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By: Jackson Chasen-Buckley – Arab America Contributing Writer
Thinking of taking the opportunity to study abroad for a semester? For any student who is interested in Arab culture, there are hundreds of potential destinations. In addition to receiving a wonderful education, students who travel to Arab countries have the opportunity to explore some of the Arab World’s most interesting cultural attractions. For your convenience, Arab America has compiled a top-5 list which names some of our recommended Arab study abroad spots. These locations should be on anyone’s top ten list for those who are interested in an Arab experience.
Egypt Tours Portal
Want a place where ancient culture is still present? You need to look no further than the lustrous city of Cairo, Egypt. In addition to being the largest city in the Arab World, Cairo is also one of the oldest. The old city is built upon the archaic civilization of Memphis. It is most famous for the ancient pyramid complex.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, being one of the seven wonders of the world, establishes itself as the crown jewel of the structure. Likewise, the Sphinx is a cultural attraction that brings visitors from all around the globe. Religion is also a very integral part of the Cairo culture. A majority of the population is of Sunni faith, however, around 20% is of Coptic faith, an Orthodox denomination of Christianity. Cairo is also chockfull of museums ranging from art to ancient history.
For students, there are plenty of good programs that will educate and immerse one who decides to travel. One standout program is The American University in Cairo, a diverse and welcoming school located east of the City. You are never too far to make your way into downtown Cairo, but you still have the luxury of privacy with the university’s location. If you are looking for a culturally welcoming experience, it is highly recommended that you mark Cairo at the top of your study abroad list.
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Abu Dhabi is not only a dazzling modern city, but it’s the United Arab Emirate’s capital city. Situated on the Araban Gulf, this city is one of the earth’s finest examples of the impact of high economic development. Despite the rapid modernization, Abu Dhabi is still deeply rooted in its Arabic culture. The religion of Islam is very prevalent in how society operates. The main denomination is Sunni, which represents around 70% of all religions in the emirate. Mosques are situated all throughout the city, standing out amongst the modern buildings.
Besides religion, Abu Dhabi is rich in other cultural aspects. Museums that detail the Arabic country’s history and art are scattered all throughout the city. Sports are a very big component of everyday life. Some of these exotic events include camel racing and dhow sailing. As for education, NYU offers a wonderful program that locates students right next to the city. With a multitude of courses offered, the program is second to none for receiving a wonderful education. This is another location that any student that is interested in Arab culture should prioritize.
Amman cements itself of being one of the most diverse cities on this list. Many cultures flock to Amman due to its reputation of being extremely hospitable. The city has a large population of Palestinians due to the unfortunate displacement from their homeland. The main language is Amiya, a dialect of Arabic. Most recently, it’s the home of many people from Iraq and Syria due to continued conflicts in the named Arab countries.
Similarly, with the other countries, Islam is a major component of Ammanian’s life, as it is incorporated into everyday teachings. Additionally, the city is home to hundreds of historical ruins and museums that depict a thriving Jordanian culture. Moreover, modern art is also a staple of culture in Amman. Sculptures, graffiti, and murals are easy to spot when walking along the streets.
Similar to the other locations listed, Amman provides students with an excellent opportunity to continue their education. The Middlebury Program in Jordan is a top-rated study abroad program that hosts students from around the world. It has a heavy specialty in research and cultural studies. The program also provides students with hundreds of cultural events that they can attend while studying. Amman is a shining Jewel in the Levant region that you should definitely consider for your study abroad.
The city of Hebron is located about an hour southwest of Jerusalem in the West Bank. Additionally, it is the largest city in the West Bank and the second-largest in Palestine. The primarily spoken language is Arabic, followed by English and occasionally Hebrew. Similarly to other Palestinian provinces, Hebron is especially known for its hospitality. There is plenty of stories of travelers who are invited for tea from a Palestinian that they just met. Almost everyone is raised with the Islamic teaching of being kind to strangers/foreigners, and it translates really well to how the people interact with outsiders.
Hebron offers what in my opinion is, a wonderful study abroad program. Instead of a university, the program in Hebron allows you to stay with a host family. Not only will you be learning Arabic through your studies, but also you will be gaining valuable knowledge as you interact with your host family and other Palestinians you meet. The program also offers the option to learn classical Arabic or the Palestinian dialect. In addition, you will also learn about the current territorial and political situations that are ongoing. It provides a real-world experience that you cannot get by just sitting at home.
For more information about the program, click here!
The culturally attractive city of Rabat is situated along the coast of Morocco and is about an hour and thirty minutes away from Casablanca. Rabat is the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco and its second-largest city
Traditional landmarks are scattered throughout the city, providing information about the city’s historic past. Handicrafts are a large part of Rabat’s culture too. If you get the chance, travel over to the medina in Rabat. There, you will witness hundreds of artists from different generations perform their crafts; its pottery and carpets are some of the main art crafts that are created.
One study abroad program includes staying with a host family and learning about the culture and different Morrocan traditions. The main curriculum will be studies catered to the history and culture of Morocco and other North African countries.
For more information about the program, click here!