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

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

Reviews

91%
based on 92 reviews
  • Impact 8.7
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 8.4
  • Value 8.9
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 16 - 30 of 92
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Annabel
8/10

My Experience in Palestine

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

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

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
priscilla
10/10

My First Time to Palestine

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

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

Yes, I recommend
Leila
10/10

Trip to Palestine

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

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,

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Saloua
8/10

Experience in Palestine

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

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

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Irene
10/10

Volunteer at Excellence Center Hebron

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

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

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
valentina
8/10

Volunteer at Excellence Center Hebron

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

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

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Niccolo
9/10

My experience with the EC

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

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

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
McKayla
10/10

My experience in the Excellence Center

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

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

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Giulia
10/10

Volunteer Programe in Palestine - Hebron

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

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,

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Mariam
9/10

Internship programme in Palestine

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

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,

Yes, I recommend
Tataki
7/10

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

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

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,

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Einar
10/10

Great time with wonderful people

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

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

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Casey
10/10

3 months in Palestine

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

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,

Yes, I recommend
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Ben
9/10

My Experience in Palestine

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

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,

Yes, I recommend
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Benjamin
10/10

2 Months in Hebron

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

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,

Yes, I recommend

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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...