We just can’t count the number of times the Excellence Center have got emails from people saying that they would love to volunteer or learn Arabic in Palestine, wishing they were younger. Many of them say something along the lines of: “Oh, I would have loved to volunteer and learn Arabic in Palestine, but now it’s too late for me as I would be older than most volunteers or students”. We also hear many times people say: “I have missed my chance.”
Let us be perfectly clear, no one right up to the age of 70 is ever too old to join us in Palestine at the Excellence Center. We warmly welcome people from all backgrounds and all ages. In case we need to emphasise this yet again, if you are concerned about your age ‘You’re not too old’. The Excellence Center in Hebron, Palestine offers many great opportunities to learn, grow and achieve for internationals who are anywhere between the ages of 18 to 70 years old.
In the last 5 years the Center hosted more than 70 internationals between the ages of 25 to 70 years. So, your age does not matter at all in order to volunteer and learn Arabic in Palestine as well as engage in some educational, community development, social, and cultural activities. In fact, it is of great benefit to the Excellence Center and the community to have people from a wide age bracket as each age group, young and old, bring with them various strengths and capabilities. Our view on this has come from years of experience in Palestine where we have seen the benefits of young and older volunteers and students mixing together.
Let’s have a look at a few of the qualities that older people bring to the Excellence Center.
They have excellent life and professional skills to pass on.
The Center has hosted many people who have gained great professional and life skills to pass on. Many of them have used their past experiences to organize community development activities such as employability skills, academic writing, conversational English days, and fun activities, which were really very successful. People tend to have a lot of different skills and experiences that they would love to share and pass on to our very willing learners here in Palestine.
Older volunteers have great ideas and methods.
One of the benefits of age is wisdom. Older volunteers have gathered a lifetime of of experiences and education that they have also had the opportunity to test out. They can provide many new and innovative ideas for creating and developing new programs and conducting activities, based on the experiences they have gained during their lifetime. Older people who no longer are in the paid workforce often have a refreshed perspective on things and can be creative in their thinking. When you have more time away from the daily pressures of life, you also have time to rethink the way you do things.
They are really flexible and they have travel experiences
Many of older volunteers have a wide range of experiences traveling around the world and they can easily adapt to a new life and culture quickly. They know very well how to get around, how to seek help if needed, how to mix with others and most importantly they can easily accept things they way they are.
They have bigger networks, which they can call on.
Older Volunteers come from a wide range of social, business and cultural backgrounds. Many have developed a large network of contacts through their social, business, and cultural and travel experience. Our older volunteers have used their networks for advice and support for the Center during their time in Palestine. Creating contacts throughout the world has been a real benefit to the Excellence Center and its work. Just to have someone “in the know” to bounce ideas off is extremely valuable for us here in the Center.
They are really respectful and have great communication skills.
Older Volunteers have ‘life experience’ and have generally learnt along the way some of the most useful skills in life, that is patience and listening to people. Generally they have interacted with people from all walks of life and cultures so they have no problems with adapting to a different culture. They can also easily engage in ‘small talk’ and they have a lot of different experiences and stories to share. Additionally many of them also speak more than one language, which make it east to communicate with more people.
So in conclusion, if you would love to volunteer in Palestine or come and learn Arabic, but have been putting it off because the years are creeping on, put that thought out of your mind now. We realize that you may not want to play football with the kids, nor climb mountains, but we want the skills and experience that you have. Yes, there is no doubt that most of our volunteers are younger and you will be mixing with them but you are never too old to travel, meet new people, learn a new language and make a difference in your life and the lives of others.
Take a leap of faith – we challenge the stereotypical picture that Volunteering is just for young people. Join us in Palestine, as we need you!