Caught in a whirlwind of romance and history, Alexandria, Egypt is a Mediterranean city at heart. Alexandria was founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great and quickly became a pillar of culture and education for the Graeco-Roman Empire, of which it was the capital. Modern Alexandria has a strong artistic community with beachy vibes and deep layers of history. Living in a city mixed with Armenian, Greek, Jewish, and Egyptian influences is a unique experience for any study abroad student.

Photo credit: A.Essmat.

Popular Attractions

Library of Alexandria, Kom es-Shoqafa Catacombs, Fortress Qait Bey, Alexandria National Museum, Montazah Palace and Gardens, Roman Amphitheater, Anfushi Tombs, Nile River Cruise, Pompeii Pilar, El Salamalik Palace, Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque, Selsela Cafe

  • Student Discounts: Displaying a student card will provide discounts at local historical sites and museums. The Alexandria Library provides a substantial discount to international students with a student card. If you're itching to check out museums, the Alexandria National Museum also offers a large discount for students.
  • Cost of Living: Egypt is an inexpensive country in comparison to the United States and the United Kingdom. Alexandria, Egypt is also cheaper than Cairo, Egypt's capital. Numbeo is a great resource for determining the cost of living in particular cities and countries. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Alexandria's city center is about $170 USD, while outside the city center rent lowers to around $90 USD. The cost of a monthly public transportation pass is about $21 USD, an inexpensive restaurant meal $3.50 USD, and beer $1.50 USD.

An Egyptian student visa is a multi-step process that begins after arriving in Egypt. Students first obtain a general tourist visa upon entering the country, which costs $15 USD. Within 30 days of arrival, students need to complete their student resident visa application. To note, a student's passport must be valid for at least six months upon entry, they need to have two personal passport photos, a photocopy of identification stating where they live in the United States, and a copy of their airline tickets. Make sure to contact your university's study abroad department for assistance in applying for a student visa.

Things To Know

Modest dress is important and should always be observed, especially for women. Women must cover their shoulders and legs while in public.

Do not drink the tap water! Stick with bottled water. Along the same vein, be careful of fresh juices as they could contain unfiltered water.

Bring a supply of your medical subscriptions with you, as they may be difficult to obtain while in Egypt. The weekly day of rest is Friday, making the weekend Friday and Saturday. Sunday is a normal workday.

Tipping a modest amount for most services is considered normal and a restaurant meal with great service could garner up to a 10% tip.

Public Transport

Alexandria's public transportation system consists of buses and double-decker tramcars that run through 38 stations throughout the city. It is the oldest tramway network in Africa and is one of only three non-heritage tram systems in the world with double decker cars. The tram is the cheapest way to get around Alexandria, costing about 3 cents US each ride. While it is not the fastest means of transport, most travelers agree it's a fun, authentic experience. Don't be caught unaware; the first train in the car is usually women only.

Local Areas of Interest

Considered a must-see by most visitors to Alexandria, the 360 acre Montazah Palace and Gardens was once the home of King Faruk, the last Egyptian monarch. The complex contains five beaches hosting an abundance of water activities; the three-story palace encircles a huge open-air hall and the sprawling gardens house rare and well-maintained flora.

The Kom el Shoqafa Catacombs are a spooky, fun experience while staying in Alexandria. Tunneling down 115 feet, there are three levels to this necropolis dating back to the 2nd century AD. These important tombs contain artistic inspiration from Pharaonic, Roman, Hellenistic, and ancient Egyptian cultures. Just east of the catacombs lies the famous red granite Pompeii Pillar. This memorial column rises 92 feet into the sky and was constructed in honor of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who aided the people of Alexandria in difficult times.


Alexandria, the "Pearl of the Mediterranean," is ripe for exploring and studying. Find yourself wandering through a city that once staged the greatest love affair in history: Anthony and Cleopatra. Soak up the sun along the Mediterranean coast all while taking in the history of centuries past. Appreciate the various cultures that influence day-to-day life. Make the choice to have a unique study abroad experience!

Contributed by Alecia Weaver


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