Living in Hebron
–PAYING YOUR WAY: Most stores do not accept credit cards. The best way to cover your daily expenses is to use an ATM card; otherwise, have enough cash on you for your entire trip. ATM’s are readily available and within walking distance of the Excellence Center. Be aware that the Bank of Jordan, the Arab Bank, and (currently) the Cairo Amman Bank only give you money in Jordanian dinars, which then must be further exchanged. It’s worth mentioning that a Western Union office, just across the street from a nearby supermarket, is only a short walk from the Excellence Center as well.
—GETTING AROUND: Taxis are the common form of transportation in Hebron. The cost of a taxi ride depends on what type of taxi ride you are taking. A private taxi ride (you in the vehicle alone with the driver) may cost you up to 10 NIS (New Israeli Shekel). A “public taxi” ride means that you are sharing the taxi with other people. A public ride may cost 2.5 NIS. The driver will let out each rider along the route. Generally, a five to ten minute ride will cost two to five NIS, so be sure to ask the taxi driver before you get in the taxi. Costs for a five to ten minute ride, therefore, can range from 2.5 NIS up to 10 NIS.Between West Bank cities, Service, “shared taxis” that are vehicles resembling mini-vans, one-way, for example, generally cost as follows:
Ramallah to Hebron: 27 NIS
Ramallah to Nablus: 15-20 NIS
Ramallah to Jerusalem: 14 NIS
Again, you will ask the driver for the precise price before getting into the vehicle. Then, as you drive along, pass your NIS to the driver as the other passengers do! The driver will pass back to you, via other passengers, any change due you.—ACCOMODATIONS: You will be provided accomodations by the Excellence Center, and, depending on availability, you will be assigned to reside with either a Host Family or in an apartment.
—HEALTH INSURANCE: The Excellence Center will not cover any medical expenses for you; therefore, it is your responsibility to obtain health insurance before you arrive.
–BUDDY PROGRAM: At your request, the Excellence Center will pair you up with a university student peer.
—CURRENCY: The “New Israeli Shekel” is the currency used in the West Bank. For up-to-date exchange rates, go to: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
Generally, there are 3.5 to 4 NIS to the U.S. dollar. Banks are open from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M..ATM’s are open 24 hours. The major banks are the Arab Bank, the Bank of Palestine, the Cairo Amman Bank, and the Bank of Jordan. **As noted above, these banks give currency in Jordanian dinars which must then be further exchanged for NIS.—LEISURE TIME: The Excellence Center strives to give interns and volunteers time to travel and explore Palestine. Interns and volunteers are given four (4) free days per month in order to do just this. Excellence Center also arranges trips to visit Palestinian historical and cultural sites. The Excellence Center endeavors to provide advice and assistance to interns and volunteers who plan their own trips out and about. Work and leisure activities will afford interns and volunteers ample opportunities to practice Arabic with our staff, students, and community members at large.
—ENTERING ISRAEL: Some foreigners are subjected to prolonged questioning and thorough searches by Israeli authorities upon entering Israel. However, many interns and volunteers are not stopped or checked. So do not worry! You will be given an entrance visa that is good for three (3) months.
—INTERNET ACCESS: Internet access is available in homes and all through the city. Unfortunately, the Third Generation (3G) feature is not available.
—ALCOHOL: Hebron is a religiously conservative city; therefore, alcohol is not available.
—SHOPPING: Hebron is a city filled with shops, stores, malls, and supermarkets, large and small. There is a large supermarket within an easy ten-minute walk of the Center – and, it has numerous ATM’s! Whatever you may need, it can be purchased easily.
–LOCAL CULTURE: International participants are encouraged to respect local culture, and refrain from wearing shorts (for either sex). Women are kindly asked to dress modestly, which includes not wearing shorts, short skirts, or shirts which are low-cut or short-sleeved. Winter can be rather cold, so make sure to pack warm clothes. Light long-sleeved shirts and blouses as well as pants are best suited for summer.