Best decision I’ve made in college February 19, 2021

By (University of Pennsylvania) - abroad from 08/14/2019 to 12/21/2019 with

American University of Beirut: Beirut - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Extremely worthwhile. You learn a lot about the world just by experiencing it and meeting new people from different backgrounds and cultures. If you haven’t travelled much, I beg that you take the chance and you chose Beirut to make a new home in.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Will definitely have to do the normal amount of college work you’d typically expect.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They had an entire activity program dedicated to international students. I went on hikes, dinners, shows, etc with students from all over around the world. Met great people and had amazing experiences that I’ll always cherish.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived a block from my university so it was extremely convenient and close to the city. I lived off campus which I recommend and shared a room with my friend so it was very cheap.

* Food:

10 STARS!! I ate like a king everyday. If you love Arab/Mediterranean food, you’ll never want to leave. The food is so delicious and authentic (and affordable compared to America). There was a local shop near my house that I ate everyday and the workers always knew my order because it was so good and $2 for my favorite sandwich. I could rant about the food forever.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The people are so warm and welcoming, I felt comfortable my first week there. You will make a lot of great friends simply because they are great people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I only went to the doctor once, my school made it easy to make an appointment and gave me abroad insurance to make sure everything was okay.

* Safety:

I lived near an embassy so there was a lot of security in my area but overall, I was not concerned for my safety even during a revolution.

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

I miss it everyday! The people, the food, the nightlife, the culture, and the fact that every part of the country was so beautiful that I would always stare out the window whenever we drove anywhere.


* 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 was significantly cheaper than the U.S. so I was able to live a grand life on my usual budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50-$500
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Share a room if you can, my rent came out to $300 a month but in general you should be able to get housing under $500 if you want even as a single. Go to the local restaurant and shops on the day to day basis, the food is extremely affordable there.


* 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

I took Arabic class so I got some practice there but most people in Beirut speak English so I didn’t get much practice outside of the class.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 2 years of the language
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? Explore different parts of Beirut where native people only speak that language and get some practice there.

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

  • Americans
* 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?
  • People, everyone’s so nice!!
  • Food, I didn’t know Lebanese food was my favorite until I tasted it.
  • Architecture/general aesthetic of the place. The school was on a beach and every place I went to felt like a movie.
* What could be improved?
  • I had a few friends from school I went there with, I only wish I made a better effort to make more friends.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Enjoy every single day, even on days when you miss home. You’ll go back home but you’ll never get a chance to live like that again.