Egypt- A Challenging but Invaluable Abroad Experience Past Review

By (Pre-Law/International Relations, American University) for

Study Abroad in Egypt at the American University in Cairo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely! Studying abroad should be a requirement for every American college student, regardless of area of academic study. Our world is too small and shrinking too fast for our students to not have first-hand knowledge of another country.

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.

Took classes with Egyptian students, taught in English by Egyptian professors. Very different teaching styles and expectations between professors: one was very lax, let the students run the classroom and negotiated with the class as to when the final exam would be taken, in what format and how long. Another professor was much more strict, expected her students to complete the reading and come to class ready to discuss. She did not allow anyone to come to class late or turn in late assignments.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Fair administration- I did not have any problems up-front with paperwork but it took several months after I returned to get all of my course credit fully transferred. Much of the difference was cultural, as Egypt seems to operate on a different conception of time than the U.S. does.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was extremely satisfied with the housing. I would have loved to have stayed with a host family, but that was not an option. So, I was in an apartment with other American students and we were conveniently located close to campus. The apartment was large, sufficiently furnished and cleaned for us every other week.

* Food:

I loved the food in Egypt! Though there are not grocery stores on every block as in the U.S., there are plenty of produce stands and stall markets to meet basic needs. Egypt also has a lot of native cuisine that is vegetarian-friendly, so I did not go hunger in any sense of the phrase while I was there!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Field trips were arranged for international students through the school, but I only went on two. The first was a day trip and, while worthwhile to see the sights, was poorly organized and way behind schedule by the end of the day. The second trip was an overnight experience and unfortunately had many of the same issues that the first trip had. Again, worth it for the sights but run differently than one would expect in the U.S.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I went to the health clinic once but it was not well-run. I needed to speak with a GP but wound up discussing an allergic reaction with a cardiologist who could not do anything for me other than write a useless prescription. The clinic was also located off-campus and difficult to find. We received a thorough safety briefing at the beginning of the semester and a second, girls-only, presentation a few weeks into the term. The briefing was incredibly helpful in preparing us for what life would be like living as a Western woman in Egypt and I was grateful to have had the presentation prior to starting classes.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

I took one language class with a number of other international students, from places such as Japan, Germany and India. Beyond practice in class, the only other practice I was able to achieve was with my American roommates.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

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

  • Americans