Kate stands amongst the Great Pyramids during one of her first excursions in Cairo.
Overseas Study Program
Kate's majors: Communications & Culture, LAMP
Term abroad: Spring 2009
Reason you chose this program: I chose the AUC Cairo program because I wanted to further my Arabic language skills and because I have always been interested in Ancient Egyptian History.
Favorite classes: My favorite class was photography because my professor there was a photographer for National Geographic. He took the class on field trips to non-touristy villages to get real field experience taking photos.
Describe the housing situation: I lived in a dorm that was located in the heart of Cairo, on a tiny island called Zamalek. My roommate was American, but both native Egyptians and international students lived in the dorm. I loved living in the dorms in the city as oppose to the dorms on campus because the campus was surrounded by desert, whereas in Zamalek, busy city life never sleeps.
Best memory: I really don't have one best memory because I loved every minute that I was in Egypt. If I had to pick one memory though, I would have to say it was the first time I saw the Pyramids of Giza. There are no words that can fully describe the magnificence and awe you feel as you look up at the gigantic structures. I just kept thinking to myself, 'I am standing next to The Great Pyramid,' still intact from 2560 BC when Khufu commissioned it to be built.
Biggest Surprise: I was not expecting for people to be so nice and hospitable in Egypt. Everywhere I went, I was kindly greeted by people. Also, I was not expecting to feel safer walking alone in Cairo than walking in a big city in the U.S.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: I had a greater experience with reverse culture shock when I came back to America. It felt strange not to read signs in Arabic or greet strangers on the street with "salaam".
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would... have stayed for an academic year and not a semester.
Going abroad versus staying on campus, discuss: There is no discussion. Going abroad is the best experience. Some things you just can't learn from being in a class at IU, like how to bargain the price for a cab ride to the market in Arabic. Sure, you could learn how to say, "I will only pay five ginea for a ride" in Arabic, but actually using it in a real life situation is completely different.
Fact about your host country that you think people would be surprised to learn: Egyptians don't consider themselves Arab, because that is used to describe the people of the gulf countries, like Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. As my friend Adham from Cairo said, "Egyptians are Egyptian."