People who love ancient history, archaeology, and even pop culture should consider studying abroad in Egypt. This mystical land evokes images of ancient royalty, pyramids, and magnificent monuments (not to mention tales of mummies running amok, haunted tombs, and cursed catacombs!). But modern-day Egypt is a far cry its golden age more than 2,000 years ago, though its cultural significance remains strong. The country retains much of the charm and romanticism associated with its past, thanks in part to the ancient structures that have weathered the millennia — a testament to ingenious engineering principles and globally influential architectural aesthetics.
Best Places to Study Abroad in Egypt
Egypt spans the northeast corner of Africa and the southwest corner of Asia and boasts the longest histories of any modern country. Will you get to dig up scarabs and moldy mummies? Probably not, but you can find Egypt study abroad programs that offer historical walkthroughs, giving you an opportunity to examine ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Cairo — the capital and largest city is located in northeast Egypt and offers the majority of study abroad programs. Marvel at the beauty of the Cairo Opera House, gather with new friends in cafés, and get a bird’s-eye view of the city on top of the Cairo Tower. With side trips to the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx and to the shopping center of Khan el-Khalili, some study abroad programs steep its participants in modern and ancient Egyptian culture.
Alexandria. The second largest city founded by Alexander the Great and once the seat of Queen Cleopatra lies on the coast of the Mediterranean sea in the northern region. Alexandria’s charms include ancient ruins including the Roman triumphal column known as Pompey’s Pillar and dozens of Roman-era baths. Excursions to the Alexandria Museum, the Bibliotheca Alexandria, and Montaza Gardens are a must. With four stadiums here, you’ll be able to get your fix of football and basketball.
Luxor. No, not the pyramid in Las Vegas. The “world’s greatest open-air museum” is located in southeastern Egypt with the Nile River flowing through it, and it’s the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes. Luxor boasts monuments, temples of Karnak and Luxor, and tombs. You can also explore the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, the Tombs of the Nobles, and more in the West bank area. For more modern activities, you can shop at a Luxor souq and watch a movie at the IMAX theater.
Popular Subjects to Study in Egypt
The possibilities for learning are limitless in Egypt. You’ll be able to find Egypt study abroad programs that offer culturally immersive experiences or more Western educational styles. Participants can enjoy sports and extracurricular activities along with their academic courses. Naturally, opportunities to travel around the country are included in every term.
Arabic. Studying in Egypt is ideal for those wanting to learn the Arabic language. From short-term classes to long-term to summer classes, you’ll be able to learn the language in small class sizes with one-on-one tutoring as well. What makes it appealing to those serious in learning Arabic is that the course encourages frequent interactions with locals, and requires foreign students to speak Arabic at all times.
Archaeology. Considering how Ancient Egyptian ruins still lives and breathes in modern day, it’s no wonder that archaeology is so popular here. With many of these study abroad programs, you’ll frequently have excursions to major sites in Cairo, Alexandria, and Upper Egypt. The ancient Arab world can give you unique viewpoints for designing and developing when you return back home.
Medicine. Why not gain insight into healthcare in Egypt while exploring the country?! Learn in established medical schools and obtain hands-on experience with patients and mannequins in various medical departments, such as pediatrics, emergency medicine, or tropical medicine. The clinical experience you’ll receive abroad will shine bright on your resume.
Just an FYI, as with most Arab countries, the weekend in Egypt starts on Thursday night and ends on Saturday, so studying abroad in Cairo will mean classes on Sundays.
Costs of Studying in Egypt
Before you crunch the numbers all over your screen like hieroglyphics covering the pyramids, consider that most programs fees in Egypt cover the cost of tuition, room, and board. The price tag will vary depending on the number of courses you take and the duration of the program as well as where your placement is located.
Luckily, the cost of living in Egypt won’t turn you into a mummy from shock, as it’s an affordable country to say the least. You can spend less than $20 on a nice dinner for two. You’ll quickly discover, however, that most programs expect students to cover the cost of personal expenses, additional travel excursions, and airfares. Scholarships and FundMyTravel are two available means to cover the costs of studying abroad in Egypt though.
Student Housing in Egypt
From homestay arrangements to apartments/flats to guest houses, your options will vary depending on the Egypt study abroad program and placement. Living with others is the perfect opportunity to make lifelong friends and gain international perspectives. If you think shared housing isn’t for you and would prefer to live independently, you could always look into renting a local flat at around $300 in urban areas.
If you want to talk and “Walk Like an Egyptian,” a homestay placement is your best bet to doing just that, as you’ll be immersing yourself with a local host family and learning the ropes of Arabic and local cuisines and traditions. While this experience may come with challenges along the way, it’ll be rewarding as you gain more insight into the etiquette and customs here.
Egypt Visa Requirements for Students
Students must have a visa and a valid passport with an expiration date six months after your departure date to enter Egypt. First, you’ll need a standard tourist visa, then you can fill out an application form for a student visa. You’ll also need to pay a fee and proof of a recent, negative AIDS test. Visa requirements can change, so be sure to ask the program coordinator for assistance and visit GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to locate the nearest consulate to get some of your questions answered.
Benefits and Challenges
While Egypt is a fairly safe place to walk around in the day or night, scams and petty thefts are common in some areas. Don’t fall for getting caught up in a stranger asking to show you their skills or taking you to certain places. Also, make sure you carry your bag across your body and that you watch your possessions when you’re in public areas. Occasional protests still happen as well, but most of them are not close to tourist sites, but be aware of what’s going on.
With so many immersive and cultural activities available through the study abroad programs here, you’ll get the most bang for your buck. The blend of ample ancient and modern sites makes for an interesting, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Whether you’re riding a boat down the Nile or visiting Pharaonic temples, you’ll feel like a Stargate SG-1 member while you’re exploring Egypt.
Still thinking about studying abroad in Egypt? Stop thinking and start acting! This fascinating and dynamic country is an important player in our global history and to study in Egypt is an amazing opportunity.