Gameda Fash5a Past Review

By (University of the Pacific) - abroad from 08/27/2012 to 05/23/2013 with

Study Abroad in Egypt at the American University in Cairo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Really try and LIVE abroad, not just study! Living in a bubble with fellow students is not fun, so take all the opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture, especially if that is one of your intentions in studying abroad!

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I did not really utilize this for I did my best to do things outside of the university in order to have a better understanding of Egyptian culture. They did provide a lot of weekend excursions as well as holiday American holiday feasts to help the Americans feel at home in Cairo.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I found housing all on my own by choice, I did not really utilize the services provided by the university in my apartment search.

* Food:

The food on campus was expensive and the fact there is an on campus McDonalds,on campus and overpriced food did not help with poor college students budget.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This university did not really try to engage foreign students with the local culture, but rather attempted to create a sheltered bubble around international students, I broke out from the university culture and began doing things on my own to feel integrated with the Egyptian community.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There was an on campus clinc... which was 45 minutes, an hour and 30 minutes away with traffic away from where I lived. Fortunately I did not suffer any major health issue while in Cairo.

* Safety:

By keeping international students in a bubble, it generally was safe, but even outside the bubble if one was smart it's not too difficult to maneuver around the city. Sexual harassment is prevalent and I feel the universities policy in instructing girls to ignore it could be better and providing resources to girls about sexual harassment and how to report such incidences to the police, etc.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Cairo is broke college student friendly if one is willing to really get into the local culture and forget about imported goods/cuisines. $500 US dollars is enough to sustain me for the month, including my rent and bills!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50


* 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

Arabic is difficult for I was taking Modern Standard Arabic, which is not spoken widely so it was difficult to practice those skills in the local people, so I focused more on developing Egyptian Colloquial Arabic.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had no prior experience
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Classes were in English
  • Holiday parties
* What could be improved?
  • Better methods of cultural immersion
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew the university was ONE HOUR AND A HALF outside of the actual city center. Commuting is terrible and especially when most of your day will be spent on campus, in the middle of a desert with construction of huge villas happening all around.