Studying Arabic in Egypt During a Crisis

Egypt_cairo_excursion-pyramids The crisis in Egypt has passed and AmeriSpan is no longer recommending against travel to Egypt.  However, we continue to caution all travelers to the Middle East and Morocco to remain extra diligent.  In Jordan and Morocco, the protests are largely peaceful but large crowds impact regular police work and we believe the risk for everyday crime like theft is higher today than a few months ago. 

AmeriSpan participant, John S., was learning Arabic in Egypt during the recent crisis and was kind enough to complete a questionnaire about his experience and outlook on the current situation.  Please note that AmeriSpan offered a full refund for any unused classes and lodging and when the US State Department issued a travel warning. We were unable to contact John due to blocked communication systems to find out if he was going to leave as they recommended. However, John is an adult and the final decision was his-  he chose to remain in Egypt.  Further, John mentions that he went to Tahrir square and watched the protests.  AmeriSpan does not condone this.  We want to be clear about this. When traveling abroad, we strongly urge our participants to avoid political protests, labor strikes and other confrontational gatherings.  This is the case whether in Europe, Asia, Latin America or Africa.

Special Note to Adult Participants and/or Parents: if you or your child is the type of person that is too curious and would ignore our advice to stay clear of political protests then avoid programs in countries or cities where there is some political turmoil.  Let's be clear, our staff and hundreds of our past participants have been in countries during coups, strikes, natural disasters and protests with no problems over the last 18 years because they AVOID the large gatherings and hot spots. Laws are different and you do not have the same rights that you have in your home country. There is no reason to take risks while traveling abroad.  In our opinion, John S. was fortunate but took unnecessary risks during the Egyptian crisis.

1. Prior to your program in Egypt, were you nervous about your trip? Did you research your trip?
I was not nervous, I enjoy a little adventure..

2. Did you take any precautions prior to traveling or after arriving?
I made sure my passport was good and contacted my bank to allow me to use my bank cards in Egypt.

3. Was the school helpful? Did they discuss the situation with the students? Did the school recommend any precautions?
The school was very helpful and offered good advice for getting around Cairo and Egypt and avoiding any problems.

4. Did you personally encounter any problems or witness anything that made you feel unsafe?
I was in Tehrir Square almost every day during the protests. I did not feel as if I was in danger.

5. Did you hear of problems from other participants in this program?

6. Overall, what are your thoughts about AmeriSpan continuing to offer programs in Egypt?
This program is very good, and after asking around at my hotel and asking students in other programs about their experiences, it is my opinion that AmeriSpan's school is probably the best Arabic school in Cairo. We learned more in one month than other students learn in three months – at a fraction of the cost.

 Learn more about AmeriSpan's Arabic school in Cairo

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