Studying in the West Bank had Many Benefits Past Review

By (Government, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University) for

Birzeit University: Birzeit - Palestine and Arab Studies Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My Arabic is much better than it was before. I got to visit the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which meant a lot to me, and I gained greater understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is so influential in American foreign policy.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were longer, the workload was more, the grading system was harder.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All of my expectations were met. We had great housing.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

It is very hard for vegetarians, so luckily I am not one. Cheapest food is falafel or shawarma sandwiches. Don't eat at restaurants where the Westerners go to eat, because they will make it more expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went on a field trip to Northern Palestine. It was very fun.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Palestine was very safe, but green-line Israel is only moderately safe for Arabs or Muslims as are settlements, and areas near settlements. Once on a field trip, I was told to stay away from a fence near a settlement, because an Israeli soldier, seeing my hijab, might not know that I was American and shoot me.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent around $50 a week on food and personal expenses.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Spend money wisely because buying food can add up and be expensive. All of my luggage disappeared at the Israeli airport, so I had to buy all new clothes.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Modern Standard Arabic 1
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced my language everyday in interactions with local people. Not everyone spoke English.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students