Encountered another space Past Review

By (Architecture, Anonymous University) - abroad from 01/15/2014 to 05/20/2014 with

American University of Beirut: Beirut - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained and learned more than I could sum up in words. The amount of things opened up to me and within myself, as I understood my reactions to new things, are intangible. New settings in general have a way of shifting our routines and simply because of that, allow us to examine things we didn't know existed within us and before us. Beirut for me was a perfect combination of familiarity and radical difference.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

AUB is a strong university when compared to others around the world. It's not perfect in it's academic rigor-- the students are still 18-20somethings, so some immaturity is to be expected-- but all things considered, I was always impressed with the student body, their breadth of knowledge and intensity and the professors willingness to entertain radical intellectual ideals.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration of my home school did not offer any help, but nor was I seeking any. I went outside the system and enrolled on my own. I was fortunate enough to have a great advisor and dept. chair that accepted all of my transfer credits.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I didn't live on campus, and I suggest not doing so. My experience was made whole by the environment of the neighborhood I was living in and the people I became friends with in my building. Being on campus is only a small sliver of the experience of studying abroad. I lived in the Qoretiem neighborhood, near Hamra. An interesting mix, although there are far more interesting places in Beirut-- but also hard to find an uninteresting neighborhood in Beirut.

* Food:

Very filling, thats for sure. Under-rated aspect is the prevalence of cheese varieties and olives. Spears street has a few late nigh cheese shops that I suggest. I also enjoyed the crossiant and crepes at a far cheaper price and availability that in U.S. of course there is falafel and shawarma and manoush, etc.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The first thing I realized upon arrival is how similar everything is-- but in a new way. I felt completely welcomed and at home with AUB and fellow young Lebanese. I found the public encounters to be opposite to the U.S., where americans tend to be polite with strangers and somewhat distant with relatives and friends. In Lebanon you may say on the public level it is more take-care-of-yourself, but once kinship or friendship is established, it becomes very communal and open. But blanket statements are usually untrue as a whole.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got food poisoning a few times, went to AUB hospital, it was fine. They have the same drugs there as anywhere else. Whatever.

* Safety:

The same amount of danger that exists anywhere else exists here. It's just that the type of danger is different. I remember someone asking me if I was afraid to go to school in America because I might be shot. I asked if they fear getting on a bus for it might explode. Yanni its the same, just different.

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)

Some things were cheaper (transportation), some things the same (tuition, housing, food)-- but everything in Beirut changes depending on where you go. A sandwhich on bliss street is not the same as a sandwhich in barbeer

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? mabarif
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? don't eat at the stupid western and bougy places in hamra, downtown, and mar mikhael, ashrafye every day-- and dont settle for the first broker found apartment either-- look on the beirut renter/rentees facebook page


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

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

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The energy
* What could be improved?
  • Assistance, or guiding, in housing search
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That it would be easier than I expected to find housing once I got there. I remember fretting and thinking I was going to be without an apartment-- but really the apartments are for the picking if you know where to look-- I shouldn't have settled on the first one that came my way-- even if it didn't turn out all that bad. Otherwise, the mystery of not knowing what to expect was quite wonderful.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!