Things are all finally coming together. I got my AUC Student ID yesterday, checked in as an international student, and finished registering for classes today. The thing is, it took hours of running around campus to get each of those things checked off of my list. I’ve heard friends returning from study abroad complain about how you can really only accomplish one thing a day, and I’m starting to experience that myself.
Example A: Getting my ID required finding the basement of the library, printing out my acceptance letter from AUC (I don’t have a printer), and then waiting for it to be activated, which was supposed to take one hour but instead took about 12.
Example B: Yesterday morning, I woke up at about 8:30 AM to go take my Arabic Placement Test. I rushed to the office, spent 2.5 hours translating passages in a multiple choice test, and wrote a short essay in Arabic in about 5 minutes. The man there skimmed my short essay and assigned me an Arabic class without even looking at the multiple choice test. At least I think he put me in the right class?
Example C: The other day, a few friends and I visited four different offices in an attempt to register for classes. Finally, we made appointments to meet with the registration office this morning. I show up, and there were about 10 people waiting there who didn’t have appointments. I walked up to ask if I will still be seen according to my appointment time, and was told that I needed to go wait to see a completely different woman to sign up for my Arabic class before being seen to sign up for any other classes. So, no, my appointment time really didn’t matter. Ahhh!
In the end, the whole registration process took about two hours, but the women working there were genuinely helpful. One of the classes that I really wanted was full (Muslim Political Thought), but they were able to override the system and get me into it anyways- yahooo! So, my schedule consists of:
Arabic 103: Modern Standard | Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 8:30 AM (ouch!)
Egyptology 301: A Cultural Geography of Ancient Egypt | Monday and Thursday at 5 PM
Art 222: Architecture: Art or Engineering? | Thursday at 11:30 AM and 2 PM
History 462: Select Topics in the History of the Modern Middle East | Wednesday at 3 PM
Arab/Islamic Civilization 353: Muslim Political Thought | Sunday and Wednesday at 10 AM
I’m really excited to start classes next week, both because I ended up in some pretty cool subjects, and because I want to see what the class structure is like here. It’s already completely different just because the week here is from Sunday to Thursday, and Friday and Saturday make up the weekend, so class starts on Sunday, September 5. AUC is also unique in that it gives its students Tuesday off for activities. Ramadan plays a part (as it does in everything around here currently), because it doesn’t end for another week or so, so many students are taking the first week off of class. We also have a holiday from September 9-12 already for Eid El Fetr, which is the celebration of the end of Ramadan. The Academic Calendar here is pretty interesting- all students have western holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas off, as well as Muslim ones like Eid. All things considered, it should be a pretty big change from what I’m used to in the US.
I know that I promised no more novel-length posts about paperwork, and this one has been dangerously close to that, so I’ll end here for now. Expect another post on adventures in Tahrir, New Cairo, the campus pool, and Al-Rehab soon!