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Marhaba: Volunteers in the Middle East
September 14, 2008

A fantastic introduction to the Middle East. While it was a bit daunting to take on the biggest, most bustling city the Arab world has to offer-- the Marhaba staff gave volunteers a great foundation and several advice-filled group meetings to ease us into the process of living in a completely new place.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My Arabic comprehension increased ten-fold. Having been a student of Modern Standard Arabic, the applicability of my studies was always lacking in the States. Being immersed in an Arabic-speaking environment forced me to pay extra attention and work extra hard at communicating-- my survival at times depended on it!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being in EGYPT! What a beautiful, cultrally rich and vibrant country. Marhaba planned several outings for its volunteers around Cairo, and with the free weekends, fellow group members and I would plan our own trips around the country. Almost every part of Egypt is very accessible and tourable with limited Arabic skills-- all you need is a Lonely Planet.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Marhaba did a splendid job of choosing its volunteers. People were brought in from all over the country and from all walks of life. I made great friends and am incredibly greatful for the 24/7 helpfulness of its staff members.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

truly be a cross-cultural organization; bringing Egyptians to the States and possibly bring down the hefty cost of the program for American volunteers.

Ways to make it better...

Program II had been planned out a bit more thoroughly and ahead of time. The description on the website was lacking, but even then, it was not what I was expecting.

One thing I'd also say is that...

the Arabic classes should have been more focused on survival Arabic and followed a better textbook.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I created lesson plans for and taught conversational American English to young Egyptian college students at Dar Al-Resala, Cairo's largest volunteer-run NGO.