“The first time I came to Palestine, I fell in love with this country. The landscape is amazing and people are really kind, ready to talk and explain their culture as well as the political situation.” This is what Celine, a photographer from France, had to say when she visited Palestine for the first time.
At the Excellence Center we welcome people from all over the world to come to learn Arabic . Celine came to study Arabic in Palestine at the Excellence Center, and this is what she had to say about her experience:
“Though a lot of people here speak English to varying extents and it’s relatively easy to communicate, I wanted to further immerse myself in the culture by learning Palestinian Arabic and honestly, I think this language sounds beautiful. I met a Polish girl who advised me that the Excellence Center is a very good place to learn, so I booked two weeks of Arabic lessons here, in Al-Khalil (Hebron) at the Excellence Center. I can tell you that I’m very happy I did that. First of all, my teacher, Shayma, is a great teacher, very patient and responsive. Second, I was very warmly welcomed by the staff of the Center and by the family who hosted me who would invite me to share meals with them. The Excellence Center provides a great opportunity to experience the Palestinian culture and, I should add, a great way to discover the Palestinian food – something that is very important from a French point of view!”
Palestine is often presented in the media as a dangerous place to travel to, so we asked Celine what her thoughts on this were:
“At first my friends in France were very worried about me. They would say “Why would you go there? It’s so dangerous!”
It is NOT. As a photographer I actually feel more secure here than in several other countries I have visited. Here nobody tries to rob me of my camera or purse or whatever. Sure, sometimes you have to bargain with a few taxi drivers who try to take more money from you than they should but that happens everywhere in the world. What I have found here is that given their situation under the Occupation, the Palestinian people have proven to be admirably resilient, warm and welcoming.”