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LunaSea

Studying in Cairo

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I got accepted into the American University in Cairo for a Master's in Middle Eastern Studies. I've never been to Egypt, but I look forward to living in the Middle East for the first time. Many people have told me cautionary tales because I am female, I'll be moving there alone, and can only speak basic Arabic, but this doesn't seem to trouble me. Can anyone give me first hand accounts of the city or the school? Shukran.

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Lunasea, I'm Egyptian, though not from Cairo, but i've been there a lot. Don't worry about being a female in Cairo. I'm a female myself so i can tell. Cairo will probably be the safest place you have ever been to, mainly because it is very very crowded. Just take care that the Egyptian community is a conservative one. So, if you are walking alone downtown, a skimpy top or a mini skirt will get you stared almost by everyone passing by. But don't worry, these guys are harmless. AUC has recently moved to a new campus in New Cairo, which is a little bit far but i know that it provides daily bus services from downtown. The other thing you should know is that fees for most services including taxi fares are negotiable , so there will be a lot of people who will think you are a tourist and will try to charge you 50 times the price. Ask an Egyptian about the average fare before you take a taxi. People are very friendly here. Feel free to ask me about anything specific.

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Thanks so much for your help! Most of the "insight" I've received has been from those who have not been to Egypt, so making a decision has been difficult. I have a question about travel. If I am dressed appropriately, and can speak basic Arabic, would it be unwise for me to travel to Alexandria for a weekend by myself? Or even travel elsewhere in the Middle East or North Africa? Hopefully I'll have made friends who would want to travel with me! But I am trying to prepare myself for how limited I will/will not be in my independant endeavors.

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