I began at Virginia Tech in the Middle East and North Africa Campus. I was interested in trying life in Egypt, especially that I am bilingual.
VT-MENA is located in Alexandria, Egypt. It has a piece in the Alexandria University Campus. In particular, it is located in “Kolyet El-Handasa” or the College of Engineering. This is because, the VT-MENA program has 3 majors, which are Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering.
Alexandria is a beautiful city that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. You can essentially walk to campus from the sea, and vice-a-versa. It is a long walk though. I arrived in Egypt a little more than 1 week before the Egyptian revolution. I must say they were interesting times to be in Egypt, least said.
Studying in the classroom was pretty much similar to classes all over the US, because it was tailored to an American program. However, the difference was that the competition was super fierce. Most of the VT-MENA students have had their Master’s from Egypt, and were perusing their PhD there. They had been TAs for 5-10 years. Unfortunately, I was always faced with a stereotype as someone who was educated in the US, that I’d be behind the competition… Although, in my view that wasn’t the case, and some professors thought of it being the case. However, I believe that I’ve met some of the most intelligent, and talented people in the VT-MENA program. The people who go in there are really handpicked, and are the best of the best in Egypt. I am so blessed for that experience.
I also really enjoyed having the best of two worlds while I was in Egypt. I got to get in touch with a great civilization that’s existed for countless decades, while getting wonderful education. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy going on vacation everyday while visiting campus?
After a while of an enjoyable experience in Egypt, the country got a little bit less stable, and it was time to go home to my parents who were really worried about me. However, I must say, the VT-MENA campus was one great experience. I really enjoyed it.