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Study Arabic In Palestine
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Study Arabic In Palestine

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

Intensive Arabic course in Hebron

I chose to study Arabic at the Excellence Center for 2 weeks in May 2017. The Excellence Center offered everything I needed: Palestinian-dialect Arabic instruction, cultural field trips throughout Hebron, and a vetted home stay - all for an affordable price. The team at the Center was warm and hospitable and I felt at ease immediately. Hebron can be an intimidating place but the center connected me with a wonderful home stay family, took us on tours so we could get our bearings, and was a great home base for learning.

I started each morning with breakfast and coffee at the center, used the morning to answer emails and study vocab using the center’s wifi, and then in the afternoon met for 4 hours with my Arabic instructor, Ibrahim. He tailored my classes to the topics of my work so I could learn the vocab I needed for my upcoming summer job. In the evenings, I would spend time with my host family who had three small children. The mother taught me to cook Palestinian dishes and we spent many nights staying up late taking over coffee or shisha.

The second week I was there was the start of Ramadan which saw a significant shift in the city. There is a general slowdown everywhere and no one eats, drinks, or smokes during the day. This shifts one’s experience of city and studying considerably so take this into account when planning your stay at the Center. On the other hand, the evening Iftar and festive Ramadan nights are a wonderful experience as well. The families gather and you get the chance to meet family and friends as many invitations are extended.

This two weeks was the best investment I could have made before starting my job in Palestine. I learned a considerable amount about Hebron, Palestinian culture, the political situation, Islam, all in addition to my Arabic study. These things have made my work and stay in Palestine richer and more enjoyable. It is a wonderful feeling to know I now have friends and family in Hebron!

I recommend and endorse the Excellence Center and its Arabic instruction. This is a solid and affordable program which has a wonderful atmosphere and community to welcome you to Palestine.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

Arabic in Palestine

Studying Arabic has definitely been the highlight of my stay in Palestine. At first, I was studying Arabic for 3 hours a week. I really enjoyed the gradual progress to the point where I was able to engage in basic interactions for my daily life.

I’d been enjoying learning Arabic so much that I felt I wanted to make the most of learning in an immersive environment. I moved over to the intensive Arabic programme, which I’ve been participating in for the last 3 weeks. I’ve noticed a massive improvement and have reached the point where I can interact in basic conversations. The teaching is excellence, my teacher often asks for feedback as to whether I am enjoying my lessons and whether I have any ideas for improvement.

The teachers are always willing to help you and the Excellence centre benefits from a relaxed family atmosphere, making students feel very at home. The staff and teachers are always willing to help. During my time here I’ve visited villages on the outskirts of Hebron as well as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho and the Dead Sea. The Centre organises trips in Hebron, I’ve visited a glass blowing factory, keffiyeh factory and a church.

My favourite thing about Palestine is it’s people. I’ve been staggered by the lengths that the people here in Hebron will go to make you feel welcome. I’ve visited a student’s home and fed until I thought I would burst. On another occasion, I was lost, and after explaining my problem to a local man, was promptly led by the hand to my destination.

Overall I’ve loved my time at the Centre. I really value the chance to contribute to Palestinian society, and I’ve made strong friendships. I hope to return one day soon.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

Learning ِArabic language and its culture in Palestine

Hi, my name is John, I’m 24 years old, and I am from the United States. I studied colloquial Arabic at the Excellence for a month in the spring of 2017. Five days a week, every day, I had class from 8:30 in the morning until noon. At the center, I also ate breakfast together with other students, volunteers, and the staff and I sometimes participated in tours offered by the program.

I have found my Arabic lessons to be really great, and the ability to have one-on-one tutoring has been invaluable. Coming from a background where I already possessed knowledge of another Arabic dialect, being able to customize the lessons to my needs was absolutely essential. A variety of approaches were used in order to help me learn the language, including listening and writing to stories, integrating vocabulary into my speech, watching videos, discussing the news, and more. I definitely noticed a strong improvement in my command of the Palestinian dialect.

The environment at the Center is very welcoming. The staff are all kind and friendly, and also willing to help you out with Arabic, information about Palestine, or anything else. The other students and volunteers are all engaged in what they do, and are excited about being in Palestine. Overall, this makes for a great ambiance at the center. With the center, I was able to visit a keffiyeh factory and a ceramics/glass factory. Additionally, I went to the old city with someone recommended from the center. All of these experiences I will definitely not forget!

In my time in Palestine, I was also able to visit Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. The West Bank is relatively small and easy to get around. It is definitely worth taking advantage of your time here in order to explore other cities outside of Hebron. With that being said, life in Hebron can be quite special. The people are incredibly hospitable and tolerant. People are open to discussing many subjects with you, and are often excited to meet foreigners.

I did feel safe in Palestine. While caution should always be taken, if one is smart and aware of their surroundings, one should feel secure here. What I like most about Palestine is the people--their hospitality, talking with them, and learning about their culture. This includes learning more about their food, politics, and traditions. I will definitely leave Palestine and its people with a bit of sadness, and recall them fondly in the time to come.

Overall, I would definitely recommend staying at the Excellence Center in Palestine to people searching to learn Arabic. It is a great chance to immerse yourself in the language and discover a new culture in a secure and friendly environment. I, for one, do not regret it!

Comments/Suggestions: I wish to note that I really enjoyed my experience here and think overall things are great, but I will offer some constructive criticism nonetheless. The center’s laid-back and welcoming nature are fantastic; sometimes, though, things can seem unclear perhaps due to this (which personally doesn’t bother me, to be honest). While I am happy to go with the flow, other people might find it more disconcerting that, say, it is not clear what exactly happens when arriving to the center for the first time. For example, I came and waited for an hour before someone came, and even then I didn’t know exactly where I’d be living, when I’d start lessons, etc. Conveying this message in email before arrival would make more sense, I think (which would perhaps require a more exact time of arrival on the part of the participant).

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

Study Arabic in Palestine

My name is Emily and I'm from Germany. I studied Arabic at the Excellence Center in the city of Hebron. I chose to study in Palestine because I had visited the country a few years ago, while I was living in Jordan, and found it very friendly and welcoming.

Aside from my lessons, I visited some of the historical sites in Hebron and the area, and had a chance to experience the local culture and meet people.

This experience was a very beneficial to my Arabic skills and also enriching for me personally, since I was able to meet many different people and discover Palestinian culture.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

My one-month Arabic program in Palestine

My name is Ray. I am from Canada. I came to Excellence Centre for 1 month to learn Arabic. My primary reason for visiting Palestine was to visit Harm-al-Sharif. In Islam, Al-Aqsa mosque holds a very special significance.

For a very long time, I had a desire to come to Palestine, see the city of Jerusalem and visit other important landmarks. During my stay here I decided to also learn Arabic. I looked for schools online and found Excellence Centre in Hebron offer Arabic classes. I decided to enroll immediately for one month. It has been almost three week since I came to Hebron and my experience so far has been outstanding.

The Excellence Centre has a well-structured curriculum and is flexible to meet my particular needs and level. But more than that the staff at the Excellence Centre is really professional, caring, and made me feel at home right away. The genuine warmth and hospitality of the people of Hebron is truly effusing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

Learning Arabic in Palestine summer 2016

I am involved in the one month - 60 class hours - learning Arabic program with the Excellence Center in Hebron. So learning Arabic is my main goal. Also I was interested in seeing other parts of the region and from another perspective. I have family in Jordan, so I travel to there a lot. But I was curious to see places like Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah, even Israel. Also looking forward to see the faces of my family, that do no know I am here, when I surprise them for Aid al Fiter. I am, according to my excellent teacher, making good progress, so I thing I will benefit a lot. You can start learning a language abroad, but then, sooner or later, you have to travel to the country for real progress.

I think everyone coming to Palestine and then returning to his country, talking about his experiences, will make a difference. It will not be decisive, but it is also an act of solidarity, so everyone is winning. I am planning of coming back, maybe not for a whole month, since I love my wife a lot and would not like to loose her ..., but maybe as a volunteer, teaching German or Spanish to local people and kids at the center, thus contributing to its important work.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

Learning Arabic and Ramadan in Palestine

I am involved in the Intensive Arabic Program here at the Excellence Center in Hebron, Palestine. I decided to take this program in Palestine because I am very interested in learning about the Israeli occupation of Palestine and how people in Palestine live under this occupation.

I am currently a law student and I have focused my studies on the international law concerning Palestinian statehood and rights. I wanted to be able to experience the life of the Palestinian people first hand so I could better understand what life here was really like.

I have been able to experience a great deal of Palestinian culture. Since it was Ramadan some of the instructors have invited me to dinner at their homes and I have been able to meet a great deal of very interesting people.

I have also gone to Jerusalem and had the chance to visit Al Aksa mosque and the Dome of the Rock which has been a desire of mine for a while now.

It is my hope and prayer that my experience here will help me to become a better advocate for Palestinian rights and help me become a better advocate against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. By learning Arabic I hope to be able to learn firsthand from Palestinian people what life here is really like and how they feel about the Israeli occupation.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Facilities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & 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 & Safety

    9

  • Community

    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