Frequently Asked Questions

Some of our most frequently asked questions are listed below. If you have a basic query, please check here first before contacting us.

Click on a question to view the answer:

When can I volunteer?
Volunteers are accepted on to our programme all year round.
I’m not a professional musician, am I still eligible to apply?
The majority of candidates that apply for positions on our programme are university music students or professionals pursuing careers in music. However, do not let that deter you from applying if you are not a full time musician. We entertain all applications. Remember that many of our students are beginners; hence volunteers can make a lot of progress with our students even if they are not vastly experienced or qualified.
I am not a trained classical musician, but I do have a solid contemporary musical background. Can I still apply to your programme?
Of course, as long as your level of skill is sufficient we welcome musicians from all musical backgrounds.
I cannot speak Arabic; can I still volunteer?
Yes. There are local volunteers who help out in the centre and who help translate the classes for the international volunteers. On top of this, all of our volunteers avail of free Arabic lessons whilst volunteering with us. So, in time volunteers should be able to teach independently.
How much will it cost me to volunteer with Music Harvest?
You will be asked to contribute 500 shekels per month to cover the cost of your housing. We also ask each volunteer to make a US $100 contribution to our materials budget. This money helps us purchase supplies for our students and classrooms. That leaves daily expenses and the cost of the flight to be borne by the volunteer. Return flights from any part of Europe to Tel Aviv should cost no more than €400 at any time of year. If you are coming from the US then expect to pay $800 return from a city on the east coast to Tel Aviv. As for daily expenses, volunteers can get by comfortably on €25-€40 a week.
What children will I be teaching?
Our volunteers teach children from all around the city of Nablus. Primarily, these children are aged between 5 and 15. A lot of our students are beginners but we also have some more advanced students.
Is the programme meant to simply entertain children or are they serious about their music? Are all of the kids beginners, or have some had instruction prior to Music Harvest’s arrival?
Most children are complete beginners, some are intermediate (these are our old students from Music Harvest’s first couple of years in Nablus). Music Harvest’s main goal is to train a new generation of highly skilled Palestinian musicians. That means there needs to be a level of commitment, discipline and effort from both us and the children.
How many kids will be in a class?
Music Harvest is now concentrating on providing general introductory music classes to classes of no more than 15 children at a time. These classes will be taught by 2 volunteers at a time along with a local translator. We also have a number of students that are taught individually. They’ve been our students for the last couple of years.
Is there a language barrier? Do children speak or understand any English?
Many of the children speak some English, some better than others. But, yes, you will encounter a language barrier every day and need to be able to handle the communicative divide with a positive, constructive attitude. Our local volunteers at the centre will help you too.
How do I get a visa to work in Palestine?
Procuring an Israeli work/volunteer visa for work in Occupied Palestinian Territories is practically impossible. Normally our volunteers work with us on Israeli tourist visas. If you are a citizen of the following countries, you do not need to obtain a visa prior to arrival and you should receive a three month tourist visa upon entry into Israel.

Europe: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. Asia & Oceania: Australia, Fiji, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines. Africa: Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland. The Americas: Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, St. Kitts & Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, U.S.A. However, as diplomatic relations between countries are prone to change, make sure that you check with your Department of Foreign Affairs/Foreign Office regarding Israeli visas prior to your departure.
Are there any special political developments regarding security we should keep in mind?
For security concerns and policy, please read our Policy Handbook. Overall, the West Bank has been quiet over the last years and living in Nablus feels like living in any other city in the Middle East. However, the general security situation is unstable and often unpredictable. Music Harvest maintains contact with respective embassies, and executes all policies relating to the welfare of their citizens.
The tourist visa form stipulates that I need an invite letter from my contact in Israel, what should I do?
You do not need any letters of invitation or prior contacts before entry into Israel. Of course, if an Israeli citizen wants to make the effort, bring the letter along.
Do I need any additional permission for getting into the West Bank once I have the Israeli Visa?
No, once you have received an Israeli visa at the airport or border crossing, you will not need additional visas or any other form of legal permission to enter the West Bank.
I’ve got Syrian/Lebanese/Egyptian/Iranian stamps on my passport; can I still get into Israel?
This should pose no obstacle to your entry. However, one should anticipate lengthier questioning.
I am arriving at Ben Gurion airport late at night. Is it better to stay overnight in Tel Aviv and then cross to the West Bank the following day? Is it possible to get to Nablus at night, or advisable?
It is best to stay in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem for the night and travel to Nablus in the morning. Bus services to Nablus from Jerusalem stop after 9pm, and the whole trip takes approximately 4.5 hours. It is possible to take a night-bus to Jerusalem, and then take a taxi to Nablus – which will be very expensive – but we do not advise it.
What exactly happens when you get checked at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank?
As a foreign national you will not be subjected to the same treatment as Palestinians or Arabs. Depending on the checkpoint you will have to: queue; show your passport to the soldiers; let them scan your possessions; and then move on. Most checkpoints in the West Bank are currently unmanned, but you will encounter them on your way in and out of the West Bank.
How many hours do I work a week?
Our volunteers work a maximum of four to five hours a day, five days a week.
Can I travel to other countries at weekends and during public holidays?
Yes. In fact we encourage our volunteers to travel as much as possible during their stay with us. This will enable you to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the history and beauty of the region.
Could I be put in contact with previous Music Harvest volunteers or people who would be going out at the same time as me?
Yes, this request is always facilitated for volunteers accepted on to our programme. Candidates applying for a position on our programme will not be put in touch with previous volunteers until they have been accepted on to our programme.
Who will I be living with?
All of our volunteers live in accommodation provided by Music Harvest. Each volunteer will be sharing a room with one other volunteer.
What are the sleeping arrangements like? Should I bring a sleeping bag?
All amenities are provided for, including sheets, pillow covers and other essentials. Of course feel free to bring whatever creature comforts you need.
What are the health services like in Nablus? Where do volunteers go should there be an accident?
There are a number of hospitals in Nablus with services to deal with everyday illness and disease. When our volunteers get sick or have an accident, we send them to the hospital next door to the centre Mustashfa Anjaylee.
What type of clothes can I wear in Nablus?
While volunteers walk the streets of Nablus and attend classes they are expected to dress modestly. Volunteers must understand and respect local norms relating to dress. Women in particular should dress modestly and be aware of local sensitivities. Women should wear tops with high necklines, preferably tunics and loose trousers. If women choose to wear skirts/dresses they should extend to the ankle with no side slits. Men should wear trousers and shirts that extend to the elbow. Shorts are not acceptable attire for men either.
Do I need to wear a veil or burqa while living in Nablus?
No. However, you are expected to dress modestly as described in the Volunteer Guide. In Nablus many women do not wear the veil and burqas are rarely worn by women here.
Is there any night life in Nablus?
Nablus is a particularly conservative city. There are no bars, off-licences or night clubs in Nablus. If you want to go out for a few drinks you will have to go to Ramallah or Jerusalem. Alternatively you can adapt to the culture in Nablus and frequent the nargileh/sheesha bars or go to one of the many knaffeh patisseries which Nablus is so famous for.
Are there any ATMs in Nablus?
Yes, there are numerous banks and ATMs that accept Mastercard, Visa and Maestro.
Can I receive post while I’m in Nablus?
No. The closest international post can get to Nablus is Jerusalem.
Should I bring my own material to teach the children from?
We have our own syllabus in the centre that we work from. However, feel free to bring over other material that you feel would be useful. The volunteer co-ordinator will go through this with volunteers prior to departure.
Do you need me to bring any books, strings or other items with me for Music Harvest?
In general, we will inform you if we would like you to bring any extra items with you. However we encourage volunteers to bring all the useful books and scores that they have, so that we can make copies for our library.
I’m arriving several days early. Would it be possible to stay at the centre or will I need to book a hostel before my placement starts?
Depending on how many days early you are, and how many beds are left in the apartment, you are welcome to stay with us until your placement starts.
How do I apply for funding from the European Volunteer Service (EVS)?
If you are interested, please contact us and we will forward you our EVS manual.
Should I bring my own instrument with me?
If it is not a major inconvenience for you to bring it with you, i.e. it fits in hand luggage on your flight, then we encourage you to bring it with you. If you have a larger instrument like a cello, it’s advisable to leave it at home and use the instruments that we have in the centre in Nablus.
How do I get to Nablus?
1. From Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv:

  • Take the Sheirut taxi (55 shekels) to Jerusalem, ask to get off as close as possible to Damascus Gate.
  • From Damascus Gate (“Bab el Aamoud” in Arabic) walk up the road to the Arab Bus Station, and ask for the Number 18 bus to Ramallah (6 ½ shekels).
  • The service will drop you off on the main road in Ramallah city centre. The bus station is just a bit further down this road on the opposite side. So, cross the road and go up a ramp to the second floor of the bus station. From here take a service to Nablus (17 shekels).
  • Huwwara checkpoint is now unmanned so you don’t have to walk through it any more. Just stay in the service and it will drop you off at the city centre, in front of the new mall. When you arrive give us a call and we’ll come down and pick you up.
2. From King Hussein Bridge, Jordan:

First Possibility
  • After crossing the Israeli border take a bus to Jericho (“Ariha” in Arabic) (25 shekels). The bus will be quickly checked by the Palestinian police.
  • At Jericho service station, take a service to Nablus (55 shekels). If you do not look like a foreigner or you speak Arabic fluently let the driver know that you are not Palestinian! All foreigners have to enter Palestine through Huwwara so the driver has to do a detour for you.
  • Huwwara check point is now unmanned so you don’t have to walk through it any more. Just stay in the service and it will drop you off at the city centre, in front of the new mall. When you arrive give us a call and we’ll come down and pick you up.
Second Possibility
  • Take the Sheirut taxi (35 shekels) to Jerusalem, ask to get off as close as possible to Damascus Gate.
  • From Damascus Gate (“Bab el Aamoud” in Arabic) walk up the road to the Arab Bus Station, and ask for the Number 18 bus to Ramallah (6 ½ shekels).
  • The service will drop you off on the main road in Ramallah city centre. The bus station is just a bit further down this road on the opposite side. So, cross the road and go up a ramp to the second floor of the bus station. From here take a service to Nablus (17 shekels).
  • Huwwara checkpoint is now unmanned so you don’t have to walk through it any more. Just stay in the service and it will drop you off at the city centre, in front of the new mall. When you arrive give us a call and we’ll come down and pick you up.