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American University of Beirut
American University of Beirut American University of Beirut

American University of Beirut

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Community

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    7

Unexpected

I had a number of very high expectations upon studying abroad at AUB, I thought I was going to learn Arabic quickly and easily for instance. However, while a lot of those expectations weren't met, they were instead replaced with a new and deeper understanding of what it means to live in an unfamiliar place where you don't know anyone for four months and the experience taught me a lot about independence and resourcefulness. My advice would be to try to be extra social with other AUB students, as sometimes it can get kinda lonely just hanging out with other international kids.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    10

Study abroad 2018 AUB Lebanon

Academics: Great facilities, great faculty (with some variation, of course), valuable education all around. Please note, this is not a typical study abroad program. You will be able to skip have your classes and travel around the continent (for many reasons). These are rigorous courses, so only come to AUB if you want to have at least a somewhat-serious semester. To be fair, I took 5 courses and 3 of them were graduate courses. I found the faculty to be easily accessible and I was able to meet with all of them throughout the semester for various reasons. Biggest issue is course selection because international students don't have first pick due to timing, but if you are persistent they will let you into whatever courses you have chosen.

Adjustment: Lebanon is the meeting point between Europe and the Arab World and as such the adjustment is much easier than it would be in other Arab countries (this I can vouch for personally). There is a mix of language, religion, and background, so foreigners are not as noticeable. Of course, Lebanon is not Europe, so you should be ready for regular minute-long blackouts, trash on the street, buying drinking water, etc. I will say that AUB is extremely modern and western, and so is its area of Beirut, so that will not be a big transition from Williams. I purposefully integrated myself into groups at the university and therefore into Lebanese society, but I had an American roommate and was not staying in a homestay, so there were limits to my integration.

Harassment: Very little harassment of women, people of color, or LGBTQ individuals. One interesting aspect is that most black people in Lebanon are African and on temporary contracts working as house help. There is a racist element that was hard for people on my program to ignore (and many actually studied it in their classes), but there was never any outright harassment of students because of their race. Remember that there are few rights for LGBTQ people in the region, but as long as you are street smart there should be no problems. I had multiple LGBTQ friends that were just fine.

Would I recommend: Absolutely! The main concerns people may have about Lebanon are safety concerns, but Beirut was the safest city I've ever lived in. I felt totally safe at night to walk around by myself. To be fair, I lived near the university, but the main idea is that if you are smart then you will be fine. There were some minor clashes while I was there because of the election between supporters of different parties, but I felt safe the whole time and Lebanon is currently quite stable. Hezbollah is not considered a terrorist organization there and poses no real threat to students. Heads up, Lebanon is not cheap and the cost of living can fluctuate wildly along with you lifestyle choices, but is no more expensive than a generic European city.

Fun Facts: I joined a varsity sports team and volunteered throughout the semester with Syrian refugees. I also did my best to explore the country, going to different areas and checking out ancient ruins and hiking in the cedar forests. There are so many opportunities you can take advantage of!

Overall I chose this program over others because of the unique history of Lebanon, the exciting character of Beirut, and the excellent education at AUB. There is less of a need to speak Arabic here, which has its pros and cons. You will not be able to do a full language immersion here if that is what you are after. On the other hand, this is an incredible experience that involves less uncomfortable culture shock (from a western perspective) but still exposes you to new ways of life and thinking (and is FUN)!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    10

Memories for life in the most underrated country on earth

As I sat down to write this, I simply couldn't find a proper place to begin.
How do I fit everything I have seen and learned in 6 months into just one review?
Well, I couldn't. And it probably won't be interesting reading elaborated details from my everyday life. What I can tell you however, is that those 6 months that I recently spend abroad in Beirut, has been the most incredible time of my life.

Beirut basically has everything that one could ask for. It holds a long and rich history, it is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and mountains, it offers some of the best food in the world, and the inhabitants are welcoming and warm as few.
Yet, Beirut still struggles with the reputation in the Western world.
Born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, I have to admit that my knowledge about Lebanon was rather limited until I decided to apply for AUB. Living in a Western country, one can easily be affected by the picture that is painted in the media. A picture that is based on the medias tendency to lump together all Arabic countries of the region. My best advice for those who think about going - Don't let the media shape your understanding - Lebanon is a perfectly safe place to both live and visit.

Personally, I decided to arrive with an open mind-set, ready to learn and understand every possible aspect of this place. An approach that definitely made settling down much easier, but also made the process of socializing and building friendships much easier.
I even arrived 3 weeks prior to semester-start, since I imagined that settling down and getting used to new norms would take a while. After 2 days in Lebanon, I realized that I already felt pretty home. The people made it so easy to feel welcome, and I never felt unsafe. (It is worth mentioning, that I am a 6 ft 5 Danish male, therefore, I cannot talk on behalf of other genders or ethnical backgrounds).

Life is Beirut is easily accessible and it does not talk long, before you feel like an integrated part of it all. Also, Beirut might appear as a huge and confusing city upon arriving, but it quickly turns out to be fairly manageable and with most neighborhoods being in walking distance (If you like to walk for more than 5 minutes).

On an academic level, AUB offered a wide array of courses that matched my major (Media Production and Management). The level and workload was as you would expect from a well-respected school. I consider myself lucky, that I got to take courses that focused in the media-landscape, how they portray war and how we access information in general. This eventually turned into tools, that affected my way of understanding my own approach and understanding of what I experienced along the way.
This was an awesome way of applying information that I was taught in everyday life.

AUB also became my "intersection" of social relations and a lot of the friendships that I built along the way happened because of social events planned by either the school or the mentor-group.

I just realized, how this review turned into the exact rigmarole that I said wasn't possible 3 paragraphs ago, but hey, if you're still reading at this point I assume that I must have done something right. (Right?)

What I have been trying to say is, that Beirut is such an awesome place to be in, and that it, despite the reputation, holds so much value and gave so many life-changing experiences to a guy like me. I returned to Copenhagen 3 days ago, and I miss Beirut and the Lebanese way of life already. There is so much to see and so much to learn, and the memories and friendships that I take with me are worth everything.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

Spring '18 visiting student

My experience at AUB was enjoyable and exciting. I took 3 courses as a visiting student. The campus is the most beautiful campus I have ever laid eyes on. The students and faculty are diverse in origin and opinion which made for many interesting discussions. Everyone was helpful when contacted and Lebanon is full of places to go and things to do. 100% recommend.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

MBA from AUB

Choosing a business school was a major decision, and my number one goal was to position myself for an international career. I chose to focus on the Middle East & North Africa region because of its rapidly-growing population and demand for skilled talent. The MBA program at AUB's Olayan School of Business was exactly what I hoped for. As a non-business undergrad, I benefited greatly from the classes and workshops. I also had the opportunity to represent AUB at 3 business case competitions in Canada, Hong Kong, and Germany. Most importantly, I can credibly work with companies and business leaders from across MENA. Today, I'm based in Dubai and working at one of the world's top consulting firms. Anyone considering studying in this part of the world should have AUB and OSB at the top of their list.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    4

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

AUB

Lebanon is a great place to study abroad to gain insight. That being said, don't expect to improve your Arabic outside of the classroom, as everyone speaks English. Moreover, the academics (at the grad level) are not on par with American universities.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    9

Semester abroad at AUB

I studied abroad at AUB during the spring semester of 2017, and I must say it was one of the best experiences of my life. AUB has a very vibrant campus and student life, and it is very easy to meet people and immerse yourself in the local culture and adopt the Lebanese lifestyle. The classes were for the most part very interesting, and I left with a brand new take on the region's culture and societies. I highly recommend taking classes in their anthropology and sociology department. The campus is very well located, and it is very easy to explore the city. The office of international programs was really great at helping us make the transition to AUB as smooth as possible. They organize great events and trips around the country, and I really advise you to take advantage of that.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Amazing experience in Beirut

Was by far the best time of my studies! I met so many incredible people and had the chance to see so much of this great city and country. It is the perfect mix of culture, academics, people and adventure. If you have the chance, just go!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

Summer semester at AUB

In 2015, I spent 2 months from June to July as a study abroad student from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to the American University of Beirut. Being Lebanese in origin, and having had many friends at AUB, I quickly found it easy to settle in and become accustomed to the general living experience of Beirut. That being said, it is a bit different to what people are used to in the US, but that comes with its pros and cons. Life in Beirut is generally never boring or dull, and there are always new things to explore and do, whether from a cultural, academic, or social perspective. The University offers the best education in the region, and the courses I took were with helpful, well informed professors. I found that the procedure for getting actually enrolled in the courses and going through the registrar was a bit tedious and over complicated, but once that was done, everything flowed smoothly.

Living in Beirut gives people a really big chance to explore Lebanese culture to its fullest. You meet people from all backgrounds, different religions, cultures, and countries, and you start to get the real experience of what it's like to live in Lebanon, which is completely different to what people generally hear about in the media. Lebanese people are very social and love meeting new people, so it should not be hard to settle in.

If you're someone who likes to get involved in clubs and societies, the university offers a lot of options as well as different sports and other activities to keep yourself occupied. Beirut is also one of the best places in the world for nightlife, so if that's something you're interested in, you'll find plenty of great things to do.

All in all, the experience was everything I wanted it to be. I got to reconnect with friends, meet some great people, explore Lebanon in a way I didn't get to before (since I left to the US for university right after high school), and take courses at a really great university. The campus was beautiful, the people were helpful, and the overall experience was genuinely enjoyable.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

Best experience

I spend one semester at AUB and it was by far the best experience. The universities international office is excellent, always helpful, patient and well structured with a Buddy programme. The Campus is beautiful with really nice facilities as pool, running track, gym. The cultural experience in Lebanon was without words, people are super hospitable, the food is amazing and I did not feel unsafe for one moment during my 6 months. I would recommend to everyone to go to Lebanon/study at AUB it is a experience that will truly change you and you will not forget it.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Student exchange at AUB

I spent one semester at AUB, studying at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Since I attended only graduate seminar at one of the least popular departments, I made few friends at the university. This is sad, considering the fact that I had no-one else than my college buddies in the city. I had to look outside campus to make new friends, which was more difficult. Had there been more activities, excursions, cultural evenings etc. organised (I am talking Fall 2012 here), it would have probably been easier for me to adapt to the new environment. Nevertheless, the activities that the Office for International Programmes did organise were nice and made me feel I was a part of that community at least for a while.
When it comes to the programme, it was good mainly because there are/were very few graduate students studying in my field and we had almost one to one tutoring with professors at times. A small number of students does however have disadvantages - there are not so many courses to choose from.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

Exchange program at AUB

I spent a year at AUB from Sept 2015 to Sept 2016. The administration was warmly welcoming, efficient, organized and planned a lot of trips and travels to discover the country. I had the chance to study both modern classic Arabic and Lebanese dialect and that's probably the highlight of the classes I took there. All the facilities on campus can moreover allow foreign students to meet other AUB students with the numerous clubs. I can only recommend such a destination for an Exchange Program!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Community

    N/A

Very interesting experience, excellent university

For me, AUB was a great chance to immerse myself in a region I otherwise would have known very little about and at the same time get all my credits transferred easily because of the American university system.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Community

    6

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    3

  • Academics

    7

Culture and academia in one jar

I found the professors at AUB very inspiring, and I learned much about Lebanon and the Middle East from my courses at SOAN and PSPA. I enjoyed the diversity in the different courses, and I found the curriculum very relevant and interesting. Besides the academic part, AUB did very good community vice. For me it was a whole new experience to enter a campus which offered everything from gym to choir. The mentors did a very good job planning different activities and cultural trips through out the semester, and they were always happy to answer questions whenever we needed it.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

AUB is a great experience

AUB's reputation is second to none in the Middle East. I found the faculty and facilities to be impeccable and easily on par with top tier institutions in the West, including IVY League schools. I think that AUB's faculty are under-rated. I found them to be simply excellent. The experience overall was excellent.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

AUB - best place to study Arabic and Middle Eastern studies

A semester of Middle Eastern Studies at AUB - you are headed for a great experience! The university campus is situated beautifully above the Mediterranean sea in the midst of the student and intellectual area of Beirut. I found the university facilities all modern and on the highest standard, including the gym, the library and seminar rooms. Both administrative and teaching staff were all extraordinarily skilled and friendly. I found AUB the best place to study contemporary history of the whole region through the public conferences and cultural events hosted by AUB during my stay. Beirut is an exciting place to stay and there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself into local and regional culture.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Academics

    7

Exceptional from the beginning to the end

Whenever I come to a new place, a new city, a new country, I am understandably excited. It's the unknown, the new that leaves more questions than answers and you are forced to find answers to some of the questions to at least settle in. What are the basic words to get around? Where are my classes? Wjhat's the shortest way to uni? How do I get from A to B? How much do I have to pay for service X and when am I scammed? What's the best food? Good weekend escapes? Good bars?

Normally, as soon, as I have found the answers, my excitement level drops back to regular. I'm in a new place. Alright but well, at the end it's just a new city, a new country, a new environment. Nothing out of this world.

That was different in Beirut. AUB, Beirut, Lebanon are hard to put into words. Life is intense and exciting every new day as an exchange student. After two months, I recognized that something was odd. I did a reality check and realized that my excitement level had never dropped back to regular but instead stayed in the upper half between regular and super excited for the entire time. Coming to AUB was the best decision I could have taken. Interesting classes, a spectacular campus, fellow students that turned into friends, great sport facilities a dedicated international office team and above all a city and country that has so much to offer. And with that I also mean the downsides that are obvious. I embraced it all, the upsides and the downsides, as both are part of my AUB, my Beirut, my Lebanon experience and almost 2,5 years later I wouldn't change my decision. My only regret: I wasn't able to stay an entire year.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    8

Amazing experience

I had an amazing experience studying at AUB, a worldwide renowned university. I especially enjoyed the beautiful, centrally located campus and the quality of teaching. I recommend AUB to anyone who wants to study Arabic and discover Lebanon.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Studying abroad at AUB for two semesters

AUB is an amazing university in an even more amazing city. The classes are great, although I would advise undergraduate students studying social sciences/ humanities to take graduate level classes instead of undergraduate level classes at AUB whenever possible. I found the graduate level classes to be more interesting. Beirut is an amazing place and you'll learn an incredible amount just by living there.

If you are going there to study Arabic, I recommend taking as many "services" (shared cabs) as you can while traveling around Beirut. The drivers tend to be very talkative and that will give you a great opportunity to practice your Arabic (especially if you get stuck in traffic and a 10 minute car ride turns into a 30 minute trip). This is because it is easy to fall into the trap of only speaking English with your friends from AUB, and rarely getting the opportunity to practice Arabic except for in class (I'll admit that this is a mistake that I made).

The people who run the international students program at AUB did a wonderful job and they were incredibly helpful. Megan Scanlon, in particular, was an amazing aid to have while I was first adjusting to life in Beirut. The office for international students also organized lots of very affordable excursions for international students to go and see all the beauty that Lebanon has to offer. They also are very helpful when it comes to figuring out how to renew your visa.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Habibti Ya Lubnan

My experience in Beirut, Lebanon was nothing short of magical, thanks to the wonderful program at the American University of Beirut. First, the university offered such a variety of rich courses, presented from an alternative point of view to my own context (which I found essential to my experience in Lebanon). Second, the campus was constantly hosting a number of lectures and panels from various departments, which again offered a new perspective pulling experts, scholars and activists from all over the region and the world. These lectures in particular really forced me to think critically about my own global perceptions.

AUB also really created an inviting and warm community through the Office of International Programs. This office was critical for me to better understand my context, feel comfortable in the country and of course to meet my friends here. Moreover, the social events and support offered by OIP gave me a much more holistic understanding of Lebanon, making the country's beauties much more accessible. Its staff and students were always there to provide support, advice and friendship.

Anyone considering spending time in the Middle East should really consider Lebanon, and more specifically the University of Beirut. After this experience, I have a much richer grasp of the country's culture, history and people. And now, I don't want to leave!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

AUB is a dream, just like Lebanon

I don't really know where to start when I think about how to describe my semester at AUB--wonderful, amazing, fantastic--the words don't do it justice!

My professors in the Anthropology and Sociology departments were some of the best I ever had. They challenge you and open you up to new ways of thinking that makes you want to go to class. OIP is super helpful and the exchange student mentors are actually really nice. AUB offices can be a hassle to deal with, but everyone there genuinely wants to help you and see you succeed. Even if you get stressed out with the administration you don't have to look too far to calm down again: campus cats, 3,000 TL manushe, wonderful student friends, cool bars and restaurants, and solid weather almost everyday makes it hard to not be happy in Beirut.

If you are looking for an adventure, do it. Beirut is a gem and you will definitely not leave Lebanon the same person as when you arrived.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Everyone should go to wonderful Lebanon

My experience at the American University of Beirut was one of the best I have ever had.
From the first day you walk through the gates into this beautiful campus you will feel certain that your semester will be fantastic.

You will be met by a wonderful fun and very social group of mentors, who will guide you safely into your stay at AUB and in Lebanon in general.

The professors at AUB are very professional and I was able to learn a lot about very specific things. They all had a lot of passion about their specific topic, and all taught with high enthusiasm.
The selection of courses at AUB makes sure, that there is something for every taste and degree.

I will highly recommend AUB to everyone.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Facilities

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

Lovely Experience in Beirut

Dear all of you,

I can totally recommend the opportunity to study abroad for one or more semester at AUB. The staff was always friendly, professors really good and the overall feeling was like coming home each time I entered the campus. But a bit more in detail:

Lectures:
I'm an industrial engineer from Germany, so I used to have most of my lectures at the business school. OSB ist located right next to the seaside in a nice-looking building. The quality of the lectures was high and I really enjoyed the many discussions we had in class with the professor. Plus: I also had a lecture which had nothing to do with my normal background but was in politics.

OIP:
The first address you will go to in AUB is the OIP office. Those guys are really amazing. They take care of everything for you and if you need help OIP staff and the mentors are your first contact persons. They will guide you through the registration process and organize trips on weekends to various sites in Lebanon.

The Campus:
As mentioned before, AUB campus ist right next to the seaside. Private beach, gyms and simming pools included. The campus itself is very pretty and probably the place with the fastest internet in Lebanon (you won't believe that while waiting in a queue for your meal at lunch time).

Beirut and Lebanon:
I was overwhelmed by the friendly and warm welcome I got everywhere I went to. I lived in Hamra, off campus and made new friends quickly. Lebanon and Beirut both are absolutely amazing and worth a visit. There's no need to be afraid of something, if you're in doubt whether it's safe to go somewhere or not, just ask your lebanese friends, mentors or OIP.

All in all:
Thumbs up for AUB and Lebanon!