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Internship in Palestine
The Excellence Center in Palestine and Germany  Header Image The Excellence Center in Palestine and Germany  Header Image

Internship in Palestine

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Life-changing experience in Palestine

I have been in Hebron for almost six weeks, and it has been an amazing experience, even life-changing. I have met so many beautiful people and enjoyed so many wonderful experiences. The staff at the Excellence Center have also been a joy to be around where each day brings new surprises.

My Arabic teacher has been excellent in both enthusiasm and skill in providing a foundation to progress in the language. I have met people from everywhere and there is a stark contrast between what is portrayed in the media and the reality of Hebron. I found the people protective, unbelievably generous and hospitable, and constantly friendly. There is an unhealthy opinion that Hebron is dangerous; in this regard, the center has had more than 160 volunteers arrive with not a single issue concerning their safety.

I had the opportunity to visit Ramallah and Bethlehem which was also extremely positive; in this vein it was interesting to note that Hebron has a more conservative Islamic lifestyle that only enhances the environment. I visited the Dead Sea where I was able to float on my stomach with my head well out of the water but make sure you dont get it in your mouth. A highlight for me was the trip to the Saab Monastry which is 1500 hundred years old like a Templar castle built on the side of a mountain rockface. I also lived in an accomodation only four hundred meters from the Tomb of the Patriarchs where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph were buried. The history of this area is astounding.

I was surprised to see that shopowners leave their shops unattended to pray or do busy, and nothing ever appears to be taken. I was also pleasantly surprised to observe how many people go out of their way to tell you that you are welcome in Palestine. Constantly I was offered tea, coffee, food and sweets. I cannot believe how skilled the Palestinain people are making pastries, and especially ice cream – I really think that they are the best in the world.

On reflection, I am really impressed with the majority of Palestinian people. In Arabic they talk about a 'white heart' (Qalb Abyad) which is kind of how we say 'a pure heart' in English. In this regard, I have come to admire these people for their ability to enjoy life to the best of their ability despite suffering which has been at the hands of others including Isrealis and their own people.

It has been an incredible opportunity to mature my thoughts and revisit my perspective that will no doubt add to my wellbeing for the rest of my life. I am a better person and have made a number of lifelong friends that I look forward to contacting in future.

Don't be discouraged by the media. Palestine needs foreigners to contribute to the peace process as well. The great news is that you can do while having a great time.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

“Welcome to Palestine!”

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!