Well, when one comes to Palestine, one is expected to have at least some idea and expectations of how it will be. How will the people react to me? Will it be safe or will it be dangerous? Will I... Mark
Health & Safety
“Welcome to Palestine!”
Submitted by Mark - | October 25, 2017
Well, when one comes to Palestine, one is expected to have at least some idea and expectations of how it will be. How will the people react to me? Will it be safe or will it be dangerous? Will I fit in, will I be accepted? Where can I find the cheapest kebab? Legitimate serious questions may muddle your mind upon your arrival to this fascinating land but do not worry. Unless you have extremely surreal high expectations, everything will go better than expected.
I personally did not know what to expect. I knew I was going to Palestine and I understood what that meant but I really did not know how to translate all that knowledge into the expectations of my own daily life. My attitude was to be positive and have an open mind about what would happen, and I do recommend this mentality as it will allow you to enjoy and get the best about the experience. Obviously, don't be naive, a little healthy skepticism won't affect your experience. For me, working with the Excellence Center and it's staff, teaching the children English and learning Arabic from my teacher in the context of Hebron and Palestine is being one of my best life choices. I'm already imagining of coming back!
The main thing that will impact you is the honesty and generosity of the people of Hebron. You will be randomly greeted multiple times at the shout of “Welcome to Palestine!” during your stay and even invited to tea and coffee by complete strangers. Some will be anxious to know about you whilst others will simply let you sip your tea, relax and enjoy the hot drink. At the beginning, it can be surprising and I was wary at first, suspicious of their intentions (a Spanish trait, undoubtedly) but you will soon realize that this is simply a characteristic of the culture and the people and one you will surely miss when you leave Hebron.
In my case, a male volunteer, there was no serious culture shock. I transitioned easily into the organizational and social life of the Excellence Center, thanks, both to the volunteers and the staff. One integrates smoothly into the Arabic classes, the English lessons, and other activities but I can easily disconnect when I get home, where I live with other male volunteers. Female volunteers and students must also integrate into the dynamics of their home, which can be much more challenging!
To be honest, the best recommendation is to read and comprehend the advice and guidelines offered by the Excellence Center and ask any questions that may emerge. Use common sense, be critical and inform yourself about where you are coming from and will have a great vital experience!