Incredible Experience November 07, 2021

By (University of Washington) - abroad from 09/05/2021 to 06/01/2023 with

Study Abroad in Egypt at the American University in Cairo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
What you learn here depends on how much effort you put in. In the classroom, you can easily get by with only doing the bare minimum of readings, or you can participate more in discussions, ask professors about their research and tell them about your own, etc. Plus, the ARIC department always has interesting lectures and events about Arabic and Islamic studies. Outside the classroom I'm able to use Egyptian Arabic every day at the produce markets, in the cafes, etc.

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.

The classes and the professors are interesting and helpful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I chose to live off campus in order to feel closer to the city rather than campus. It's an hour commute, but worth it. Also, it's much cheaper to rent an apartment than to live in the dorms.

* Food:

The food on campus is pricey compared to off campus and downtown prices, but there is a good variety.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It is important to make an effort to integrate yourself with other Egyptians. Classes might be an option, and it's also a good idea to live off campus. The university is in New Cairo, which is far from downtown. Luckily, there is a free but that takes students from the various neighborhoods to New Cairo.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I have mixed feelings about how COVID-19 is being handled here. Firstly, campus and New Cairo are the only places where COVID is acknowledged. Downtown, you will see the occasional loosely fitted face mask, but that is all. On campus, the mask rule is enforced (kind of), and anyone that has symptoms can get a free or cheap test. However, anyone that gets tested is denied access to campus for a week regardless of the test results. This means anyone with a cold who wants to be responsible and get tested just to be safe must miss school.

* Safety:

Besides the stares and occasional cat calls, it is generally safe. On campus, women can wear pretty much what they want. Downtown, I dress more conservatively than usual, but not by much.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? around $100, not including startup costs or shopping sprees
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't buy at hypermarkets such as Carrefour- buy at small supermarkets or produce markets. Pay attention to how much things cost, because it varies by location. Soon you'll have enough price awareness and know when a coffee is "expensive" even if doesn't seem like a lot of money. Try to think in Egyptian pounds and not your home currency.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

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

  • 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Talented and engaging professors
  • Beautiful campus
  • Interesting university events-both academic and other
* What could be improved?
  • Better communication between offices
  • More opportunities to engage with local students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how hard it would be to study Arabic literature and (try) to learn Egyptian Arabic at the same time. I studied standard Arabic in undergrad, but I am still struggling here.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!