[CHE] In the Heart of Cairo, the Language of Immersion

The Chronicle of Higher Education (July 27, 2010)

“In the Heart of Cairo, the Language of Immersion,” by Ursula Lindsey


Downtown Cairo isn’t the easiest place for foreign students to get used to. It’s crowded, noisy, and polluted; the traffic is dangerous; and women face sexual harassment regularly. But students at one of the most prestigious Arabic-language programs in the Middle East have insisted that this bustling, sometimes uncomfortable experience is exactly what they want.

The Center for Arabic Study Abroad—a premier language program financed primarily by the U.S. Department of Education—has just relocated to the American University in Cairo’s downtown campus.

This is a return—after a two-year absence—to what has been the program’s home since its creation in 1967. The small, intensive, yearlong program has educated generations of American scholars of Middle East. Its students tend to be proficient Arabic speakers with a long-term interest in the Arab world.

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