* 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.