Currently, there are many international students at the Excellence Center studying Arabic in the Middle East (in Hebron, Palestine) . Every Arabic student has one-on-one lessons with an Arabic teacher from the Excellence Center. International students come to the Center year round, and, so, they can freely choose when they want to begin and end their Arabic lesson. Usually, the Arabic programs last between two weeks to two months.
The Excellence Center team has interviewed students who are engaging in the Study Arabic in the Middle East (Palestine) program, and their teachers.
The first interview conducted was with Elissa from the United States. Elissa came to study Arabic in Palestine for one month beginning at the middle of December 2016:
Elissa, why did you choose Palestine to study Arabic?
,,Previously I had met some people from Palestine; they were so nice. That is why I chose this place for studying.”
Elissa, why did you choose the Excellence Center in particular to Study Arabic in Palestine (Middle East)?
,,I selected it because it has a very good Arabic language program which allows me to customize my Arabic lessons by combining learning Palestinian dialect and modern standard Arabic .”
Elissa, apart from studying Arabic, how do you spend your free time in Palestine?
,,I go to coffee shops, and I visit other cities such as Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the Old City of Hebron.”
Elissa, would you recommend the Study Arabic in Palestine program, and is there anything that you yourself would do to improve the program?
,,I would absolutely recommend the program and the Excellence Center in Palestine to others. Palestine is my favourite country in the Middle East and it has many opportunities for students who are interested in the Middle East, and who are keen to learn the Arabic language. I totally recommend studying Arabic in Palestine.
Our second interview took place with Justin from the United States of America. He came to Hebron, Palestine in December 2016 to study Palestinian Arabic for one month.
Justin, why did you choose Palestine to learn Arabic?
,,I chose Palestine because of the price, people, and its safety. I was very curious about the country, its culture, and its people and the life here.
Justin, why did you choose the Excellence Center?
,,It looked very professional on the internet first impressions are very important. It is one of the first webpages that you see while searching for programs in the Middle East; so, I made the decision to come. It was very convenient from the beginning.”
Justin, apart from studying Arabic in Palestine, how do you spend your free time?
,,I normally talk to Palestinian people around town. I try new restaurants, coffee shops, and I spend some free time with other volunteers.”
Justin: Would you recommend others to study Arabic in the Middle East, and Palestine in particular?
“Palestine is really a comfortable place to learn Arabic. Palestinian teachers are very kind, professional, and open minded – they have an international spirit! The teaching materials could be improved – for example, colorful laminated flashcards would help to memorize the vocabulary.”
Our final interview with Arabic Student participants was with Mary who is from Australia. She came to Palestine to study Arabic for four weeks.
Mary, why did you choose Palestine?
,,I wanted to study Arabic, and I was searching for the most convenient place within Arabic countries in the Middle East. I selected Palestine because there are better conditions than in other countries I decided.”
Mary, why did you choose the Excellence Center?
The Excellence Center website is great as it has all the needed information about Palestine. Additionally, I wanted to stay with a Palestinian host family. The Excellence Center offered that option, so that’s why I applied to this place.”
Mary, apart from studying Arabic, how do you spend your free time in Hebron, Palestine?
“Sometimes I just spend time with my host family. This has been really cool because I got an opportunity to spend time with just Palestinian people. If I’m not with my family, I am travelling around Palestine on my own.”
Mary, would you recommend studying Arabic in Palestine?
“I would definitely recommend studying Arabic in Palestine. I have only a suggestion to create some quiet study room for students because sometimes there is a really noisy environment and it gets difficult to concentrate for studying.”
We now shift to interviews with some of our Arabic teachers. Here is an interview with Duaa Kasim who is a Palestinian teaching Arabic at the Excellence Center.
Duaa, when did you start teaching Arabic at the Excellence Center?
,,Almost 4 years ago. I like to meet international people and to get to know new cultures. I am also able to improve my English during my lessons with English speakers which I really appreciate.”
Duaa, why did you choose to work at the Excellence Center ?
,,I wanted to try something uncommon and get a new working experience. I have had lessons almost every day since last year. I am teaching all the levels and I like that diversity because sometimes it is nice to have beginner students; and, of course, I really enjoy teaching advanced Arabic students.”
Duaa, are you remain in contact with your students? Was there anything in particular that you liked about their cultures?
,,I am in contact with most of my Arabic students, and we are still in touch on Facebook. It affected me in a way that motivates me to visit the countries of my students, especially Spain.”
Duaa: What are your plans for future?
,,I would like to complete my Master’s degree, and then I would like to teach international people Arabic and travel to different countries.
Learning Arabic in the Middle East and Palestine in particular provides the international student with the opportunities to meet Palestinian people, live the Palestinian daily life, learn how to cook Palestinian food, and to travel around Palestine and Israel.
The most unique thing about learning Arabic at the Excellence Center is its warm, joyful, and positive learning atmosphere. We believe that the Arabic teachers and the foreign volunteers and students really enjoy and thrive in their work and study at the Center. The people at the Excellence Center, volunteers, students, staff, and teachers are highly motivated and dedicated to learning. We believe that it is this attitude which is key in keeping the Center as successful as it is now and even more so in the future.