AUC students have the option of studying in German and/or in English at FUB, with free courses in German language offered in order to ease the transition to living in Berlin. AUC already cooperates with FUB through an EU-TEMPUS-sponsored project to establish technology transfer offices in Egypt and through a special joint graduate course in gender and sociology last summer.
“The academic exchanges with FUB consolidate and deepen the relationship between two universities, and extend to our students opportunities to pursue a truly international academic experience” said Ann Lesch, associate provost for international programs. “In a global society, exposure to foreign language and culture is an increasingly valuable part of the academic experience. It helps students to think broadly about the contributions they are prepared to offer to the world beyond their front doors,” added Lesch.
FUB is a leading research university, specializing in the humanities, social sciences (notably political science, economics, and sociology), the natural sciences (notably biology, chemistry, and physics) and business. FUB was ranked number one in the arts and humanities among German universities in 2009, as well as the 6th best university in Europe.
“AUC is completely invested in establishing strategic partnerships and alliances with leading universities around the world,” said Lesch. “In fact, we have increased the number of academic exchange partners from 21 to 36 in the last two years.”
Both Egyptian and American students at AUC, who have study abroad experience, acknowledge the importance of being exposed to other cultures and interacting with people from different backgrounds. “It is a great opportunity to get out and get close to the culture, the history and the people you are studying, rather than learning about them from 1000 miles away,” said David Zumback from Colorado, who is studying Middle East studies at the Air Force Academy. “The study-abroad experience teaches you the appreciation of different cultures and understanding of the people,” said Alex Horn, who comes from Alex Academy with a major in biology. Shanna Van Beck from Elon University with a major in international and Middle East studies has a similar opinion. “Being a Middle Eastern studies major, you can’t actually know the culture by just doing academic research back home. You are not going to experience your research or have any sort of context until you experience it yourself,” she said. Van Beck is also excited about learning the little nuances of the Egyptian culture that she believes one wouldn’t learn from a travel Web site.
Amina Shahin, mechanical engineering senior, spent a semester-abroad at Pennsylvania State University. She wanted to experience the feeling of being independent and living all on her own, and she came back with a whole new experience and a diversity of friends. “Going for a semester-abroad opened many windows for me,” said Shahin, “I was exposed to different cultures, different ways of thinking, met people with different priorities in life, different religious beliefs and this all added to my knowledge, my experience and to my character.”
AUC’s newest agreements in the United States are with universities such as Wellesley College in Boston, George Washington University in Washington, DC, and the University of South Carolina. AUC is also selectively increasing the exchange options in Europe, notably with Sciences-Po (Paris), the Danish School of Media and Journalism, and now FUB as key new options. “We are finalizing negotiations on a few more strategically-positioned universities in the U.S. and Europe, which we will be able to announce before long,” Lesch noted.