Cairo, Egypt’s booming capital, is one of those cities that, despite rapid modernization and development, just can’t seem to shake off its deep-rooted connections with traditional culture. For real, though — the Pyramids of Giza, a wonder of the ancient world, form the backdrop to the business and commerce skyscrapers that line the cityscape. Talk about a city of contrasts. With plenty of opportunities to pick from, studying abroad in Cairo is an ideal chance to practice your Arabic, boost your grades, and explore all of the amazing sites that span millenia. What are you waiting for?
What you need to know to study abroad in Cairo, Egypt
There are plenty of subject options to choose from while you study abroad in Cairo. Whichever you choose be sure to incorporate some Arabic language classes, you have the whole city out there to practice them in!
Popular subjects to study. Study abroad programs in Cairo often focus on business and commerce related disciplines. This links in well with Arabic language skills and can be combined to form a full package that will boost your future career prospects and make you stand out from your peers. Other programs focus on the language alone, allowing you to develop a strong level of comprehension. Course options are not limited to these; some local universities offer their full curricula for study abroad candidates, giving you more choices that you’ll find incense scents in the local souk.
Short term and summer programs vs. long term programs. There are plenty of short-term study abroad programs in Cairo, which sandwich nicely into a summer break. Those looking to spend a little longer in the city will, however, benefit from a deeper level of immersion in the language and culture. Language students in particular may wish to consider a semester, or ideally, full year program if they really want to lock in fluency.
Attending universities vs. other program types. Many study abroad programs in Cairo are co-hosted by local universities — great news for your ability to integrate with Egyptian peers! This gives you the chance to learn from new perspectives, as well as put your language skills to use as you socialize.
Life in Cairo for International Students
Cairo is developing rapidly, and the city’s younger population are moving forward far quicker than their elderly relatives could ever have imagined. This creates an intriguing culture of modernity framed within a traditional setting. The older generations continue to follow strict Islamic beliefs, shopping in tiny markets and focusing on family life as a central tenet.
The younger residents and students are reshaping tradition to meet the demands of modern society. This makes life for a student studying in Cairo all the more interesting as you intermingle with the different walks of life; see how Egyptian students are balancing their religion and culture within modern living.
Most programs will include accommodation, making it easier for you to focus on your classes. This will usually be student accommodation or shared housing with other participants, opening up a further social opportunity. Life in the city is low-cost if you eat like the locals and shop at the traditional market stalls. Spend some time getting acquainted with your new home, finding the best spots, and putting those Arabic phrases to use, habibi.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for study abroad students in Cairo
Cairo is a tourist hotspot (I mean, who doesn’t want to see that Sphynx?) and you may be targeted by touts and local businesses who think you’re just passing through. The best way to get around this is to bump up your Arabic language skills, pronto, and put them to good use! Being polite and courteous will get you far, and you will quickly gain the respect of the locals if you are seen speaking their language.
Cairo is also a largely Islamic city, meaning that anyone showing off their shoulders or knees will instantly be identified as foreign. To maintain a low profile and, more importantly, be respectful of the culture, pack plenty of lightweight and loose clothing items that are also conservative. This will allow you to stay cool and covered up!
Most of all though, embrace it. To study in Cairo is to assault (in a good way!) your senses in every which way. Make the most of your time exploring the city’s winding backstreets, dining on kofteh and shawarma, sipping tea, and soaking in a culture that will contrast to much of what you have experienced previously.
We’re at the end of this guide — that souks! Want more? Gobble up our comprehensive guide on studying in Egypt.