Palestine Summer Encounter

Palestine Summer Encounter participants will be able to live with a Palestinian host family; meet with both Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers and advocates; volunteer with a local school, church, summer camp or grass-root nonprofit

travel to sites of historical, religious and political significance; and study Arabic inside and outside of the classroom setting. Check out some of the opportunities that you can join this summer. The program is one of many possibilities and is sponsored by Holy Land Trust and Middle East Fellowship.

Here are the basics

Everyone is Welcome! Palestine Summer Encounter is a program for men and women of all ages and nationalities!

Live with a local Family Participants live and share meals with a local Arabic-speaking family in Bethlehem or neighboring cities Beit Sahour and Beit Jala.

Study Arabic The summer encounter includes an intensive Arabic language acquisition program for beginners as well as other academic programs.

Volunteer Each participant will utilize their unique skills and talents to serve as a volunteer at a local nonprofit, children''s summer camp or humanitarian organization.

Be a Witness for Peace Participants will be exposed to daily life in Palestine and will meet with dozens of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations and peace activists.

See the Sites Every weekend, participants will have the opportunity to visit different sites of historical, religious and political importance. Some sites may include: the old city of Jerusalem, Haifa, Nazareth, Ramallah, Hebron, Qalqilya, the Dome of the Rock, the Nativity Church, etc., etc. There is normally a total of 8 weekend trips.

Dates & Costs (Summer of 2014)


The program is divided into three sessions:

Session One: May 22nd—June 18th, 2014 

Session Two: June 19th—July 16th, 2014 

Session Three: July 17th—August 13th, 2014


May 2: Final Payment for Session 1 due. Remaining payments must be received by this date in order to participate in the first session of PSE.

May 16: Final Payment Deadline for Sessions 2 and 3. Remaining payments must be received by this date. If you have problems meeting this deadline, please contact us to arrange a payment plan.

Participants are welcome to join us for one, two or three months but are encouraged to join the program for at least two months if possible to fully take advantage of the opportunities the program has to offer.

The first listed day of each session is the day which participants should plan to arrive. Activities will begin the following day. The last listed day of each session is the day participants should plan to leave (unless they are staying on for the following session). So, for example, if you are just participating in the first session your flight should arrive on May 22nd. The orientation will take place the following day, May 23rd. 

Please be aware that the prearranged weekend trips and classes from the first session are often repeated in the third session. Those joining us for all three months are encouraged to utilize more of their time during the third and final session focusing more intensely on other aspects of their experience (time with their host families, personal projects, volunteer opportunities, etc.) This only has an impact on participants registering for all three months.


The cost of the program is dependent on the length of your trip:

One Month: $2,030 USD
Two Months: $3,390 USD
Three Months: $4,160 USD

This price includes:

  • Breakfast and dinner 
  • Housing with families
  • Arabic course and lecture series
  • Transportation from Jerusalem
  • Weekend excursions
  • Tips for drivers and tour guides
  • Arabic text book (if needed for class)
  • $150 Registration fee
  • Preparatory Materials
  • International Cell Phone for participant use (returned at end of program)
  • Basic medical travel insurance

The price does NOT include:

  • Airfare
  • City transportation (taxi, bus)
  • Lunches
  • Visa and departure tax


To register directly on the site, please click here.


There are many possibilities to choose from:



For many participants of years past, the most rewarding part of Palestine Summer Encounter is living with a Palestinian host family.  Whether you practice Arabic with a host sibling or help prepare traditional Palestinian food, you will probably learn more in the living room than in the classroom. Holy Land Trust has a wide range of contacts among Palestinian families living in Bethlehem, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala. Additionally, we have contacts with families in three refugee camps in the Bethlehem area: Aida, Deheisheh and Azza. Participants who want to live in a refugee camp should mention this on their application.

Host families provide all of their guests with a place to sleep, breakfast, dinner and, when possible or appropriate, access to laundry services (normally a washer and dryer). Anyone who has special needs or request in relation to their home-stays should contact us about it least two months before their departure date.



Palestine Summer Encounter (PSE) is designed to build relationships and the Arabic classroom material will primarily help you to communicate with locals. We will provide a beginner's Arabic class focusing on the Palestinian colloquial dialect. Intermediate level classes are also available. To take full advantage of your time, however, we encourage you to think of the classes as just one small component of your Arabic study—even more important is the time you spend practicing what you learn in real life situations (with your host family, at your volunteer opportunity, etc.). In addition to Arabic study, we are offering a number of other academic tracks, including: Nonviolence in Palestine, Regional Politics, Theology and the Land, Comparative Religions and the history of Zionism.



Every Palestine Summer Encounter participant serves their host community through a volunteer placement at a nonprofit organization, summer camp, municipality, school, hospital, church or community center. Some of the more common volunteer opportunities and assignments include: writing/editing documents in English, teaching/tutoring English as a second language, coaching sports, supervising activities for children or youth at a summer camp, working with the elderly or the disabled, web design and maintenance, art (teaching art/supervising mural projects), manual labor (painting classrooms, etc.), research, and public relations.


Checkout the Video of last years Palestine Summer Encounter.


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