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.
The American University in Cairo (AUC) hosts students from around the world, offering classes in Arabic and English. Located in eastern Cairo, students are able to explore the history of the city and Egypt while taking courses in a variety of subjects.
"Beyond my comfort zone"
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.”
William has been interested in studying abroad since high school “I’ve just always been interested in travel, and going abroad was something that was never not a part of my interest.” 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 rural Ohio in a first world country going to a developing country is quite different.”
Immersion in another 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 and 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, “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.”
Advice for future study abroad students
“You know you’re never going to be prepared for it, so try as much as you can.” 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. 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 an experience like William's? Check out our program at the American University in Cairo!