The Excellence Center in Palestine
The Excellence Center in Palestine Programs
Many exciting opportunities are waiting just for you in Palestine! You can do volunteer work, learn Arabic and live the daily life of an ordinary Palestinian. The Excellence...
The Excellence Center in Palestine Reviews
Study Arabic in Palestine
Submitted by Emily - Berlin Germany | January 11, 2017
My name is Emily and I'm from Germany. I studied Arabic at the Excellence Center in the city of Hebron. I chose to study in Palestine because I had visited the country a few years ago, while I was living in Jordan, and found it very friendly and welcoming.
Aside from my lessons, I visited some of the historical sites in Hebron and the area, and had a chance to experience the local culture and meet people.
This experience was a very beneficial to my Arabic skills and also enriching for me personally, since I was able to meet many different people and discover Palestinian culture.
My one-month Arabic program in Palestine
Submitted by Ray | January 07, 2017
My name is Ray. I am from Canada. I came to Excellence Centre for 1 month to learn Arabic. My primary reason for visiting Palestine was to visit Harm-al-Sharif. In Islam, Al-Aqsa mosque holds a very special significance.
For a very long time, I had a desire to come to Palestine, see the city of Jerusalem and visit other important landmarks. During my stay here I decided to also learn Arabic. I looked for schools online and found Excellence Centre in Hebron offer Arabic classes. I decided to enroll immediately for one month. It has been almost three week since I came to Hebron and my experience so far has been outstanding.
The Excellence Centre has a well-structured curriculum and is flexible to meet my particular needs and level. But more than that the staff at the Excellence Centre is really professional, caring, and made me feel at home right away. The genuine warmth and hospitality of the people of Hebron is truly effusing.
My time in Palestine in December 2016
Submitted by Juana - - | January 06, 2017
My name is Juana and I am from Mexico City. For the last 7 years I have been involved in volunteering. This time I chose Palestine not only because I have some friends whose families are Palestinian but also because I strongly believe in helping people in any way that might be possible.
For years I have heard about the Palestinian situation, as so I have heard and read from other conflicts in the world, but for me it was important coming here because I wanted to see and experience how things are going over here. More important, try to do something in order to let know that there are people around the world who care for what is going on here, and who will be glad to help in any possible way.
So, with everything that is going on not only here but in the world, I thought it would be nice to work with children as they are not only the future but they are also the ones who will be able to change their world and improve it. And if we want that to happen, we need to support their education, their happiness and their lives. We must help them to believe in themselves and empower them so they can reach their full potential. And as an important part of education, I think imagination comes as an important tool, because it will help them dream of better opportunities and a better world.
For me, it has been really important to express not only my feelings but my thoughts by drawing, that is why I chose to work with children in a creative way. That is what I want to be my contribution, make them confident so they can dare to dream and express what they are feeling and what they really want in life regardless of what other people say they can or cannot do. They must know they are capable not only to dream but to achieve.
That is the important aspect for me, making sure the kids know they are entitled to a better future, to a good life and to achieve every single dream they have for themselves, their families and friends. I want them to go out and let the world know they are here and that they will not be defeated by those who are trying to oppress them.
Just by being in Palestine I feel have already obtained a benefit, because some are always telling why you should not get here, why it is not worthy, why it is dangerous, but they speak out of ignorance and I was not going to live like that. Even if I am not staying here for as long as I wanted, this has already helped me to discover new places, people and experiences. And I am sure I will be back.
That is why I am so glad places like this exist and I am really happy that so many people from different places around the world get here to be with the kids and families. I am proud of every single person that has ever come here, because even if not everyone in the world knows this is happening, volunteering at the Excellence Center is actually happening and I am sure it has been making the difference as so the people coming here.
Maybe we do not get to see nice actions in the media just as we see wars, killings and problems, but I am sure these actions done by volunteers are way stronger than that, so I just want people to keep coming, helping, learning and making the difference so kids can have a better world.
Volunteer in Hebron, Palestine
Submitted by Olga | January 05, 2017
I stayed in a Palestinian host family. The family has a mother, father and three sons. The father is a doctor and the mother has a part time job on top of being a housewife. The children were 4, 7 and 12 years old. Almost everyone in the family spoke very good English, which is why I very much enjoyed our conversations. You can learn a lot about Palestinians and their culture and traditions from your host family. Of course, it was fascinating to discuss and learn how the occupation affects the life of Palestinians and how my host family felt about it.
During the whole time I was in Palestine I felt very safe. This is somewhat strange, because I expected that I would have to be alert all the time for potential danger. From the first moment that I arrived to Palestine I learned that the locals are very welcoming and helpful. In a strange country, you must learn to trust the people. So, even as a woman I felt I could walk around the city without concern. However, one should make sure to respect the local culture and dress appropriately, because then foreign women attract less attention and can walk in peace. Further, there are certain places in Hebron where it is not wise to go during certain times, especially at night, because there are clashes between the IDF soldiers and Palestinians. So, common sense and knowing where to go and not go keeps internationals very safe in Hebron.
My typical day in Hebron can be divided into two parts; in the mornings I would go to the center and teach English or have my Arabic lessons. During the breaks from these activities I would hang out with the other volunteers in the kitchen reserved for us, or on the roof enjoying the sun. After the class activities I would normally go to my host family, my home, and spend the evening with them eating dinner or discussing about cultural differences of Finland and Palestine. The Center and the Hebron traditions expect girls and women to return home at a certain time as it is not common for girls to walk alone at night, so that is why on most evenings the female volunteers go home to spend time with their host families. However, this is negotiable with the host family and very much depends on how conservative they are.
I feel I gained a lot from my experience in Palestine. I now better understand the Palestinian culture and traditions, especially those of Hebron. I have learned cultural sensitivity, however sometimes getting disappointed that some people expect it only from foreigners and were not willing to meet in the middle. Hebron is a very conservative city and especially women need to give away certain rights we have gotten used to in the west.
My objective to come to Palestine was to see what is happening in the occupied territories and how Palestinians lead their lives under occupation. I feel I have now a better understanding of the struggles Palestinians need to go through on daily basis, and I feel I have the responsibility to share their stories now with the people in my home country. I wish one day Palestine will be free.
Submitted by Sandy - - | January 05, 2017
I am Sandy and am currently studying International human rights in Germany. I took part in the volunteering program which included 20 hours of Arabic lessons and I taught English to all levels within the center.
I never felt threatened in Palestine, I do think that as a woman though you are put at risk a bit more. I think that the Excellence Center’s guide on how women should dress or are viewed in Palestinian society should be addressed more for volunteers. Although I am educated and understand what can be acceptable or unacceptable, even teaching some classes was difficult because many students do not respect a woman being in a leadership role. In terms of safety concerns related to the occupation – I have never felt in danger.
I would recommend to participants to learn Arabic before they come, as sometimes you are stuck in situations where you need an Arabic and English speaker to translate. It can be difficult to integrate into society if you don’t speak Arabic. However I didn’t speak Arabic before I came and I found plenty of people could help me and it forced me to try and learn Arabic even more.
My best memories in Palestine tend to be related to food. I also enjoyed teaching my English classes in the center, the Palestinian students are keen and are passionate about learning.
I also have the best memories with my host family, they made my stay in Al-Khalil truly fantastic.
I learnt many new Arabic songs, and I think I have tried every Palestinian dish now. I learnt how to dance at weddings and parties.