Beirut Past Review

By (Anonymous University) - abroad from 08/13/2018 to 12/14/2018 with

American University of Beirut: Beirut - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying abroad in Beirut was the best decision of my life. I went primarily to practice my language skills, but by the end of the trip, I had traveled up and down the country, made loads of friends of all different nationalities, and learned to navigate the energetic city of Beirut! By the end, I felt like I really belonged in the city, not because I had learned how to assimilate and keep my head down, but because I felt so welcomed, and that the pleasure I had in discovering a new country was matched by those who were showing it off to me. It's worth noting that I plan to return to Beirut to obtain a masters degree. This is a place you will want to come back to!

Review Photos

American University of Beirut: Beirut - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo American University of Beirut: Beirut - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo American University of Beirut: Beirut - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo American University of Beirut: Beirut - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo American University of Beirut: Beirut - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Most of my classes were incredible! I took every opportunity I could to take classes in my majors which are not offered at my home university; for example, Islamic Philosophy was my favorite course of the semester. I went to the office hours of several of my professors quite frequently, and I always felt welcome in asking questions of varying relevance to the course material! Because I rely so heavily on services like RateMyProfessor, I did not think to ask students about certain professors and courses before signing up for advice is to find ways to do this so that you don't waste time with courses that most people would know not to take. But overall, my academic experience was very good.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There are some bureaucratic difficulties that I had to get used to. Most people in the administration want nothing more than to help you, but there are unfortunately a few systematic "feedback loops" which prevent this from happening with expediency. Priority was always given in emergency situations; my frustration is more with the day-to-day exegencies of being a student.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Kerr hall, and I had a great experience! Any time an issue came up, the maintenance workers were quick and friendly in taking care of it. The common area was a great place to hang out, watch soccer, and commiserate about exams!

* Food:

It's Lebanon! If you didn't come here for the food, we can't relate!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This was truly the best part. Obviously quite a bit of this category is reliant on how willing you are to step outside of your comfort zone, but the international program was great about organizing fun trips and activities, aimed at showing off the beauty of Lebanon and its people!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I only became sick once, and had to visit a pharmacy. The visit was quick and inexpensive.

* Safety:

I often walked far distances home at night, sometimes alone. This was not from of a lack of accessible transportation, but because I felt so safe in Beirut that I wanted to take advantage of every possible opportunity to walk through the city!

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

I did not have the benefit of university support in my studies in Beirut, so I chose to apply as a "visiting student." There were many difficulties, as I essentially had to do all the work of a study abroad office, as far as transferring credits and things like this, but the experience was absolutely worth it.


* 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)

Beirut is fairly expensive. I tried to cook most of my meals to save money, but this can be difficult with a busy school schedule. Over time, I learned tricks to keep costs minimal, but these can take time to learn.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Get used to the bus/van systems as quickly as possible so that you can avoid taxis as much as possible. Don't eat at Malik Al Tawouk every day, tempting as that may be.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Three years of Arabic
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Most everybody speaks some amount of english, so be persistent in speaking Arabic! It's the only way you will get practice.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The natural beauty of Lebanon
  • The trips organized by the Ofiice of International Programs
  • The food
* What could be improved?
  • Communication with administration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A detailed breakdown of expenses, especially as regards food and everyday needs, would have been beneficial.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'