Being a part of AUC is exciting for many reasons, one of which is its multicultural environment. Walking around campus and meeting people from different backgrounds is really something to appreciate and be thankful for. AUC’s international community of students, parents, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni come from more than 60 countries, and international students on campus represent approximately 50 countries. This is enriching for both Egyptian and international students. Both sides discover new things about each other, learn to relate well to people of different ethnicities, sharpen their social skills, widen their circle of contacts and open their minds to new perspectives — skills that are essential for career success in today’s increasingly diverse and globally connected world. On a personal level, such experiences build well-rounded, adaptable individuals, not afraid of venturing into something new.
This issue is special because it focuses on internationalization at AUC — a cornerstone of the University since its founding in 1919. As Charles R. Watson, AUC’s first president, said, a distinguishing feature of education at AUC is its “training in internationalism” — “a practical training given in this College by its very life.” From its early days, AUC has served as a melting pot, welcoming students from different parts of the globe.
One of the stories we really enjoyed working on in this issue is the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) at AUC. Researching CASA’s history in the University Archives, digging up old photos, reaching out to CASA students and alumni with different backgrounds and interests — this all helped us better understand a unique side of AUC: its international character. CASA is a perfect example of internationalization, bringing in U.S. students to study Arabic at AUC and immerse themselves in Egyptian culture and Cairene life. No wonder that over the years, CASA has become the “world’s premier, full-immersion Arabic-language program,” and its alumni hold advanced positions in different fields around the world.
Not only is internationalism a part of campus, but AUC provides unique opportunities for students to break out of their comfort zones and visit new countries, whether as part of a course curriculum or a study-abroad/exchange program.
Students who have gone on such trips testify to the positive change they see in themselves. They learn to become independent, constructively exchange ideas and beliefs, are able to adapt to various lifestyles, and actually enjoy and appreciate interacting with people who are different from them. What better way to prepare students for the real world?
Campus life is also vibrant with multiculturalism through student clubs and organizations that promote diversity and global engagement through their activities. International Day, a long-held tradition at AUC, celebrates the campus diversity that we all value and pride ourselves on. Academically, students participate in collaborative work with other universities in different countries, whether through videoconferencing or international partnerships of which AUC is a core part.
AUC has historically served as a portal and meeting place of ideas and cultures, and continues to adopt this international perspective and outlook. A window onto Egypt and the world, AUC is truly Egypt’s global University.