In Cairo, Egypt, students of Arabic have the opportunity to study an amazing culture with over 5000 years of history and all the while, to be immersed in the Arabic language.
Home to over 16 million Egyptians, Africans, Arabs, and people of other ethnic backgrounds, Cairo bombards all the senses. Swarming with people everywhere, Cairo is crowded, noisy and chaotic but its intensity is exciting.
While outsiders may think that Cairo is in need of some restructuring and restoration, the people of Cairo are uninterested in changing their city in order to attract tourism. They are accustomed to the hustle and bustle as well as the rustic look and feel of their city. Its historic buildings, hidden away in various parts of Cairo and mostly occupied by the locals, make it challenging for the tourist to locate. Ancient Mosques as well as medieval forts and 1,500 year old markets are a common sight in Cairo. But the people of Cairo like their historic buildings right where they are, and will not make the areas around these buildings touristy, thus preserving the authentic taste of Cairo.
The condensed population and close quarters creates a diverse combination of architecture, and modes of transportation: office buildings tower over mud-brick homes, flashy cars drive along side donkey-drawn carts. The people of Cairo do not see anything strange about this.Updating the city is not a priority in this place that encompasses so much history. One can even see the pyramids from upper stories in most buildings throughout Cairo. There is a feeling of timelessness and the grand stories of the past, which are visible among the hustle and bustle seen throughout Cairo, gives this city its charm.
Cairo offers, both tourists and locals alike, the opportunity to indulge in a multitude of cultural activities. The famous Egyptian pyramids and the Sphinx are at your doorstep. One can learn about more than 50 centuries of Egypt’s ancient history at the Egyptian museum in Cairo. And that’s not the end of the list – there are many other excursions of historical proportion to indulge in as well.
However, don’t forget to be culturally sensitive in a place that may be quite different, in many ways, to one’s home country. One should dress appropriately if sightseeing is in order. Appropriate clothing would be that which is acceptable in the mosques, with little skin showing, and particularly not legs or shoulders. One should wear comfortable shoes that can be easily removed.
Cairo is an ideal place to study Arabic as well as to have the rare opportunity of learning about Egypt’s ancient history and culture that dates back to biblical times.