Meeting New People in Palestine

Meeting new people in Palestine is one of the great exciting things about volunteering and studying in Hebron, Palestine. The Excellence Center invites people from all over the world year round to come to the Center. So you will not be the only one who is volunteering or studying at the Center. Normally, the center has around 3-5 internationals at the same time.IMG_1895

Additionally, the Excellence Center employs 10 Palestinian teachers and 3 staff employees. All of them are ready to communicate and share their experiences with you in Palestine. The Center also has a lot of Palestinian students who come to study English, or participate in the community development activities. It’s usually very easy to communicate and get in touch with them. In just a few short days, you can make friends with a lot of people in Palestine. IMG_1437

The instructors and managers at the center are helpful and friendly. On the first day of your arrival, you will be told that all of us here are like a family and should act like it. Being in a new place with a different culture and people, it definitely helps to have a group of people who include you unconditionally. This is characteristic of the people at the Excellence Centerdinner-at-the-center.

It goes without saying that the volunteers in Palestine, and the other participants here, get along great. Everyone is in the same boat, and we are all very supportive of each other. The teachers and managers are here to help you adjust to the center and Hebron, and the other volunteers and participants help by giving you advice from an outsider’s perspective. They also help with homesickness, even though we’re not all from the same country or even region.img_0600

Palestinians generally are very helpful and friendly, and they are also very curious about the international volunteers. Just know that if you get lost, you can always ask someone for directions, and they will go above and beyond to help you. This is one way you will meet new people in Palestine, and have opportunity to converse with them easily.img_0126

Palestinians are also very welcoming and generous when receiving guests. A large part of their culture in one word: hospitality. Jennifer from the USA who is volunteering at the Excellence Center remarked “One time when I got lost (and yes I do get lost easily and repeatedly), a woman welcomed me into her home, gave me water and coffee, and told me that if I didn’t have any place to stay, that I could sleep at her house. That is a typical example of Palestinian hospitality, and it is very comforting to me as an international volunteer.”img_0498

Being an international volunteer or a student in Palestine isn’t all work and no play, there are many opportunities to get out and do other things. You can hang out with your host family, or other international volunteers and interns. On days off, volunteers and students typically travel to places outside Hebron, like Bethlehem and Jericho. Staying here for two or three months sounds like a long time, but time seems to move really fast here. Some advice to any prospective volunteers or students is to engage in the culture and community development activities here as much as possible before you leave.susya

Meeting new people in Palestine is relatively easy. Just come with an open mind, a willingness to communicate and engage with new people, and you are sure to have a great time in Palestine and have a lasting experience. img_0037