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

Teach, Intern and Learn Arabic in Palestine

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Experiences in Hebron

When I arrived in Hebron two months ago I did not know what to expect. The city is an incredibly well-kept secret with very little information available on line or in books; beyond the often negative news stories which too often define the image of Hebron in peoples' minds.

My time in Palestine has been incredible, due mainly to the warmth and generosity of the Palestinian people. Throughout my time in the West Bank, I have never felt worried about my safety as there have always been people who are more than willing to help. Any conversation in a taxi, bus, café, or shop more often than not results in an invitation for tea, coffee or even lunch.

I wanted to come to Palestine to get a real insight into what it means to live in the Occupied Territories. Throughout my last year of university I have read a lot of material from both sides of the conflict but felt that I still was unable to fully understand what and why the conflict in Palestine continues to this day and how it affects the daily lives of the people who suffer from its impacts. It was only when I began to experience just a few of the daily inconveniences endured everyday by the majority of the residents of Hebron that I felt I was beginning to understand the type of life many people here lead.

These experiences included being stopped and searched at random by the IDF; having the bus I was on stopped on the side of the road, in the mid-day heat with no air-conditioning while the IDF slowly checked everyone's ID cards. Moreover speaking to locals, young and old who have lived through an incredible amount of violence and instability has been one of the most eye-opening and grounding aspects of my time in Hebron and something I will never forget.

My time spent at the Excellence Centre has allowed me to explore Hebron, the surrounding villages and the wider West Bank in an safe and comfortable way. I immediately felt at home in the Centre, and by living with a local family in Hebron it quickly became as familiar as London is to me. The trust placed in me by the Excellence Centre provided me with the freedom to explore and expand my own abilities and confidence in teaching English and developing professional and respectful relationships with the students here.

My time here has taught me to look beyond the superficial images I create within my own mind; instead I have learnt to build an image of a country based on the people, their actions, words, dreams and experiences that I hear for myself and to not rely on the words or stories used by other people. I have discovered the difference of getting to know the soul of the country and not just its geography or architecture. This is what has made my experience here so enriching, enjoyable and a part of my life I will never forget.

  • The Excellence Center in Palestine responded to this review October 21, 2016 at 6:19 AM

    Dear Nicole,

    Thank you so much for leaving a review. We appreciate your efforts very much. You did an amazing work during the two months. everybody also here appreciate so.

    We wish you all the best and hope to see you soon in Palestine

    Greetings from Palestine
    Excellence Center Staff

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Palestine experience

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.