AT first glance, they seem like typical American college students on their junior year abroad, swapping stories of language mishaps and cultural clashes, sharing sightseeing tips and travel deals. But these students are not studying at Oxford, the Sorbonne or an art institute in Florence.
Instead, they are attending the American University in Cairo, studying Arabic, not French, and dealing with cultural, social and religious matters far more complex than those in Spain or Italy. And while their European counterparts might head to Heidelberg, Germany, for a weekend of beer drinking, these students visit places most Americans know only through news reports — the West Bank, Ethiopia and even northern Iraq. No “Sex and the City” jaunts to Abu Dhabi for this group.In what educators are calling the fastest growing study-abroad program, American college students are increasingly choosing to spend their traditional junior year abroad in places like Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, wanting to experience the Arab world beyond America’s borders and viewpoints.
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