this experience will change you for the better Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., SUNY Purchase) for

Study Abroad in Egypt at the American University in Cairo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The people that you meet here will change your life. Getting to know the city will quickly help you to feel like you've accomplished something grand. Dealing with the constant hassle of the city (the traffic, the pollution, the different customs, etc.) will help you be much more patient. Overall, this experience will change you for the better if you let it. But you have to take all the hassles you WILL go through in stride. For example, taxi drivers, especially the ones without meters, will often try to rip you off and get more money. Learn a few Arabic words and learn to walk away right away. If they don't get out of the car, then you gave them a fair price (sometimes even if they do, fight it). Just don't get too frustrated with it. This is how the city works.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+
The term and year this program took place: Spring 2010

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload is pretty easy, although I only took some basic classes in Arabic and an Intro class. My friends had the same feeling for their other classes. The main problem is that most of the students at AUC don't seem to care about doing work and so it's hard for you to care, also.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

It was ok. I did not use it much.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was unaware that you had to live in the dorms, which are not that great. You can find much cheaper housing elsewhere. You can even find cheaper housing in the same area of the dorms, which is good for making friends who are in the dorms. Also, the rules in the dorms frustrated people often. Make sure to live in Zamalek dorms and not on campus. It's much better.

* Food:

AUC does not have meal plans. Instead, you have to go out and eat all the time. Also, because you are in a dorm, you can't really cook for yourself. However, you can get a small fridge for the semester and that comes in handy for snacks and some other foods. In Zamalek near the dorms, there are plenty of fool and falafel places, a restaurant with Shisha called Goal, and a cheap place called Alex Top. There are also plenty of fast food chains and more expensive restaurants. Finally, something to note is that almost everything delivers! Try:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did not really attend most of the field trips and other events done by AUC, but I would recommend going to some of them. However, it is possible to do some of these same trips for less money than AUC charges you. Keep that in mind.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Cairo is a very safe city, much safer than New York City. The area around the dorms, especially, is very safe. However, I am a guy. The story is very different for women and I would advice a lot of caution for women traveling to Egypt. Again, it is a very safe city but too often I've heard stories of women getting sexually harassed. This includes hissing noises, comments on the street, suggestive gestures, flashing, and sometimes touching inappropriately. Another important note is phone harassment. Be careful who you give your phone number to because they might keep calling you repeatedly and possibly harassing you. For other health concerns I would add that you might get sick once in a while, but you quickly recover. Don't be afraid to try the street food! Also, the tap water seems safe enough to drink if you slowly get used it, but it is chlorinated. There are, though, cheap bottles of water everywhere.

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)


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Study a lot. Also, go out and speak to people in broken English/Arabic. Sometimes taxi drivers will talk to you for the whole ride. The best thing to do is to take the Colloquial Arabic class; it's way more useful in Egypt than the MSA class.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Any student that wants to have some experience in the Middle East would benefit greatly from this program. Once here you can travel to many of the other Middle Eastern countries for a very cheap price. You can get your fill of the Middle East. Also, if you seriously want to learn Arabic, you can definitely do this here, but it takes hard work.