Differences Between America and Palestine

SachaDifferences Between America and Palestine: “As a true blood, through and through American, I decided to have an adventure by traveling to Palestine. The program I came through, the Excellence Center, focuses on improving English of the locals living in Hebron, and the surrounding areas. I chose this location after studying for a semester as an undergraduate in Jerusalem. I thought it might be interesting to get a broader perspective.

Palestine is an Arab state that is currently occupied by Israel. The situation can be confusing, and is often surrounded with strong feelings for many living here, and for nations throughout the world. Anyone considering a trip to Palestine from the USA, may want to know a few differences before coming.

Food

American food, though good, is sometimes accused of being very processed, genetically modified, and concentrated in sugar and fat. Also, much of the time healthier options at stores and restaurants are more expensive.  On the other hand, America has an abundance of options, a variety of cuisines, and most cultures can find food from their home country close by. Though it may have an American twist to it.

Palestinian food would best be described as “fresh.” Local shops and street vendors sell fresh produce daily. Also, the variety offered by a year round growing season makes for a spectrum of tastes and colors at every meal. Bread, rice, vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices, olive oil, and dairy products all taste fresh and are mostly unprocessed.

Meat lovers traveling here will not be disappointed as most meals consist of full portions of meat. The one exception is pork, because it is not allowed in the Muslim religion. However, vegetarians can be at peace coming here as well, since there are many dishes that don’t include meat. The many spices make for flavorful local dishes, and the sweets are inexpensive and unbeatable.

Language

In America, English is the main language spoken, depending on where you are at. America has a history of immigration, and is home to a diverse population. As a result many languages are found throughout the states.

In Palestine the main language is Arabic. The dialect spoken in the area is referred to as Sha’mi, or the Levintine dialect. Most natives also learn English beginning as children in school. However, due to the circumstances, they generally do not have much opportunity to practice speaking it. Many shop vendors and taxi drivers are conversant in English, and almost anyone you ask for help will be able to communicate with you.

Culture

Americans often pride themselves on their independent mindset. We are good at functioning on our own, and respect the privacy of individuals. Most people appreciate their “alone” time and are careful not to encroach on anyone else’s need for time and space.

One word to sum up the Palestinian mindset is hospitality. People will talk to you openly on the street, and welcome you to their homes for coffee and a meal. Families here are often large by American standards, and visiting with family and friends is a major part of daily life. Welcoming newcomers is a pleasure for Palestinians, and you will find unreserved generosity from the people.

America and Palestine have many differences, but with a little preparation you will find and incredible experience waiting for the adventurous and open-minded traveler”. Sharon from the USA who is participating in the Volunteer in Palestine program 2017

Copyright© 2017 - The Excellence Center in Palestine

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