A cultural and academic adventure! December 20, 2018

By (other) - abroad from 09/01/2018 to 12/20/2018 with

Study Abroad in Egypt at the American University in Cairo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worth it! I learned so much about the world and people. Not necessarily from the classes I took, but just by living and being emerged in this country.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

On site, there is a lot of help and support with administrative tasks. Especially in the first week, they help you with all the necessary work.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

There are options on campus, but I preferred to live in Cairo. Cheaper and culturally a more interesting experience.

* Food:

Food is very good in Egypt! Also a lot of vegan options, and very cheap. Food on campus is a bit more expensive, but still cheap and there is a lot of choice.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It is difficult to really integrate when you do not speak the language. On campus, everyone CAN speak English,

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Heath care is very easily accessible on campus.

* Safety:

Every morning you go through security gates on the campus.

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

Finances

* 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)

Food and living costs are very cheap. Even transportation costs almost nothing.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? probably 15 dollars on food per week. 80 dollars including rent and expenses.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Uber is very cheap, but public traffic, like the metro and (school) buses are even cheaper.

Language

* 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

Students always speak Arabic among themselves, so you are very much stimulated to learn Arabic. However, it is a very difficult language to learn.

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Cultural adventure
* What could be improved?
  • cross-border communication
  • English level of Egyptian students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would describe my semester in Egypt as an enormous cultural adventure! Coming from a western country, going to Cairo is a big change. About 95% of the students, so in my case, I was the only international student in most of my classes. Luckily, all the courses are in English and all the teachers (and most of the students) are fluent in English and do not mind switching from Arabic to Engish when you join the conversation. The campus is very luxurious and has a beautiful garden where you can sit if it is not too hot outside. The buildings were a bit of a maze to me when I first arrived, since they are all in the same Cairo architectural style, but that is just something to get used to. There are campus dorms that are very safe and look very comfortable. However, they are quite expensive and there is sometimes a waiting list. There are plenty of (very cheap) housing options outside of the campus. It is easy to team up with other internationals in the first week to find an apartment together. The travel time will be a bit longer, but the school bus is comfortable (about 1.5 hours on average from the Cairo city center to campus, for around 2 dollars) The classes at AUC we easy to follow for me and the teachers provide generally enough information to practice, evaluate, and receive feedback. Most teachers give graded homework and pop quizzes next to the exams, a bit like in High School. The staff members warned me not to take too many "difficult" courses, however, the courses here are easier than in European universities. So don't be afraid to challenge yourself :) Before arrival, communication through email was a bit slow, last-minute, and incomplete, which caused some surprises and issues in the first week of arrival. Luckily, on campus the students and staff are very helpful, they helped me solve the issues. There are enough places to ask for help and support. Overall it was a worthwhile adventure that changed my perspective on culture and the Middle East, and I have learned many life lessons inside and outside the classes.