Alumni Spotlight: Michelle Alexander


What is your favorite travel memory?

I chose this program to study abroad in Cairo, Egypt, to give me an opportunity to reconnect with my roots.

My family is originally from Egypt and, having lived in the US my entire life, I have always felt so distant from my culture.

Studying abroad at AUC was the perfect chance for me to learn more about the Egyptian lifestyle, live in a country so different than what I know, study Arabic, and connect with family that I have in Egypt.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Due to the fact that my home university does not offer any programs in Egypt, they did not assist me with much when it came to planning my abroad experience. I informed them that I was choosing to participate in a non-affiliated abroad program, and the organization was on me at that point on. I applied to AUC independently and organized my travels.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

A piece advice that I would give to someone that chooses to study in Egypt is to put yourself out of your comfort zone, enjoy every day making the most of each opportunity, and soak up the culture as much as possible.

Moving to Cairo is already a leap of faith for most people, so you might as well immerse yourself in the uncomfortableness because the best growth comes from these times of discomfort.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

A day in the life in this program entails classes at the New Cairo campus.

I would have Arabic classes in the mornings, followed by lunch at the oriental food place on campus. We might hang out in the gardens and enjoy the Cairo sunshine, chat, do homework, play games, or just enjoy each other's company and the beautiful campus.

On days that I didn't have school, I would try and explore the city, head downtown to sightsee or visit family.

Overall, days were filled with lots of food, laughs, sunshine, and exploring.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going into my study abroad experience was that I would be lonely or not meet many friends. I went into the program pretty much solo and was afraid that I wouldn't find people that I connected with. This fear was almost immediately squashed because I met the most wonderful people. I went into the experience striving to put myself out there and be my authentic self. This taught me that being yourself will attract people to you who you'll connect with.

What was the biggest take-away from your abroad experience?

Living abroad taught me so much about the world, about myself, and about humanity. I learned that being true to who you are is so valuable, and the power of human connection is beautiful. Through connecting with family that I didn't know prior, to meeting amazing people from around the world, I formed lasting connections. Traveling and seeing how people different from you live teaches you so much. It gives you a new perspective and opens your mind to seeing the world.