“I am participating in the Volunteer in Palestine Program at the Excellence Center, teaching English in a classroom setting through various activities. I am currently a student studying in Jerusalem and chose to undertake this venture as a meaningful way to spend my Passover vacation. Palestine was the perfect backdrop to learn more about the culture and broaden my horizons, offering a different cultural scene despite being only a relative stone’s throw away from Jerusalem.
Being a volunteer at the Excellence Center requires open-mindedness and flexibility, as I realized upon my arrival. I have been involved in a few lessons and the willingness to embrace different methods of teaching English here at Excellence Center is a really refreshing approach. We made a trip to a school in Hebron for a program called 60 Minutes where we teach English to the children in the class through a fun and interactive way, all within an hour. I have also assisted several times in teaching classes held at the Center itself at intermediate levels. I fully intend to contribute in any way I can to make myself useful to the Center and in order to make an impact on the lives of the people here. This may entail thinking of new and creative ideas to teach English and to inspire students to pursue better communicational skills as opposed to the mundane lecture-based regime.
This experience will serve as a stepping stone to understanding the local Arab culture and personally help me learn to build bridges. It is an invaluable experience in terms of educating oneself to appreciate the unique facets of another culture. It will also aid me in my endeavors to journey to foreign settings in the future by familiarizing me with the skills I need to communicate with others. I think that my work will not only open my eyes, but also the eyes of the students to a new culture and certainly a new language. Through their grasp of English, new doors will be opened for them to greater opportunities an increasingly globalized world.” Sean Ong form Singapore, a participant in the Volunteer in Palestine program April 2016