One of the perks of being an International Studies major is the ability to study in another country for a semester-long or summer session. Students in this major like this overseas trip because it gives them an opportunity to learn and interact with other people and their culture in their environment while still earning credits towards graduation back home. On the other hand, students have some “romantic” notions about living in another countries because they still have not outgrown Hollywood fantasies.
Fortunately I am not one of those students who harbor such notions about other countries even though I do admit that there are some pleasant places that I do like to go and spend sometime in. I have been thinking about spending a semester in Cairo, Egypt for a while now, not because I have romantic ideas about Egypt but rather it is a place that I can relate to a “little” bit in terms of culture and closeness to my native home. It also helps that I have friends and distant family members living there. Plus I’m learning Arabic and what place is better than that? Yes, Damascus is also an excellent choice too.
But back to Cairo. The other day I read this article in the New York TImes that talks about a recent scientific study of “noisiest” cities in the world and Cairo was the unparalleled champion of the noisiest city in the world at 85 decimals on an average day – that is, as the study suggests, a jackhammer at full power running 3 feet away from a human being from 7am to 10pm at night. Seriously. Yet this is only an “average” day. I wonder what an above average day sounds like in Cairo. Perhaps two jackhammers?
It certainly did not help that I watched “The Yacoubian Building” over the weekend either. In this 2007 drama based on the same titled book shows modern Egypt as a Nazi-like Germany where the government knows everything about you, the police torture people for fun, including raping as an “enhanced” technique and men are sleazy, woman-groping machismos. Maybe I need to consider my options carefully before I regret. Australia is always beautiful, so is the sandy beaches of Dominican Republic.