Up until now, my AUC housing issues have been secondary to all of the other things going on. I have been focusing on my passport, plane flight, and the countless little details that accompany any trip abroad. Housing never really grabbed the spotlight until the past week or so, mostly because the issue never really got too dramatic- it mainly consisted of me waiting for members of AUC Residential Life to e-mail me back. In reality, I have been unsure about my living situation in Egypt until yesterday- and I depart for Cairo in 6 days.
I’ll try to explain this as concisely as possible: I tried to pay my housing deposit in June. My credit card wouldn’t go through online, and the bank promised me that it wasn’t my fault- it was AUC’s. AUC and I emailed back and forth for a good 3-4 weeks until they finally told me to give up on the online payment system, and just pay through a “certified check” sent to the AUC New York office, before mentioning that they had “very little” housing still available. I sent an angry e-mail back, because they had told me that they would save my spot in the applicant line- honestly, it wasn’t my fault that my deposit wasn’t going through. My dad and I ran around Manhattan Beach trying to figure out what a certified check is, overnighting one to New York, and hoping that housing was still available for me.
The day after mailing the check, my dad receives a phone call informing him that his credit card had been questioned by the bank’s security system because of an attempt to pay for something abroad- MY security deposit. Both my dad and I had called the bank weeks ago to tell them that I would be living in Egypt in order to avoid having a hold put on my card. Needless to say, we were both furious. This meant that: 1. When I called the bank to ask why the card wasn’t going through to pay my deposit, it actually WAS the bank’s fault, not AUC’s. 2. I might not get housing because of this unnecessary delay in paying my deposit, and 3. The bank had ignored or misplaced our warning them that I would be traveling abroad. A few angry phone calls later, my card was back to normal, and the bank knew (very well) that I will be abroad this year.
Since then, I had been e-mailing and calling anyone who would listen in an attempt to find out if I did, in fact, get housing- the best answer I could get was that the NY office received my deposit. I began to doubt that I would ever get a straight answer- until I discovered Fadi.
Fadi is in charge of the Study Abroad Office at AUC. He is a University of California employee (a professor from UC Davis), and is now in Cairo ensuring that our study abroad experience goes smoothly. Basically, every Education Abroad Program (EAP) location has one UC employee at the campus, which makes things infinitely easier for traveling students. He promptly responded to my e-mails, assuring me that he would figure out my housing situation, and even organizing my airport pick-up (students can ask for a driver to take them from the Cairo Airport to their housing upon arrival in Egypt through AUC to avoid bartering with aggressive taxi drivers). Yesterday morning, he emailed me saying that I had been assigned on-campus housing. Woohooo!
If you want to get picky, on-campus housing wasn’t my first choice (I wanted off-campus, which would place me in Zamalek, the island in the Nile River) but I’m not torn up about it. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all of this, it’s that flexibility is key when it comes to anything travel-related. I can always find new housing after the first semester, and I’m ecstatic to have gotten AUC housing at all- the alternative would have been finding roommates and an apartment on my own. Honestly, I’m spending a year in Egypt. What more can I ask for?