Cairo is the perfect study abroad destination if you like to explore new cultures, befriend interesting folks from around the world, and bask in warm weather! With so many excellent opportunities to pursue - including historical monuments, a vastly diverse culture, and a vibrant student life - studying in Cairo will be one of the most exciting and enriching experiences of your life.
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa, so you will never run out of interesting cultural activities and meaningful opportunities to explore while studying abroad there. Ready to study abroad in Cairo? Explore our expert guide and read reviews of study abroad programs in Cairo below!Photo credit: zolakoma.
Often called the City of a Thousand Minarets, it is both the cultural capital of the Islamic religion and a city adorned with some of the most incredible and intricate architecture in the world. Cairo is also home to the second oldest college in the world, al-Azhar University, and 20 other universities, so your academic opportunities here are bound to be top-notch.
Cairo is a gathering place for people from around the world (including, historically, ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Babylonians, and Romans), and the city’s rich and diverse culture reflects this. If you choose to study in Cairo, you will be exposed to a completely new world and you will have the time of your life. This guide, which explains many of the opportunities and challenges you will experience in Cairo, is the perfect tool to help you plan your study abroad adventure!
Culture and Immersion
Islamic religion permeates many aspects of Cairo’s culture, making the city a rich destination for anyone interested in Middle Eastern or religious history. Scattered throughout the city is an astounding collection of traditional mosques, dating from as far back as the ninth century. Exploring these sites will allow you to learn more about this unique culture and will give you a first-hand look at the backbone of the city.
Cairo’s diverse population has also inspired a thriving and unique art culture. The city’s music scene features a mix of modern pop tunes and more traditional folk influences (including heavy use of the harp). Cairo is also home to a plethora of artistic masterpieces from throughout history and a developing modern art movement. Any visit to Cairo will also be marked by the city’s cuisine, which features traditional pita bread and many Middle Eastern specialties such as baba ganoush and falafel.
Don’t leave Cairo without seeing these sites!
- Tahrir Square: This major public square in downtown Cairo is rich with history. It has been the gathering place for many political movements and the spot of some of Cairo’s most notable protests (including, most recently, the Egyptian Revolution of 2011).
- Egyptian Museum: This museum is home to the largest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the world, with over 120,000 items. Its Royal Mummy Room displays the mummies of 11 pharaohs from throughout Egyptian history, including the mummy of Hatchepsut.
- The Great Pyramid and Sphinx of Giza: These monuments, located only 15 miles outside of downtown Cairo, are some of the most notable and influential architectural masterpieces in the world. The Pyramid is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, while the Sphinx is the oldest (and one of the largest) monumental sculpture in the world.
Culture Shock and Support System
Living and studying in Cairo will be an incredible, life-altering experience, but it will also require some adjustment and may even be a challenge at times. Always try to respect local culture (including dressing more modestly than you may be used to). Also, try to keep an open mind; this will help you to adjust more quickly and have as fulfilling an experience as possible. Finally, be sure to choose a program that provides services and support that can help you during your adjustment.
There are many scholarships available to help you fund your study abroad experience in Cairo.
- The American University in Cairo offers a variety of scholarships and financial aid to international students.
- SIT also offers scholarships to students studying Islamic studies.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships
Cairo’s currency is the Egyptian pound. Overall, the city is quite inexpensive by Western standards. Although parts of the city can be expensive, as it is a tourist destination, you will quickly learn many tips and tricks to help you keep your costs low.
It is important to remember that bargaining is a part of life in Cairo, so you should always negotiate prices when you are shopping at a street stall or bazaar. It is pretty easy to eat well in Cairo without spending a lot, especially if you stick to shareable food like mezze (appetizer) platters, which include delicacies such as hummus and kebabs. A dinner at a typical restaurant in Cairo can cost as little as 5-6 dollars per person.