A Semester Abroad in Cairo Egypt Past Review

By (Political Science and Government., Wellesley College) for

Study Abroad in Egypt at the American University in Cairo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes--- my study abroad experience allowed me to contextualize my study of the Middle East and North Africa as well as further improve my language abilities.

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.

AUC had some issues with their online system--- professors, for the most part, tended not to rely on the internet.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an off-campus dorm provided by

* Food:

I was generally satisfied with the food offered in the dorms in Zamalek, and in nearby restaurants. The Zamalek dorm cafeteria provided a number of food options for vegetarians--- meat was actually always the most expensive item offered. It is also possible to rent a refrigerator and buy food at supermarkets in Cairo if you have any special cravings or dietary restrictions. One should come with the expectation that one may experience an initial phase of adjustment to the bacteria in Cairo--- unless you have a particularly well-traveled stomach (I had some stomach issues for three days early on in the program and was fine for the rest of the semester). For the most part food (there is no university meal plan) was not that expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Zamalek dorm organized trips to locations outside of Cairo such as Luxor and Aswan, and Alexandria as well as points of interest in the city (eg. the Pyramids; Khan al-Khili). Students also organized trips independent from the dorm with groups of friends--- I traveled to the Siwa Oasis in Upper Egypt; climbed Mt. Sinai; and visited Dahab with nine other students from my program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Food expenses can vary--- a meal can cost anywhere from 50 cents to 5 dollars depending on where you choose to eat. I usually (excepting weeks when I was traveling) spent less than 50 dollars a week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cab fare--- generally not that expensive but always a good idea to ask somewhat what the reasonable going rate is. Usually you bargain with the taxi driver for the price of a trip to a specific destination (there are metered cabs, but usually these are more expensive).

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I had an Egyptian roommate; language exchange partners and tried to use as much Arabic in everyday interactions as possible. Sometimes people in service establishments spoke English, but it varied.

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

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

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  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

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A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Academic rigor tends to be strongest in language classes--- the Arabic Language Institute at AUC is very strong.