Life-Changing Cultural Experience November 08, 2021

By (History, Gettysburg College) - abroad from 08/23/2021 to 12/23/2021 with

Study Abroad in Egypt at the American University in Cairo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot in the classroom, and enjoyed my classes a lot. The cultural experience was the best part, and the thing I learned and grew the most from. It led to interesting friendships that I will carry with me when I leave, and many off-campus experiences helped further my understanding of concepts, ideas, and histories I was learning about in the classroom.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes can vary in difficulty quite a bit depending on the program and the professor. The classwork itself is generally easier than my experience in the US, but the exams can be more difficult than normal. The library is very good at providing resources for study and professors are always willing to help for students who ask.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The IPSO office is fantastic at assisting international students both for on-campus processes and also working with government processes like visas.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing is very good and conveniently located. Issues are rare but when they occur, getting them fixed takes a while.

* Food:

Eateries on campus provide a good variety of food for low prices but high quality. Malls nearby provide fancier, more expensive options.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The main AUC campus is in New Cairo, which is a very Americanized, very wealthy area. While it helps make culture shock easier at the beginning of the semester, it feels removed from the downtown Cairo feel. However, transport to downtown Cairo is easy and affordable for students who wish to spend time there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

COVID rules at AUC were generally good but lacked serious enforcement. Students normally did not follow masking or distancing guidelines even when asked directly by campus staff. Health center protocols were confusing and frustrating, and led many students to avoid visiting health center for non-COVID related injuries or illnesses.

* Safety:

Campus security is really great, and security overall in Cairo is very good. Major safety concern is traffic - crossing and traveling can be stressful and lead to minor injuries very easily. On-campus safety and security is exceptional.

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

AUC met my academic expectations and helped me proceed in my undergraduate program. More than that, it was a fantastic cultural experience that changed me for the better.


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Campus housing is more expensive than off-campus housing, but both are affordable. InDriver is a good alternative to Uber that is much cheaper but generally lower quality.


* 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

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? Arabic 101
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Many Arabic-speaking students on campus are happy to practice with you. Learning conversational words is extremely easy and very useful. Speaking with other students made my language better and led to some fantastic friendships.

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
  • 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?
  • Cultural Experiences
  • Travel Opportunities
  • Curriculum
* What could be improved?
  • COVID-19 Transparency
  • Orientation
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? There is another group of internationals through the Tomorrow's Leaders scholarship from other countries in the MENA region. These students are extremely hard-working and also studying internationally. They became some of my best friends and were huge assets in navigating culture shock early on.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.