Business Management Major Takes Language Skills Abroad in Egypt

William Dakin, a Kent State Business Management major with a minor in International Business, studied abroad with the American University in Cairo, Egypt.

Study abroad options in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

The American University in Cairo (AUC) hosts students from around the world, offering classes in Arabic and English for a semester, summer or full academic year. Located in eastern Cairo, students are able to explore the history of the city and Egypt while taking courses in a variety of subjects.

Tip! Visit our Education Abroad page and search for programs by country, term or major to find your ideal study abroad experience.

William walking through the Temple of Karnac in Luxor.

Top reasons for choosing to study abroad

One of the main motivations for William to choose AUC was its location.

“I wanted something that was going to be different from where students generally go to. I wanted to go somewhere beyond my comfort zone.”

While some students might not think about traveling or studying abroad until they get to university, William has been interested in education abroad since high school.

“I’ve just always been interested in travel, and going abroad was something that was never not part of my plan.” 

He also had the opportunity to join his family on a missionary trip to Honduras where he got his first experience of the cultural differences between home and abroad.

“I’m from rural Ohio, but it’s quite different going to a developing country when you’re from a rural hometown in a First World country.”

Those are just a few reasons William shared with us – check out some more reasons to study abroad here.

William walking through Nubian Village Street in Aswan

Immersion abroad in a foreign language

The Arabic language and location in the Middle East also matched William’s interest and focus on international business.

“Arabic is a really good business language. That region in the world is just becoming more of an economic hub for that area and really, worldwide.”

One of the highlights for William during his time abroad was his independent travel to Siwa Oasis.

“In Cairo you’ll come across a lot of people that know English or speak a little bit of English; in Siwa Oasis, not so much ... It really made me rely on the language skills that I’ve developed over the past few years learning Arabic and then being able to practice those skills and fend for myself.”

William found a local guide while in Siwa Oasis who gave him a chance to practice his Arabic as well as get a true sense of how locals live in Egypt.

“He didn’t speak any English at all, but he was such a nice guy to talk to - showed me things that he does in his life, where he shops at, things he likes to do in town ... I had to use my Arabic language skills to connect with the people there, it was nerve wracking when you get there but made for a very memorable experience and some of the best conversations with locals and the people that lived there.”

William at Siwa Oasis.

Advice for future study abroad students

William’s advice for students looking to study abroad is to prepare as much as you can by learning about where you will be going and reaching out to other students that have done the program before. While he admits that it’s challenging to prepare for everything, he encourages others to “try as much as you can” before you go abroad.

Moreover, he adds: “Learn to be comfortable talking to people and being able to step into a situation and act like you’re confident, even if you’re not.”

Interested in having an experience like William's? Check out our study abroad program at the American University in Cairo!

William and three friends in Aswan, Nubian Village.

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POSTED: Friday, September 15, 2023 04:06 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 16, 2024 03:18 PM
Andrew Peper, Graduate Intern for Education Abroad