An opportunity to get out of your comfort zone November 11, 2021

By (Political Science and Government, College of Charleston) - abroad from 08/26/2021 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?
The more I learn about Egypt, the more I realize that I don't know much about the world and myself. I am grateful for all my experiences because ultimately, they will allow me to develop me into a better individual.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My professors have all been really helpful and encouraging of my studies.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There are some frustrations in the beginning with when/how you purchase your student visa and how to pay for student housing but its really just getting adjusted to the "Egyptian time" that's necessary.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in the off-campus housing which is newer and nicer than the on-campus accommodations!

* Food:

There's a wide selection of food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living in New Cairo makes it feel like you're not truly immersed, however, ubering around the city is cheap and easy. But befriending the Egyptian students on campus will allow you to interact with the culture in a different way.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The AUC clinic is generally really nice and they are overly cautious about COVID-19. It can be frustrating to have to self-isolate (you're not able to return to campus/leave your dorm) even when you don't have COVID-19 but really, they have the student's best interest.

* Safety:

Everything on campus will be very safe. Egyptians will be more wary of safety than international students.

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)

Frankly, you can take a cheap route and you can take an expensive route. If you go out to eat at the restaurants in New Cairo or the ones along the Nile River, you'll eat through your wallet quickly. But generally, everything is relatively cheap in comparison to the states.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200+
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Meal planning! I spend all my money on food. Taking the AUC bus instead of ubering (if you live off campus).


* 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

I'm taking Egyptian and Modern Standard Arabic and both classes' professors encourage their students to speak outside of class.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 200 level Intermediate
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? If you want to get adapted to the Egyptian dialect before you come, maybe watch Egyptian tv shows or movies on Netflix? I self-studied kallimni arabi (you can find the pdf online) and practiced with my arabic profoessor a little. Best advice might just be to try to make friends with mostly Egyptians and not fall into the comfort of international friends.

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

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • the friendships I made
  • the non-language courses
  • the trips I made to surrounding areas in Egypt
* What could be improved?
  • teaching/communicating with international students on how to register for classes, pay for house, receive/pay for their visa
  • trust with clinic; it's not that the clinic is at fault per se, but the fact that students are afraid to go in for their cold/minor sickness because they know they'll get self-isolated for COVID is ridiculous
  • visitors within the dorms: I understand that COVID is a concern but it's not like students are bringing in groups of people into their dorms. Not being able to invite most people over makes it harder to hang out with friends who aren't international students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? • If you're a person of color, you will frequently face micro-aggressions • Eating bread with almost every meal is a given • What a bidet is (I doubt most Americans will ever ask/know/use it) • How worthless MSA is when speaking to Egyptians

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!