“My name is Javier Trescoli, a 24 year old Spanish Political Science student from Valencia. I decided a few months ago to participate in the TESA (Teach English, Learn Arabic) Programme and a just arrived a few days ago. I’ll just say straight of the bat they have been intense and have surpassed my expectations in a great way.
Why Hebron, Palestine? First of all, my increasing interest for the Middle Eastern region especially the politics, the religion and the language. Secondly, but far more importantly, my perennial interest in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as a political student and my desire to see closely the consequences of so many layers and years of conflict in the daily lives of the Palestinian people. To somehow inmerse in the community and the routine of normal people seemed a way to transcend the mediatic politics and focus on the basics of how it is to live in the West Bank.
Hebron is the economic centre of the West Bank and one will be soon impressed by how lively and dynamic the city is. The Excellence Center on first impression ressembles the city it is found in, as you will see. This is one of the reasons I chose it. Once I had decided I wanted to go to Palestine there were many options but the Excellence Center stands out for the experiences it provides and the amount of internationals satisfied with this experience. The programme seemed good enough to me. I wanted to learn Arabic in it’s natural context as I have never been a classroom type of student and furthermore, couldn’t trust myself with starting to learn it by myself. Also, I had been an English teacher in Valencia for five years and was really excited about teaching and learning in new environments. But what really convinced me was the obvious and passionate dedication of the Center and it’s members. So I contacted the Excellence Center and I here I’am.
One never really knows what to really expect. So many many people have told you so many things that by the time you get there you have no clue what you were expecting. And it suprises you for good. Even the Israeli soldiers and police that initially stopped me from entering the Palestinian area were nice and helpful (in their own way so if you don’t want this experience make sure the transport you pick in Jerusalem takes you to Palestinian Hebron) and the Excellence Center did all that was in your hand to make sure you were safe and sound which was recomforting and reassuring. What has really striken me is the generosity and genuine interest of the people I have met to this day as well as the motivation of many students at the center. Both as an international. A student and as a teacher I really look forward to the next two months here!
The main concern for any reasonable international will be security and safety. To be fair, it’s normal this should be a concern but once you get to Hebron you realise there is no real issue. The media has bombarded our minds with this image that everything is going down a spiral of craziness in the region but this is not the case in Hebron and surely most of the West Bank. If you use common sense in your daily routine there won’t be any major issue in your stay. This obviously doesn’t mean there is zero risk of anything happening but it’s safe to assure Hebron is not a insecure place. Simply follow the recommendation provided by the Center and everything will be ok!
At the center I will be an Assistant Teacher and a student of Arabic. I aim at improving my learning techniques as well as starting Arabic, getting to begin understanding Islam and immersing myself in Palestinian Culture. Furthermore, I wish to explore the West Bank, especially Ramallah, the Palestinian capital as well as as Bethlehem. Jerusalem goes without saying! One of the internationals, Xavier is already talking a bit cooperating in a refugee camp which make some really excited! Yesterday was my first day and it was so much more better than expected. I really hope the next two months continue this way for it could make way for truly great experience”.