Studying at the American University in Cairo
The American University in Cairo
The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a private institution featuring an American-style undergraduate curriculum. There are approximately 4800 students with over 500 at the graduate level. Although the great majority of students at the university are Egyptians, there are substantial numbers of Arabs from outside Egypt as well as many Africans, Americans, Europeans, and Asians in the student body.
The Arabic Language Institute (ALI) is the university department specifically designed to offer intensive Arabic instruction to non-native speakers. ALI courses are open to diplomats, business people, and academics of all nations. CASA is a special program within the ALI for advanced students of Arabic. ALI and CASA share many of the same teachers even though they are separate programs.
Please note that AUC has moved to the new campus in New Cairo. You can find more information about this move online.
AUC Campus Life
AUC is an American-style liberal arts college, but the student body is predominantly Middle Eastern. For example, because AUC observes both Christian and Muslim religious holidays, vacation time is enjoyed in smaller, more frequent doses. Classes are not held on Friday or Saturday, and the school week begins on Sunday. Also, the fasting month of Ramadan necessitates a shortened working day and altered schedule.
The amount of contact a CASA fellow has with Egyptian AUC students depends upon his/her level of involvement in student life. There are several sports offered on campus: tennis, volleyball, basketball, handball, and soccer. Swimming, golf, and horseback riding are available at private clubs for a membership fee. Other campus activities include a folklore troupe, dramatics, the student newspaper, "Caravan" field trips, special interest clubs, art and crafts exhibitions, recitals, concerts, visiting lecturers, as well as parties and dances.
Social practice tends to be more conservative than it is currently on many American campuses. Long hair and untrimmed beards on men, revealing clothes on women, the smoking of marijuana, and the abundant use of four-letter words are generally frowned upon. The Muslim prohibition against hard liquor and the high price of liquor make drinking less common, and drugs are uncommon. Egyptian law prescribes severe punishments for persons found guilty of using drugs and even more severe penalties for those selling them.
CASA fellows have library privileges, both to use the library and to check out books. For more information, see the AUC Library. There are several computer labs on campus and CASA fellows have access to all services, including internet and printing.