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The Excellence Center in Palestine  Header Image The Excellence Center in Palestine  Header Image

Study Arabic and Engage in the Life in Palestine

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • The Campus

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

My arabic course in Palestine

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

    Dear Tim,

    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

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Learning Arabic in Palestine

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

    Dear Sara,

    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