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American University in Cairo/Arabic lessons

 
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spark97



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 2
Location: Russia

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:34 am    Post subject: American University in Cairo/Arabic lessons Reply with quote

Hi, this post will be a little different, but I would appreciate it if you would still help me out Very Happy

I'm an English teacher in Russia, and I am planning to spend about 4-6 weeks in Cairo this summer (August-September) to study Arabic. I thought if Egypt operates anything like Russia, it should be possible to hire a professor to teach me private Arabic lessons on the side.

Has anyone got recommendations for an Arabic teacher and know what the usual price is? Ideally, I would like to work with a literature professor from the University (my interests are literature and history and I would be using Arabic for these purposes). I would like 4 hours per day, five days a week. Multiple teachers is ok if that is too much for one person.

I have started Arabic, but have had a break since my last lessons. However, I speak fluent Russian + Advanced German and am a good student (Princeton grad + Fulbright), so I don't think it will be too much of a chore to teach me. I saw that one of the respondents to this forum teaches at AU, so I'd appreciate it if you might be able to give me a contact. I mentioned AU because that is one I know of that is supposed to have a good Arabic program, but if you think it is better to go with another university, that is fine too.


Now for the typical questions:
1) Can an American get a tourist visa right at the airport? (This is what the Russians do)

2) I've read many of the posts about how it is safe for women, etc., but all my Russian friends uniformly tell me horror stories about harrassment during their vacations to Egypt ("50 camels and you're mine!"). Any tips how to avoid such situations (beyond dressing modestly) and what to say (or not to say) if you get stuck in one? I'm hoping it's more a problem for Russian women since they have a reputation in the ME, but unfortunately I speak Arabic with a Russian accent...

3) Tips about cheap flights? There are super cheap ones to resorts by the Red Sea, and I've heard you can take a bus from there to Cairo for 70$ round-trip, but I'd prefer to go right to Cairo. Comments?

Thanks!!
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16021
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Spark

I think this is possible. Yes, you can get the visa easily at the airport with an American passport. And yes, there will be a certain level of male harassment. One just learns to ignore them as if they were not there. There is no real danger involved... more like spending your day walking past the traditional American construction site. Laughing If anyone ever actually touches you, make a scene and normally people will come to your rescue. Being able to confront them in Arabic normally shuts things down quickly. Not a big deal really. Modest dress only helps minimally, but common sense should keep you safe... same as in any large urban context.

As to connection to an AUC teacher, please check your PMs.

VS
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dellofegypt



Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
If you are interested in learning Arabic with a tutor, I recommend a good one. He taught me for more than 3 months.
You can check:
www.arabic-private-tutor.faithweb.com
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of the stuff that happens in those touristy areas like the 50 camels comment can often just be Egyptians taking the piss. That doesn't mean you won't get harassed. It's typically young men who say things like, "Hello! Wellcome in Egypt!" If it makes you feel any better, foreign men wearing shorts might notice Egyptian men making 'kissing' noises at them. VS gives good advice. Dressing modestly (3/4 length sleeves and at least 3/4 length trousers) can make a difference in whether you're treated as a foreigner living there or just a tourist.
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spark97



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 2
Location: Russia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments. I've already enrolled in the Heyadet Instutitue at the advice of Veiled Sentiment's friend.
Any idea whether it would be considered offensive to wear some sort of scarf? The woman at the Institute mentioned this, and since I burn like crazy I figure it might be wise to cover up as much as possible. I've also been told to buy a wedding ring.
If there are any English teachers in Cairo now from this forum, I'd be interested to meet up once I get there.
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't like the idea of wearing a scarf because it implies your Muslim in this context. Though there are more sacred sites where one might cover one's hair out of respect, I think it might actually attract more attention if they realise you are a foreigner. As for the wedding band, I wore one. It might keep the odd taxi driver from making too much conversation. Can't say it helped otherwise.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16021
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too would suggest a good sunscreen rather than a scarf. Having them think that you are a convert could be uncomfortable for you. I never bothered with the wedding ring thing, but it couldn't hurt. Laughing

Most teachers are likely traveling now, so that is why you may hear nothing here. Good luck with the lessons and I'm glad my friend could help you.

VS
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NadiaK



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 206

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to wear a wedding ring when I first went as a single female - it ended up being more trouble than it was worth trying to explain to my friends why I was wearing it, and no I wasn't really married. Taking it off didn't make any different wrt hassle from men on the street.

Good luck, and have a great time!
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