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
I had a wonderful time in Palestine
Submitted by Ellen - Roskilde Denmark | November 21, 2016
I arrived in Palestine almost three months ago. I have had a wonderful time here and I have met a lot of wonderful people. The people and the feeling in Hebron is really good. Wherever you go people will welcome you and greet you.
My host family was amazing. By now they feel like a real family.
The staff at the center are very kind and helpful. They have helped me with transportation and general questions about the customs of Hebron. They also provided me with all the material I needed in order to teach my students. I have had so much fun teaching and the students are all very kind and eager to learn. They have taught me a lot about their society and their daily life.
The country has a lot of amazing experiences to offer and you will have plenty of opportunities to visit factories, cities, the ocean and generally have a good time.
A Palestinian volunteer
Submitted by Elham NE - Hebrew University | November 02, 2016
A lot of foreigners, of various stripes, eager and yearning for culture, come to volunteer in Hebron. I never understood the fascination internationals had with this city. Why do you come all the way from the U.S, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany etc.. to volunteer or learn in Hebron? Why don’t I, a Palestinian, have that same passion about volunteering in my home town?
I have lived in Palestine for 19 years and it is only intermittently and very recently, I felt a genuine connection with this Land. It is when I became involved, when I travelled around Palestine, I understood why people cross the globe to come/volunteer here.
In Hebron, but also in Palestine at large, people are often very hospitable and that is particularly true amongst the more traditional elements of society. Take a stroll in Ein Sara, a very busy street in Hebron, and you will be met with the most delightful smiles. People are not afraid to help you out, give you directions, free food, show you around and make you feel like you never want to leave.
Volunteering for me, became more than a giving act. I receive the joys of exploring Hebron, the smiles on the students’ faces, the genuine respect they give you once they realise you are a Palestinian, seeking to help other Palestinians, and a better understanding and appreciation for my country. I get to make local and international friends, broaden my understanding of other cultures and traditions and generate friendships that extend further than Palestine.
So come Palestinians, take the initiative to volunteer . Become the self-appointed cultural ambassadors, who introduce people to the Palestinian Arab culture with a personal touch and allow them to form their own experiences and viewpoints on the land we call home.
Submitted by David - - | October 23, 2016
Two days after graduating from College I was on my way to Palestine. For the first time I left the comfort of my home in the U.S. and traveled to the Middle East.
Without a doubt, the Israeli military occupation of Palestine was of great concern for my parents and friends. In his attempt to dissuade me from coming, a friend warned me about shared taxis because they "are usually bombed." Although this was said with the best intentions, it just illustrated the ignorance some people have in the U.S. regarding Palestine. For this reason, I have been very active on certain social media sites where through pictures and videos I show the natural landscapes and everyday life in the West Bank.
My host family was very accommodating and have welcomed me with open arms. My host uncles and aunts have tried to make feel at home as much as possible. In solidarity with my host family and friends, I also fasted during Ramadan. While at first I found it hard, the fact that everyone was fasting made it easier. In addition, iftar was worth waiting for because of maqluba or mansif along with the sweets and other delicious dessert.
I am happy that I was able to find a hospitable organization like the Excellence Center for my experience in Palestine would not have been the same without them.
My only suggestion for the Excellence Center is to improve their planning of volunteer's daily activities and inform them in advance about their daily tasks.
My arabic course in Palestine
Submitted by T. Mitchell | October 18, 2016
I wanted to get closer to people from the Middle East and mainly from Palestine, a country that I truly support. I felt the need to talk to its inhabitants using their own language without having to comeback to English. For this reason it was clear to me that I needed to learn Palestinian dialect. In addition, Palestinian dialect is very similar to the Arabic spoken in Lebanon and in Jordan so it would also open the door of these countries.
When I discovered the intensive Arabic program offered by the Excellence Center in Hebron I decided to go for it. It was not my first time in Hebron and I already knew the city. I visited many places in Palestine and in my opinion, Hebron is the most traditional one. I could have chosen to study Arabic in any other Palestinian cities but I thought that doing it here would be an added value to my experience. Also, the description of the program on the official website of the Excellence Center was affirming that the participants would be taken to many filled visits in Hebron and the surrounding areas and that they would have the chance to live with a Palestinian family, which of course is a great opportunity to practice what they are taught during the intensive program. The program consists in 3 hours of Arabic everyday, and the lessons are private, which means I would have a teacher just for me. This last point fully convinced me to take part to the program.
After one month, I can definitively say that there is a great difference on my Arabic skills. I started with nothing and I can now easily introduce myself, explain people what I like and do not like, make some jokes, I am able to order food at the restaurant, to tell the taxi where I want to go and even have a more casual discussion, I can talk about the occupation in Palestine and speak at the past, the present and the future. Even though I still struggle to follow conversations in details, I can at least know what people are talking about and capture their main positions if they are referring to one of the topics that I studied in class.
My stay with a Palestinian family fruitfully complimented my learning experience. The family is very friendly and no surprise, food was delicious. I found myself naturally using what I learnt in class. The only negative point is the lack of privacy. I could not have my own space. I shared my room with someone else and since the room is normally occupied by the 2 kids of my host family, everyone was entering there at anytime. I think the families should be better prepared to receive someone, and that before starting the program, the participants should be asked if they want to share their room with someone else.
With regard to the filled trips described in the official announcements, it was disappointing. I was not offered to participate to any visits. IN the month that I was in Hebron, the Excellence Center did not organize any filled trips. If they participants wanted to visit a place, they had to do it on their own, with their own expenses and without any logistical support from the Excellence Center. In my case I had the opportunity to visit the most important places in this area before starting the program because as I said, it was not my first time in Palestine, so it decreased my disappointment. However for someone who comes for the first time, I think that you may miss many important things to see. Of course everyone is free to organize his/her own visits, but without speaking Arabic and without being accompanied by someone who is very familiar to the place, you may miss the most important part of the information even if you are used to travel.
The Excellence Center definitively needs to make the free time of the participants more interesting and insure it is enjoyably spent. This is specially relevant on Friday, because everything is closed in Hebron and there is almost no public transportation available on that day. More filled trips are definitively needed and should be regularly organized in order to comply with the official contract and with the purposes of the Excellence Center.
The Excellence Center in Palestine responded to this review October 21, 2016 at 6:24 AM
Thank you for leaving a review. We are very glad that you had a good experience in Palestine and you benefited from the course
We also appreciate your suggestions for improvement, we will take them in our consideration for sure.
We hope to see you soon in Palestine
With kind regards from Palestine
Excellence Center's staff
Learning Arabic in Palestine
Submitted by Sara Mayer - - | October 14, 2016
My time at the Excellence Center in Hebron has been great. I can only speak English and learning languages is not my strong point. Yet, I received amazing support from the center in my language training and I was quickly able to speak and understand some Arabic.
The teachers at the center are so friendly and welcoming. If you have a problem or need to some advice on traveling around the city, they will be happy to help. Breakfast is always a fun time. Lots of tea, coffee and great chats with fellow language learners and volunteers.
I stayed with a wonderful host family during my time in Hebron. I became part of the family, attending weddings, birthday parties and experiencing everyday life here in Palestine. This allowed me to really understand the Palestinian culture and it really was a once in a lifetime experience. I will miss them a lot when I leave!
With the Excellence Center I visited the Jericho and the Dead Sea, Fawwar Refugee Camp, Shuhada Street and Hebrons famous Glass and Ceramic Factory, as well as the Kafiya Factory. All of these trips were well organized and a lot of fun. I really feel like I have experienced every aspect of everyday life in Hebron.
For a foreigner, Hebron is extremely safe in terms of the conflict. The Center is located in H1 of Hebron, which means that it is governed by the Palestinian Authority. H2 is where the old city is located and, although it is under Israeli jurisdiction with many Israeli soldiers, for a foreigner it is perfectly safe. It is not unusual to see tourists visiting the old city and the Ibrahimi Mosque. At night for women, it is best to walk with a friend but this is usually the case with most cities!
Overall, my time at the Excellence Center has been fantastic.
The Excellence Center in Palestine responded to this review October 21, 2016 at 6:21 AM
We are very glad to hear that you benefited from the Arabic course at the Excellence Center. Thank ou for leaving a review. We wish you all the best in learning Arabic. We hope also to have you in Palestine in the near future
Greetings from Palestine
Excellence Center's staff