BY GLORIA WATSON
For those who don’t know, Erasmus+ is an education program launched by the European Union that encourages knowledge exchanges between different countries. Erasmus+ is a mobility project, which involves 33 countries from which 28 are part of the European Union. Other countries in the world are open to short partnerships as well. The program is based on international mobility for students. The educational exchanges are short-term, ranging from 3 to 12 months. Each discipline that will be studied at the partner university has a certain number of credits that contributes to the student’s degree. The budgets offered vary depending on the part of the world that is selected for the mobility program. Take this chance and you can be part of Egypt tours or other travel experiences you didn’t have the chance to try until now.
For US students, besides the regular international credit mobility program, students can also join the Erasmus Mundus Join Master Degrees which refer to studying for a full degree in a partner country. The program covers tuition costs, travel costs and even the living allowance. It is called joint master because the student will receive a double degree after ending the programme. Erasmus Mundus has North America partners since 2014. Some of the partner universities are University of Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia, Clarkson and California. Until 2017, 11 institutions were full partners for the program. Students from US can visit the partner institutions in Europe, which are the same as in the Erasmus+ programme, separated by regions. You should consult these regions here. The US and Canada are included in Region 13. Students from the US that never got the chance to visit Europe should take advantage of this financed program and expand their studies in a country of their choice.
Among the non-EU countries, students can choose Egypt, a South-Mediterranean country in Region 3 of the Partner Countries. Egypt is a great destination for an Erasmus+ international mobility because not many people get to visit it. The Erasmus+ Office in Egypt provided students with an extensive guide that helps them understand the programme and the list of opportunities they have in this country. Beside organizational details, priorities of the programme, funding, and other details related to the participation of students in Erasmus+, they should also get informed about the country they will visit for the academic exchange. Don’t forget to read the Erasmus+ Programme Guide that includes details related to admission. Considering this aspect, here are some activities to try, places to visit and things to learn when visiting Egypt through Erasmus+:
Choose your partner university
Before researching anything else, you should select the partner university in Egypt that will host you for the whole period of the exchange. The participating universities in Egypt for Erasmus+ are:
- University of Alexandria
- Zagazig University of Egypt
- Cairo University
- Al-Azhar University
- Helwan University
From this list, the universities in Cairo and Alexandria offer the most numerous possibilities and opportunities to learn more about Egypt’s history and culture.
Points of interests and landmarks to visit
Egypt is a country with a very complex history and a diverse population. Regardless of the location you pick, there are several landmarks and tourist attractions that all students who have the chance to be part of an educational exchange should visit.
- The suburbs of Cairo – Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis, and Sakkara
- Nile cruising
- Egyptian Antiquities Museum
- Coptic and Islamic Cairo
- Bibliotheca Alexandrina
- The Palace Gardens
- The Alexandria National Museum
- The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
Take Arabic lessons
Not many people have the chance to learn Arabic fast. Students who choose Erasmus+ and go to Egypt can learn Arabic quickly and efficiently by taking part in the specially-created courses for foreign students. Most people in Egypt can speak at least a little bit of English and all your courses will be in English as well. As an Erasmus+ student, you will go through a series of exams that test your English level. If you already possess an English Language Certification that is accepted in the programme you no longer need to pass these exams, and the application process is shorter. It can take from 6 months to a year to learn basic Arabic when students choose intensive courses.
Students sometimes worry about the safety of the country they choose for the Erasmus+ project. Cairo and Alexandria are currently considered safe to travel and do not impose any risks. The area that should be avoided due to potential terrorist attacks is represented by the Sinai Peninsula. In Egypt, the society is Muslim, which means that a conservative behavior should be expressed at all times. Egypt is safe as long as students get to know the customs and laws of this country before visiting it. Safety concerns should not be a limitation in students’ way of choosing Erasmus+ in Egypt.
Research Egyptian customs
The daily etiquette and social customs in Egypt might be entirely different from what European students expect. This is the reason why all Erasmus+ Egypt students should get informed about the society and culture of the country. The majority of Egyptians practice Islam, which affects the way they live, the laws of the country and the social and legal norms they apply. Family, honor and social class are the most important units of the Egyptian society. Other students should help you with understanding the customs. In Erasmus+ programmes, events and parties are organized for students in what they call the Accommodation Week.
Cultural day tours
Students in Erasmus+ have a lot of time to visit the surroundings. Day tours that cover all cultural landmarks are the most popular choice of travellers in this area. There are private tours that start in Cairo and include other parts of Egypt as well, such as Luxor or Alexandria. Many tourists choose to visit the Fayoum Oasis and the Waterfalls of Wadi El-Rayan.
Byline: Gloria Watson ‘26 grew up in Texas and graduated from University of Texas. Nowadays, she’s a freelance writer whose aim to write article on computers and school education today.