Undergraduates Head to Egypt, Turkey
Education Abroad Program in the Middle East
Published: Thursday, January 15, 2004
Thirteen UCLA undergraduate students are currently studying in the Middle East as part of the University of California’s Education Abroad Program. They represent a broad range of majors, from Anthropology and History to Political Science and International Relations, subjects they are now studying at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in Egypt and Bilkent University near Ankara, Turkey.
“I was attracted by the prospect of studying about Middle Eastern culture and politics in the proper setting,” said Ryan Fetbrandt, a third-year Poli Sci major with a minor in Arabic. “Cairo is the ultimate blend of ancient, medieval and modern culture. I look forward to getting a firsthand look at the traditions and attitudes of Arabs, which will be invaluable to me in the future. My studies and experiences will help me in my goal of becoming a Middle East analyst for the US government, possibly with the State Department.”
“I plan on going to law school and specializing in international law, and I think my time in Turkey will be an invaluable experience for both my life and my career,” said Kim Pham who is studying International Relations at Bilkent. Turkey’s deep-rooted history, rich culture and fascinating politics are of special interest to Kim. Ariana Sani, double-majoring in History and Poli Sci, concurred: “Although there are many articles that I could read about Turkey… I feel that it would be more effective for me to study in Turkey and experience it myself.”
“I’m trying not to expect too much because the whole experience is going to be so different from anything I can imagine, but I would at least expect to have a great time and get a feel for the country,” said Elizabeth Kempton who is pursuing her interest in Egyptology at AUC. “My dad keeps telling me that I don’t know what I’m getting myself into. He’s concerned about my traveling around anywhere in the Middle East. I think that one concern of his is how much I’m going to stick out, being blonde-haired and green-eyed… but he finally admitted that when something is calling you so strongly you can’t help but answer it.”
“At first my parents were very uneasy about the idea,” said Poli Sci major Matthew Gottfried who is also studying at AUC. “They thought that the region was very unstable and they were scared that something might happen to me. Although their fears still exist, they are now at peace with the idea and very excited for me. After much research and many questions were answered, my parents felt this was a remarkable opportunity that could not be passed up, especially because they understand my passion for the Middle East.”