Video and Photos

Certificate
Certificate
Excellence Center
Excellence Center
Reward
Reward
Class
Class
class
class
class certification
class certification
class
class
sunset in Hebron
sunset in Hebron

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.

Join Our Family in Palestine and Germany

Welcome to the Excellence Center: People who are between 18 – 75 years old are eligible to participate in all of our programs in Palestine and Germany. All nationalities and majors are welcome! You do not have to have any degree to join us. The Excellence Center hosts internationals year-round. Participants decide when they would like to start and end their programs. We are very flexible when it comes to starting and ending dates.

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/.

Reviews

93%
based on 160 reviews
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 16 - 30 of 160
Default avatar
Jorge
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching Human Rights in Hebron - Palestine

Hebron, is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. As can be imagined, history is to be found at almost every nook and crannie of Hebron.

Of particular interest to me is the architecture of the homes and old buildings. Homes were built to with stand the harsh summer temperatures, as well as providing protection from the snowy cold winters. All homes are flat roofed which reminds me of the Andalucia and Algarve provinces of Spain and Portugal.

Hebronites are extremely hospitable people and if you don't have a taste for Arabian coffee you certainly will develop one in next to no time. My main purpose in Hebron was to teach teenagers Human Rights. I taught many classes but found teaching in the Al Fawwar Refugee Camp the most rewarding. Rewarding in the sense that the teenagers wanted to know more about Nelson Mandela, his life in prison and his re-conciliatory approach to his captors during the creation of the South Africa Constitution and his eventual becoming the first black South African President.

I also met many interesting NGO's and individuals that have left a mark with me. The Excellence Centre was an incredible platform to be able to deliver these lessons as well as the organising of trips to surrounding villages. As mentioned before, Palestinian people are amazing people and this notion certainly applies to the staff of the Centre.

During my stay in Hebron, I never felt in danger of my life. The citizens of Hebron however have a different experience.

I also used my time well to visit the most amazing cities in the region such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Acre, Jericho and the Dead Sea. The Holy Land is an incredible place and should be visited at least once.

What would you improve about this program?
I feel that the program is complete and addresses the needs of the Centre and it's volunteers. Therefore I would not change a thing.
Default avatar
Maddy
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience in Palestine

My name is Maddy and I’m a 19 year old student from the USA. At university I study political science, Middle Eastern affairs, and Arabic. I participated in the Human Rights volunteer program here in Hebron, Palestine for 2 weeks, while additionally receiving Arabic lessons to help me continue improving my Arabic. I had a fantastic Arabic teacher who worked with me one-on-one several times a week, and I also was able to pick up many colloquial phrases from speaking to local Palestinians during my time here.

With the Excellence Center I was able to visit refugee camps, speak with Palestinian families living next to Israeli settlements, interview human rights activists, and learn about aspects of media and journalism in Palestine. We visited Al-Shuhada Street and the Al Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City, which was a fascinating and eye-opening experience. Additionally I taught several workshops about the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a group of 25 students ages 14-17. The students were respectful, attentive, and eager participants. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Human Rights program and consistently found myself being challenged to hear from different perspectives. I would definitely recommend this program in particular for anyone who wants to learn more about the realities of life under occupation from Palestinians themselves.

5 days of the week I was at the Excellence Center where every morning we’d prepare a delicious traditional Palestinian breakfast. The community at the Center is extremely friendly and welcoming. There I had the opportunity to interact with international volunteers from all around the world as well as Palestinian students from local universities who came to the Center to teach Arabic or English. On my days off I was able to travel around Palestine and I went to Jerusalem as well as Bethlehem to see Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel and the artwork on the Separation Wall. Hostels and transportation here are very affordable and it is quite easy to get around between cities.

Living in Hebron definitely has been an incredible experience and has given me the chance to learn an immense amount about Palestinian culture and traditions. I absolutely loved the host family I lived with and I was always invited to join for large family meals and tea or coffee. One of my favorite things about Hebron is its hospitality and how welcoming people are, even if you just passed someone in the street. The food here is also delicious! There are many different spots to explore in Hebron and I would often go places with the Palestinians who worked at the Center. I always felt safe here and would walk some places alone during the daytime, though I did prefer to be with at least another person or a group. Generally, however, I felt no concerns during my time here over my personal safety.

Overall, I am so grateful for my experience at the Excellence Center. I have learned so much about life in Palestine and always felt welcomed by the people here in Hebron. Not only has my Arabic and knowledge of Palestinian culture improved, but the conversations I’ve had and places I’ve visited in and outside of Hebron have been extremely eye-opening. I can’t thank the Center enough for allowing me to step outside my comfort zone and be welcomed into a new community!

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

My experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron

I’ve absolutely loved every minute of my time here at the center, from teaching at the center or in the neighboring village of Dura, to my extremely helpful lessons with my amazing teacher, Marwa. Throughout my time here, I’ve experienced tremendous growth in my conversational Arabic skills. The atmosphere at the center is great for learning and contains all of the necessary tools to improve in Arabic. While it can oftentimes be busy at the center, there is always a quiet coffee shop with WiFi just a short walk away.
In addition to the program I participated in, I was also fortunate enough to go around and visit many places around Palestine. I was fortunate enough to visit just about every big spot there is in the West Bank, from Ramallah to Jericho I saw them all. The center is very flexible with your schedule and would love for you to go around and tour the country, I was even able to take a couple days to go and visit my family in Amman, Jordan.
From the amazing family I was blessed to live next to, to the food I’ve been able to eat here in Palestine, there hasn’t been one unpleasurable experience during my stay here. Being able to see beautiful nature spots, such as the natural beauty outside of Jericho that is Wadi Qelt, to indulging myself with Kanafe in Nablus (the best in the world, may I add), my time here has been absolutely incredible. To anybody that is looking to advance there Arabic through immersion, and be able to experience a beautiful place at the same time, I highly recommend them to come to the Excellence Center in Hebron, Palestine.

Default avatar
Eli
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience at the Excellence Center in Palestine

My name is Eli. I am from the United States, and I am currently pursuing a double-major in Spanish and Arabic at my university in the U.S. This summer I had an opportunity to participate in the Excellence Center’s Teach English-Study Arabic program, which involved taking private lessons at the Excellence Center, as well as teaching classes both at the Center and at the municipality in various villages and camps in the Hebron Governate.
I found my experience at the Excellence Center enriching in multiple ways. First of all, I was able to achieve my primary goal in travelling to Palestine, which was to gain practical conversational skills in spoken Arabic. Between my lessons and the informal experience I acquired interacting with people both within and outside of the Center, I have noticed an unmistakable growth in my ability to comfortably listen and communicate in the Palestinian dialect. Furthermore, I was able to immerse myself in the culture via time with my Palestinian host family, as well as through the various site visits that I participated in over the course of my three month stay.
During my time in Palestine, I was lucky enough to visit various cities both inside and outside the West Bank, including Hebron, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho, Tel-Aviv, and Acre. Travel between cities was relatively cheap by American standards (the bus to Bethlehem, for example, costs 6 shekels or less than 2 American dollars), and Palestinian locals were generally happy to help whenever I was in need of directions or help.
As far as safety and security were concerned, I never once felt particularly unsafe in any part of Palestine. In fact, I was more comfortable going out at night and travelling to unknown places than I would be in the United States. If you have reservations about travelling to Palestine on the basis of safety, just reach out to any of the volunteers who have worked here—nearly all of them share my feelings on the matter.
My overall impression of Palestine was very positive. In all matters personal, professional, and academic, the people of the Excellence Center and Palestine in general helped me achieve my goals without ever feeling overwhelmed or out of place. I certainly recommend travel to Palestine and a stay at the Excellence Center to anyone with the opportunity. I have never travelled anywhere as rich in culture, history, or hospitality.

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

Wonderful Experience at the Excellence Centre

Ahlan wa Sahlan! My name is David. I am from the U.S, but I came to Palestine after finishing my studies in the UK. I spent my month here studying Arabic and teaching English. These pursuits, I believe, have been mutually beneficial; I spend a few hours a week studying Arabic and practicing with my teacher and with friends, and then take several hours to help local students with their English. My language skills have improved drastically during this process. Arabic is an inherently challenging language for English speakers, but thankfully, the excellence c enter adheres to a strategy of pragmatic language learning. I learned “ ‘ammiyya”, the local Palestinian dialect, and was able to start having basic conversations with people that I met in the old city, on the streets, and in shops. My improvement in Arabic was undoubtedly gratifying, and I hope to continue to build upon my progress.
The environment of the center is extremely friendly and supportive. The teachers, managers, and staff are unforgettable. The other volunteers are equally curious and interested in the culture of Palestine and are equally committed to sharing their beliefs and skills with the community. In other words, the atmosphere of the center was completely conducive to learning and growing. Much like the Excellence Center, Palestine is a welcoming and vibrant place. My favorite part of my experience was the friendliness and seemingly innate curiosity of the people (especially my students). It is almost impossible to avoid talking with people over coffee and tea, and eventually becoming friends.
I’ve had so many amazing experiences here; however, my favorite experiences have been in the classroom. Learning to teach has been an incredibly intense and challenging process. However, as time has gone on, I have become more confident and capable in the classroom. On my second day in the class, my students in the village of Sirra asked about my religion. I told them that I was Jewish. I think that this lead to a beneficial conversation in the class and I have grown very close to the students there.
My time here was not only spent in the classroom. I also had the privilege of going on several trips in Palestine. In addition to exploring Hebron, I have been to Jerusalem, Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem and Akka, among others.
Living in Hebron was an amazing experience. I lived in a dormitory with other male volunteers. At first I was apprehensive about not living with a host family, have been really happy at the dormitory. As I have mentioned, the other volunteers like to speak in Arabic and the local family who owns the apartment played a large part in my immersion in Arabic.
At the end of my stay here, I am feeling incredibly grateful to have experienced Palestine through the Excellence Centre. I highly recommend this experience for those people looking not only to learn Arabic but to learn about Palestinian life in the West Bank and to contribute to the local community. I believe that I will continue to benefit from the valuable connections I have made and experiences that I have had.

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

A summer in Palestine

My name is Abby, and I am from the United States. I am currently studying International Relations and Public Health at a college in Massachusetts. At The Excellence Center, I have been a part of the Teach English, Study Arabic (TESA) program for the past two months. For most of my time here, I taught in Dura, Palestine for half of the week, and at the center in Hebron for the other half. Dura is a city about twenty minutes south of Hebron. Although some students from Dura come to Hebron for classes, a few volunteers and I went to Dura to teach those who could not come to Hebron to learn English. In Dura, we taught the three beginning levels of The Excellence Center’s English curriculum to an energetic group of students ranging from 8 to 30 years old. At The Excellence Center, I was an assistant teacher to a few of the extremely qualified, bilingual, local teachers based in Hebron. From these local teachers, I learned effective teaching strategies that I then applied to my classes in Dura.
Before coming to Palestine, I had never taken an Arabic class. Thus, I was quite overwhelmed when I first arrived, and most of the volunteers could converse with the local staff in Arabic. However, being immersed for two months has definitely helped me practice the bit of Arabic I’ve learned. When your taxi driver or host family’s guests don’t speak any English, any Arabic is better than none! Although I still cannot have a conversation in Arabic, I definitely can understand more than I expected I would be able to.
The environment at the center has been constantly changing as volunteers and students come and go. The Excellence Center’s local staff and teachers are unbelievably warm and welcoming, and truly care about each and every person that walks through their doors. As for the international staff, being all together most of the day has been a really great way to make connections with like minded peers, as well as meet people from around the world. I now have friends in Norway, the Netherlands, Canada, and the UK! It’s sometimes difficult to maintain a comfortable group dynamic since people are constantly coming and going. Summer time is extremely busy, and although the crowding can be overwhelming, summer internationals get to interact with so many more people!
I visited Hebron’s Old City, Ibrahimi Mosque, a glass & ceramic factory, a kufiyeh factory, the Lebananese border, Acre, and Nahariyya on Excellence Center excursions. In Hebron, we were able to take a “political tour” from a local Palestinian, which was a unique opportunity to hear local opinions about the occupation. Many locals refrain from discussing the occupation, for it is a both traumatizing and depressing topic. This tour was also assisted by an Excellence Center student, who is using her new English skills and studying to become a tour guide! The Excellence Center also organized a day trip to the north, where we were able to see many sites and cities efficiently and at a reasonable price.
On my own and with other internationals, I have visited many places in and outside of Hebron. Many people at The Excellence Center are activists at home or in Palestine, so we want to see as much of Palestine as we can in case this is the last visa we’re allowed! I traveled to and around Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho, Aqbat Jaber, the Dead Sea, and Al Quds in the past few weeks, and hope to visit Nazareth, Nablus, Tiberias, and Jenin before I leave. To most of the places within the West Bank, I take a servees, or large shared taxi. Israeli transport is faster, cheaper, and often more convenient, but my peers and I do our best to avoid financially supporting the occupation. In order to get to places outside of the West Bank, we take Palestinian transport to Al Quds (Jerusalem), and then take an Israeli bus from there. Hebron is wonderful, yet it is still nice to take a break from the area and travel to other places in Palestine. There is so much to see in such a small country!
Living in Hebron City can be cheap, safe, and easy, if you put your mind to it. Falafel sandwiches are 3-4 shekels (~1 USD), locally sourced groceries are very reasonably priced, and you can get to the center of Hebron from nearly anywhere in the area for just 2.5 shekels. Hebron is much, much safer than the media describes it to be. The only place violence would ever occur is in H2, the occupied area of Hebron, and only from Israeli soldiers “protecting” the settlers. Thus, I feel most safe in Area A places such as Hebron and Bethlehem, for Israeli settlers and soldiers are not allowed in these areas. I have occasionally received unwanted and inappropriate comments from local men, but rarely in Hebron. I walk alone frequently, and mostly just experience harmless yet persistent “How are you!”s. Living with a host family in Hebron is definitely a growing experience. Depending on the family, there are varying levels of English fluency and knowledge of Western living style. This has led to conflict for some. However, host families are known to include internationals in family parties, celebrations, and events, as well as for being warm and welcoming.
I loved my daily routine in Palestine. Enough people know English in Palestine that I can get around by myself and have much more independence than I am used to having outside of the Western world. No matter how lost I’ve gotten, I’m always able to find my way home eventually, with the help of local Palestinians of course! The falafel and hummus are delicious, and it is literally always sunny. I have so appreciated the kindness and generosity of the Palestinian people in my time here. There is so much to see and do in Palestine, and so many wonderful people to meet! The Palestinian people are strong, independent, loving, and motivated. They certainly do not need to be pitied, but rather supported and encouraged to continue the amazing things they are already doing!
I had a wonderful experience at The Excellence Center in Palestine. Enshallah, I will come back soon!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would study Arabic before I came to Palestine. I really wish I could have spoken to my students and host family in the language in which they were most comfortable.
Default avatar
Jake
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime

My name is Jack and I am from the United States. I have a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA. I did a little over a month at the excellence center doing the human rights program. Everyday consisted of meeting with Palestinian human rights activists from all aspects of society. I met with women’s rights activists, anti-occupation activists, professors from Hebron University, members of the chamber of commerce, and many other people. I learned so much about human rights in Palestine during my stay here.

In Hebron I lived in the male apartment. It is located in the perfect location, a fifteen minute walk to the center and a 5 minute walk to the old city. The apartment is surrounded by a very nice and hospitable Palestinian family, with very nice kids of love to have fun and play soccer. I spent a lot of my time with a family that I met in the old city, and in many ways they became a host family to me as well.

The excellence center is filled with really great staff and people. Every day Osama organized extremely educational trips for us and if we wanted to see something or meet someone, Osama would help arrange it. I also learned Arabic from Doha at the center. I really enjoyed my classes with Doha. She is very sweet and smart, and during my time with her my Arabic improved greatly. I will miss her very much.

During my time in Palestine I also visited Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Haifa, and Akka, but by far my favorite city is Hebron. The people are the warmest, kindest, most generous, and strong people I have ever met. I made so many Palestinian friends here and I will cherish the memories I have with all of them. In Hebron I always felt safe. For me, even walking at night felt totally fine.

My time in Palestine has been life changing. The people I have met and experiences I’ve had have impacted me in the most positive way possible. I am very sad to leave here but I am already planning my next trip back. I would highly recommend the excellence center to anyone looking to visit Palestine. It truly is a trip of a lifetime.

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

Discovering fascinating Palestine

My name is Nadia and I am a professor in the Humanities in the United States. I arrived at the Excellence Center in Hebron in May 2019 and stayed for two months. It was my first trip to the Middle East and I can honestly say that these two months spent in the region have been one of the most enriching time of my life. Not only did I discover a fascinating culture and an incredibly hospitable people but I also had the rare opportunity to actually share the daily life of my host family and learn Arabic at my own pace with children, guests, and all the members of this beautiful and generous family.
As a volunteer teaching English at the Excellence Center, I also met the most interesting people and made friends for life. They came from all over the world and took part in one of the many programs offered by the Excellence Center and all sharing a common interest for the region and its history. The opportunities offered by the Excellence Center include political tours and guided visits of some of the most important places in Palestine.
In fact, one of the many advantages to come to the Excellence Center as a volunteer and/or a student is that you have an anchor—a home! — from where to come and go and travel around as you please. I personally took advantage of my time in Palestine to visit Bethlehem, Nablus, and Ramallah. I also traveled to Ein Gedi, Haifa, Akko and visited Jerusalem several times. Transportation is safe, easy, and affordable. From Hebron, you can go anywhere!
However, the highlights of my stay in Palestine was my life at the Excellence Center and the remarkable students I met and their eagerness to learn. They were the most studious, respectful, and kind people I have ever met. And I have met a lot of students in my career as a professor! What I learned is that education for Palestinians is as fundamental as hospitality. And at the Excellence Center, I had the opportunity to meet genuinely kind people, spend time with them, and, maybe more importantly, learn from them.
I will come back to Palestine and the Excellence Center soon, inshallah!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would stay longer! After two months, I felt like home and wish that I had another month to really appreaciate and understand the place...
Default avatar
Eilidh
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience in Hebron

At the Excellence Center, I took part in the Teach For Palestine Program and completed a Media and Communications Internship with Go Palestine. I spent the majority of my two months writing informative articles about Palestinian history, people, and culture. The goal of these articles was to increase knowledge and international interest in Palestine, and hopefully the number of foreign volunteers, interns, and tourists to the region. Additionally, I taught conversational English language classes to individuals and groups both at the Center in Hebron and in local villages. Lastly, I took introductory level Arabic courses at the Center with a native Arabic speaker. I was able to learn the Arabic alphabet and the basics of conversational Ammiya arabic. Arabic is certainly a difficult language and I would recommend that, in order to have a more fruitful experience, future volunteers begin learning the basics of Shammi Arabic and the alphabet before coming to Palestine. Doing so would make the lessons much more effective.

Outside of my responsibilities at the Center, I formed a Hebron-based collective of musicians and artists known as “Al-Khalil Arts Collective.” We hosted our first DIY community, art, and music event at the Center, which featured the work of local visual artists and showcased live musical performances. The purpose of establishing this collective was to provide local creatives and community members with an outlet for creative expression with the goal of affecting social change through events that are low-cost, replicable, and inclusive. Al-Khalil Arts Collective intends to continue hosting creative community events in Hebron in the future. Throughout the process, the staff of the Excellence Center was incredibly supportive and willing to work with me to turn my ideas into a reality.

I really enjoyed volunteering and interning at the Excellence Center in Hebron. The staff and teachers were incredibly accommodating and kind. I specifically enjoyed working with Marwa, Khitem, and Osama, who made it a priority to make me and other internationals feel comfortable, welcome, and successful at the Center. The students I taught at the Center were also very respectful, hardworking, and engaged in all of my classes. Outside of the classroom, Marwa and Khitem arrange cultural trips and dinners for volunteers and interns at the center. I highly recommend coming to the West Bank to experience the warmth, hospitality, and sense of community of the Palestinian people, as well as Khitem’s delicious home-cooking. Iktir zekki!

Furthermore, living with the other male volunteers in the Sheikh Abed residence was one of the highlights of my trip. Not only did I become close with all of the other international volunteers, I was also able to develop long-lasting relationships with Sheikh, his children, and the rest of the Hijazi family. Sheikh is an incredibly warm-hearted, caring, and funny man who really loves hosting internationals, sharing his experiences, and planning various events for the volunteers. From family BBQs to nights playing football in Dura, Sheikh and his family took me in as one of their own and truly made my experience in Palestine memorable.

Lastly, I want to add a note about safety and security in Palestine. When I first decided to volunteer and intern in the West Bank, many of my friends, family, and acquaintances raised concerns about my personal safety—believing that I had signed-up to enter a war zone. These concerns were largely based in misinformation, preconceived notions, and ignorance about the region and conflict, perpetuated by sensationalist, fear-based Western media outlets. In reality, the two months I spent living and volunteering in the West Bank were incredibly safe and could not have been further from their expectations. On a daily basis, I was welcomed with open arms by Palestinians eager to share more about their history, culture, and experiences—Palestinians hoping to both alter the narrative told by foreigners and influence international perceptions of Palestine and its people. While I entered Palestine with an open mind, the hospitality and kindness that I experienced on behalf of the Palestinian people exceeded that of all the other countries I have had the privilege of traveling through. My experience volunteering and interning in the West Bank was remarkably positive and reaffirmed my belief that people are people and we are all far more similar than we are different. I urge you to turn off your television sets and come to Palestine to form your own opinions. You will be all the better for it!

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

Experience at the Excellence Center

My name is Sam and I am from the United States. I spent two months this summer in Palestine at the Excellence Center partaking in the Teach English Study Arabic program. My daily activities consisted of leading classes in a local village, assisting an Arabic teacher at the New Center in Hebron, studying and practicing Arabic in personal lessons, and writing an occasional article for the Center’s website.
My time as a teacher and teacher’s assistant in Hebron was certainly the most rewarding experience over the course of these two months. I was given a great range of liberty to construct my classes to best suit my style and the needs of the students, and the strong relationships I made with the students created an extremely engaging and productive atmosphere. The students that come to the Center are eager to learn, and the successes found in these lessons are due to their diligence and motivation that they bring everyday. The conversationally-based lessons and diverse curriculum at the Excellence Center have been developed through the introduction and adaptation of ideas from volunteers all over the world, making it a stand-out institution within Hebron.
My experience with my Arabic lessons were equally as positive. Three times per week for a duration of one hour, I had personal Arabic conversation lessons with Marwa, who came everyday with new and engaging exercises that kept things interesting and challenging all at the same time. It was sometimes difficult to balance the coursework from the lessons with the preparation needed for my teaching obligations, but Marwa and the entire staff are beyond understanding and make sure you are working at a fair pace. Through the lessons and constant conversation with the staff and local Palestinians, I feel far more confident, speaking with near-fluency with native speakers. The main focus of the lessons were to develop listening and speaking skills while gaining a far more robust set of vocabulary. I am beyond grateful for my lessons with Marwa and the opportunity to engage in conversations with the open and welcoming staff.
The environment of the Center is truly one of a kind. Within a matter of a few days you truly feel like family with the Palestinian staff and international volunteers. The Arab-influenced sense of community and diverse mix of international cultures blends together to create a unique environment that I’ve never experienced before. I have made relationships here with volunteers, staff, and local people that will last a lifetime, and I am already planning my next stay at the Excellence Center. If you are considering a place in the Middle East to study, intern, or visit to learn Arabic, work with eager and underrepresented people, or experience a lovely, rich culture and society, the Excellence Center is the perfect place to go. I had high hopes about how my time would be here in Hebron, and in every way my experience was better than I could have imagined. Thank you to the Excellence Center and lovely people of Hebron.

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

Amazing Experience!

I spent two weeks at the Excellence Center assisting with English lessons and taking Arabic classes. I really can't recommend it highly enough, Hebron is a vibrant, welcoming and safe city and the Palestinian people offer fantastic hospitality. The Palestinian teachers here are great and the students are really keen to learn. I feel so grateful to have had this experience and met such interesting people. The Excellence Center really looks after you and arranges your accommodation. They offer morning excursions to local points of interest (e.g. the Ibrahimi mosque, Hebron University etc) and the whole atmosphere of the place is very welcoming. I felt useful and productive the whole time. I would highly recommend volunteering here and will definitely return!

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

Volunteer teaching english

I spent 3 weeks in Hebron volunteering as an english teacher in a village around Hebron. It was a very nice experience and the children are happy to meet international people. I enjoyed exchanging with the Palestinian, they are really welcoming and warmful . I also had the opportunity to learn the Palestinian dialect. The staff at the excellence center is really helpful and supporting. Palestine is a really great place to volunteer, I definitely recommend it. regarding the safety, i had absolutely no issues. I am travelling alone and i never had any concern when travelling in Palestine and Hebron is a safe place, people are really respectful and will do anything to help you. I hope i will find the opportunity to come back at the center and in Palestine in general.

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

My Experience teaching in the West Bank

My name is Michael, I'm from Canada, and I volunteered for two months at The Excellence Center in Hebron. There are many experiences I can talk about in regards to my stay in Palestine; the people, the food, the cities, teaching English and learning Arabic. It is impossible to truly write down every detail, as one has to come here to truly see it for themself.

The cities in Palestine are some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Seeing the wall surrounding Bethlehem, and all the artwork that the palestinian people have painted on it was truly humbling. And visiting all the beautiful museums in Jerusalem, as well as the market and old city. One cannot see all of Jerusalem in a day.

Working at The Excellence Center never felt like work. As a volunteer English teacher, you will have tasks such as teaching classes, teaching one on one, giving oral examinations, or travelling to local villages around Hebron and teaching a bunch of a wonderful, smiling students. In fact, teaching at the local village of Dora was the highlight of my teaching experience in Palestine. The children were eager to learn, easy to laugh, and full of questions and wonder. It was truly a blessing to have been able to meet them. As for Arabic, every one of the Arabic teachers at the Excellence Center are wonderful. They are all filled with warmth and kindness, and they clearly love meeting and teaching people from all over the world.

The best part of Palestine is not the food, or the sweets, or the weather or the history; it is the people. I cannot count how many invites I received from the generous people of Palestine. Offering free food, free coffee, free rides; inviting me into their homes and treating me like family. It was such a wonderful thing to see how much the Palestinian people love foreigners. How much they love giving. And from this mountain of kindness, there are a few who stood even further above the rest. They have touched my heart deeply, and because of this, I will have no choice but to return again, and again; just to see them again.

It was a beautiful and amazing journey, to have known Palestine the way I have. You must come to Palestine. There is nowhere else that compares.

What was your funniest moment?
Seeing a Palestinian wedding celebration in the street. The people here love to show off their wedding groups to everyone on the street.
Default avatar
Jordan
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience with the Excellence Center in Hebron

I've been very fortunate to be chosen to work at the excellence center. I have had an extremely interesting time and made some amazing memories with new friends which I hope to keep for years to come. During my time here I have gotten to learn about the individuals who call Hebron home as well as the culture and language that has developed here over thousands of years.

I suppose the first thing that struck me was in the classroom. The students that come to the center are all so excited to be there. Palestinians are some of the most educated individuals in the middle east and I really enjoyed seeing so many people both inside and outside of the classroom just be so curious about anything from language and culture, to science and math. They also never were rude or mean spirited towards one another. In other classes I have taught, I've seen students be so nasty to one another. Teaching here has been very refreshing.

I know most people comment on how friendly people in this region of the world are. As an individual from the south of the United states I found the hospitality less shocking. What was very interesting to me was that everyone I ever interacted with knew every other person it seemed that I interacted with. Even from other cities at times. For a city as large as Hebron that is quite the feat. There are a lot of factors that build into this I think. Some of these include how large the average family is, a robust hospitality culture, as well as a thriving gossiping culture. You'll find that if you are ever in need of something or someone you will find someone that can help you out.

Another thing of interest to me is that though the occupation is always overhead, sometimes quite literally with jet planes making a point to remind everyone right above houses. The people here generally go about their lives and laugh and love one another and still open their houses to strangers and friends alike. I have to be honest I was told by other middle eastern friends that the people of Palestine are cold and rude but that has not been my experience at all. And to be honest once more I find their hope for their future here inspiring.

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

My Experience with the Excellence Center

My name is Chelsea and I came to Palestine from the United States. I already hold a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and came to the Excellence Center to participate in an abbreviated volunteer program.

During the course of my two week stay in Hebron, I assisted with English clubs wherein a longer-standing volunteer led a group discussion on a designated topic. I was also given the opportunity to take Arabic lessons with one of the students from the Evening nglish club. Ordinarily people will do two Arabic lessons per week but my instructor was willing to meet nearly every day due to the short duration of my stay. She was an excellent teacher and toward the end of the lessons we would veer off into small talk about culture and languages.

In addition to the Arabic lessons at the Excellence Center, I stayed with a host family who also taught me a bit of Arabic. I stayed with a mother and her son, and her other son and grandchildren lived below us. I arrived to Hebron on a Wednesday and by the next night I was already traveling to Ramallah with my host family to visit more family members and enjoy Ramadan celebrations.

While immediately traveling to Ramallah and knowing very little Arabic was a bit of a culture shock, it was nice to balance that by spending time with the other volunteers. People hailed from all over the world and we all got along well, at least from what I could tell during my two weeks. It was a little difficult to feel included as the majority of them stayed in the same apartments while I was with my host family. But people made extra efforts to invite me out for dinner or coffee. And on that note, the coffee was one of my favorite parts of the trip and I plan to make it the Palestinian way when I get home.

As far as the staff at the Excellence Center goes, they are very quick and responsive. At times it seemed like there was no plan but then when I consider the fact that volunteers come and go and some only stay for a week, the staff did an excellent job of giving everyone the opportunity to see and experience all that Hebron has to offer. Additionally, my trip was during Ramadan so the atmosphere was much more laid back than normal. During my short visit, I got to visit the old city, the university, the glass factory, and the municipality. I would’ve gone to visit a refugee camp as well if I hadn’t fallen ill with a stomach bug that went around. This, however, gave my host family the opportunity to lavish me with kindness and hospitality as they made sure I got better.

For the most part I felt safe in Hebron. I would’ve felt better if I had known more Arabic. I still would not venture out on my own at night, particularly in a different city as a female foreigner, but during the day in Hebron I had no concerns.

The food in Palestine was delicious and I was fortunate to receive home cooked meals from my host family. People were very hospitable and the streets were fascinating; my personal favorite was the street art which was expressive of how people felt about the political situation. The weather was very hot during the day but the evenings were quite pleasant - though sometimes it was a bit too uncomfortably warm to sleep.

I would recommend this program to anyone who is curious about Palestinian culture or who is looking to practice Arabic. It is also good for having a better understanding of the occupation. I think for me, someone who was more curious about the culture, coming during Ramadan was a good choice. Outside of Ramadan is a more rigorous teaching and learning schedule.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I wish I had come to the Excellence Center back when I was a student in undergrad and could incorporate my learning into my academic study. I would have come for the whole summer, hot as it may be, and experienced the laid back aspect of Ramadan as well as the more rigorous teachings work.