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There's just something special about Egypt--the ancient atmosphere and ruins, coupled with the near endless list of natural wonders to see, not to mention the modern edifices jumbled with small villages. Egypt may very well be the world's oldest vacation spot in the world, as even the early Greeks and Romans would go there just for fun. Egypt's land is primarily desert, with about 90% of the country's population inhabiting less than 5% of the entire land (largely concentrated around the Nile); the nation's profound political position has a vital influence on the world even today. The country has grown into a vibrant society with a rapidly developing economy.
Don't live in denial--live in the Nile! Study abroad in Egypt and prepare to be amazed.
When it comes to selecting a program for your study abroad experience, be sure to inform yourself about ALL of your options. From language intensive courses, to programs that specialize in homestays, and everything in between, there's bound to be a study abroad program in Egypt that will be a great fit for you. Study the Arabic language, learn about the history of Egypt, or all of the above!
1) Language: When selecting a program for study abroad, be sure to take note of the programs' dedication to teaching the Arab language. Arabic is the official language of over 20 countries and there are well over 300 million native speakers of the language. There is a high demand and a low supply of Arabic-speakers in the western world. Lead the pack!
2) Housing: Living abroad can mean different things to different people. If you're interested in a true immersion experience, you would likely take advantage of any opportunity to closely interact with the locals, including participating in a home stay. On the flip side, if you prefer a bit more independence abroad, you may find an apartment is a more suitable living situation. Whatever you fancy, select a program that ultimately fulfills your desires for your study abroad experience.
SIT and IFSA-Butler programs in Egypt arranges shared apartments between students in the program, and are specially located in the Mohandisseen On the flip side, Where There Be Dragon's program organizes short term homestays for students with Bedouin families as they study Arabic while touring the Middle East.
3) Immersion and cultural activities: Many independent program providers will include small group trips in their program fees to complement students' learning experiences. These trips can range from a daily trip to a nearby sight or a longer venture out in the neck of the woods. Regardless of the excursion, most students find these activities to be a highlight of their study abroad experience (besides, there's really only so much you can learn in a classroom!)
To illustrate, SIT's program includes several site visits around Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, and elsewhere in Egypt, providing students "new opportunities to examine urbanization and development at different scales and in varying contexts, while also experiencing Egyptian, Arab, and Islamic historical and cultural treasures."
Even though Egypt's location and developed public transportation system allows students to opportunity to experience other European countries with ease, don't forget that Egypt itself is brimming with interesting and historically significant cities! Wherever you decide to study abroad in Egypt, you'll find amazing natural wonders and ancient ruins, so don't forget to take your camera and visit as many places as you can during your stay.
As the capital of Egypt, Cairo is a major cultural and political center, and is even the largest city in the Arab world. Though crowded and chaotic, it is chock full of stunning architecture and nods to yesteryear, such as the infamous Great Sphinx of Giza, the Egyptian museum (home to over 100,000 Egyptian artifacts including treasures from King Tut!), and mummies, statues, papyrus scores galore. As a modern city, you can explore history by day and enjoy the amenities of city living by night. As a warm and friendly city, you will enjoy exploring a city replete with cafes and ample cultural attractions (falafel included!)
Take a break from the congested Nile river valley and instead explore the northern coast of Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. Study abroad in Alexandria, Egypt's largest seaport and second largest city, which is home to 3.5 million people (all of whom enjoy the stunning seaside views along the numerous beaches!). The ancient capital of Egypt, Alexandria is also home to the largest library of the ancient world, once a place where great philosophers and scientists of that age came to seek knowledge. It's chic, cosmopolitan, and full of adventure--see it for yourself!
Egypt has a history that dates back thousands of years--history buffs delight at the profound influences from Alexander the Great, the Ottoman Turks, the Byzantines, the Arabs, and most recently, a move towards democracy, Egypt continues to be an interesting and politically relevant country as the world moves forward into the 21st century.
With tensions in the Middle East remaining even today, it is critical that the cultural understandings and cooperation between the US and Egypt move in a positive direction. Join the movement!
All of those visits to the hooka bar are going to add up! Don't let the cost of study abroad get you down. Scholarships are a great means for lessening the financial burden of a semester abroad. Here's just the beginning!
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