Witnessing a Revolution: LA Students Study Abroad in Egypt

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Thumbnail image for EK_cr.JPGEmily King, a senior, is majoring in Economics, Spanish, and International Studies and minoring in French, Chinese, and International Business. She chose to study in Egypt for the immersion in the Arabic language, and delighted in the chance to see the Ancient Egypt that has fascinated her since childhood.
Emily had been in Egypt for three days when the riots began. A scheduled trip to Old Cairo was cut short by the growing number of protestors amassing.
The days that followed brought an increasing awareness of the severity of the political unrest. Internet and texting capability were cut, followed closely by phone service. Outside the dorms, Emily and her classmates had to cover their faces with scarves due to the tear gas in the air. Grocery stores were out of food, and ATMs were out of money; a 4 PM curfew was being enforced and doors were locked to fend off looters.
"The level of panic was at an all time high in the dorms by this point," says Emily. "We did not know what the news was saying and people would not translate." Shortly thereafter, she was informed that a car service would pick her up the next day and she was booked on a flight to Athens. The day of her evacuation was extremely distressing; the car service was hours late and had all the wrong information, and Emily faced a daunting decision on whether to accept their services to get to the airport.
Despite the chaos, Emily never felt in immediate danger. She said although the protests were intense, they were for the most part very civil.  However, for her safety, Emily was removed from Egypt and is finishing the remainder of the semester in Rabat, Morocco.

 

tierra2.JPGTierra Oliver is studying Crime, Law, and Justice and chose to study abroad in Egypt to experience a culture that was markedly different from the western world, and to explore politics and world affairs from a different vantage point. 
At the American University of Cairo, Tierra was sheltered and security was tight. However, the political unrest was evident and suspicion that protest would begin on National Police Day seemed to be the mutual consensus among the people. As that reality began to unfold and a national curfew was put in place, Tierra found out that she would have to leave the country.
Says Tierra, "I felt a sense of inspiration and pride towards the Egyptian people that they took the initiative to stand up against a government which was dictated by corruption for so long. Amongst all the chaos it was still absolutely beautiful to see people have passion and endurance to win over their own country and fight for rights that I as an American am given every day. I believed in them the whole time."
Tierra is currently studying in Leeds, U.K., and although initially disappointed she wasn't able to finish her semester in Egypt, the experience as a whole has been life-changing.
Says Tierra, "I've always thought that I would become a worldlier person by studying abroad, but throughout the process I think I've matured a lot ... It's strengthened me in many ways, and I now feel more confident in my ability to do whatever I set my mind to."
 

Emily and Tierra have shared some photos from their time abroad in the slideshow below:
 

For more:

  • On study abroad, hear student Caitlyn Smith thank her donors for a study abroad experience that changed her life forever

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