Summer Language Study Program — 2019
Jun 25-28, 2019 → Jul 26-29, 2019
During this four-week program you’ll experience an intensive introduction to the Arabic language through immersion in Egyptian culture. You’ll live with an Egyptian host family, attend Arabic classes, and travel with fellow AFS students to cultural and historic sites around the country. Many experts say that you can’t fully learn a language unless you’re immersed in it; by attending classes and then coming home to use Arabic around the dinner table with your host family, you’ll have a unique opportunity to improve your skills in an accelerated learning environment.
Egyptians like to relax and have a laid back approach to things—a common response to small problems or disagreements is ‘ ma’alesh,’ or ‘never mind.’ One example of how casual Egyptians can be is their sense of punctuality. It’s not considered rude to be late, even by a couple hours! Egyptians are also known for their excellent sense of humor and their love of jokes and sarcasm. Vegetarianism is not common in Egypt but many traditional dishes happen to be vegetarian anyway.
Your journey will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet your fellow AFS students from the United States. You’ll attend an overnight orientation, in which you’ll learn some basic information about Egyptian society and culture. Then you’ll travel together to Cairo where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers and set off to meet your host family!
On your way you’ll get to see the ancient and mysterious Nile River. Since so much of Egypt is desert, almost everyone lives near the river. In the cities and larger towns you’ll see people wearing everything from jeans to traditional robes. Donkeys share the streets with BMWs and simple dwellings made of mud can be seen next-door to skyscrapers.
AFS students have lived in communities all throughout Egypt but you’ll likely be in an urban or suburban area. Past host communities have included Alexandria, Cairo, El Fayoum, El Menya, Giza, Ismailia, Port Said, and many others.
Family in Egypt is extremely important and plays a major role in people’s lives. When you refer to your family in Egypt it doesn’t just mean your parents and siblings but your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins’ cousins, and so on. The role of family does vary a bit depending on region; in the more rural areas family structures are very traditional, while urban and suburban Egyptians are a little more flexible. For example, if you’re in an urban area, you can expect to be in an apartment rather than living with extended family in a big house. Egyptian mothers take pride in their cooking and it’ll really make your host mom happy if you’re willing to try whatever she puts in front of you!See where past AFSers have lived
During your time in Egypt you’ll be attending Arabic language classes 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks. All classes are taught by certified language instructors and are offered exclusively to AFS students. Beginner Arabic speakers are welcome, and you’ll receive close attention by instructors as each class has no more than 15 students. In addition to spending time in the classroom, you’ll have the opportunity to practice what you’ve learned in the community as you interact with your fellow AFSers and of course with your host family.
When you’re not studying you’ll be able to spend time with your friends and explore your community. Teenagers in Egypt enjoy hanging out in cafes, sports clubs, movie theaters, and shopping malls. Soccer is the most popular sport and you might get a chance to go see some live games.
Egyptians like to prepare elaborate feasts for special occasions. Some things you’ll find in almost every meal are bread, lentils, and fava beans. For breakfast most Egyptians eat beans and eggs. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day and people often take a nap afterwards. Falafel, fried chickpea balls, and koshary, a dish of rice and lentils, are both popular and can be purchased from street vendors all over Egypt.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.