The American University in Cairo (AUC) is welcoming nearly 816 new Egyptian and international students and 300 study-abroad students for the academic year 2010-2011. "AUC typically has more than 100 different nationalities represented in its student body and more than 30 nations represented among our faculty, and within each of those nationalities, there are different genders, religions, ethnic identities, socioeconomic backgrounds and political viewpoints," said President David D. Arnold, who addressed the students earlier this week as part of the university's orientation week.
"This is a university that prides itself on the quality of its academic programs, that has produced successive generations of leaders in different fields and from different countries, that is fundamentally committed to public service, and that plays a crucial bridging role between East and West," he said. Arnold encouraged the students to make the most of their experience at AUC. "As you embark on your respective academic programs, please take advantage of everything AUC has to offer. Please stretch yourself to your full academic potential, please get involved, please reach out to people different from yourself, and please make this your home," he added.
Nouran Ghannam, an undergraduate student who joined AUC to study political science, believes that AUC is the best university in Egypt. "AUC has the potential and academic ability to help me become successful in the field I have chosen. It offers me training and other activities as well," said Ghannam. "I can become the successful person I hope to be."
In his address to the students, Arnold pointed to AUC's role in providing a strong liberal arts education which emphasizes critical thinking, a broad base of knowledge, effective communication and active classroom participation has been a part of the university's tradition since its founding. "From its beginning more than 90 years ago, AUC has offered its students a rich array of co-curricular and extracurricular activities designed to enrich their experience, develop their personalities, and strengthen their leadership skills," he said.
This year, AUC received 15 percent increase in study-abroad student applicants over the previous year. "I joined AUC because they have distinguished professors from all over the world," said Diseree Huth, German undergraduate student who plans to study marketing. "AUC offers many opportunities to study here through the variety of its majors, it also provides a good opportunity to meet students from different countries," she added.
Eliott Chiu, an undergraduate biology student, came all the way from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to study at AUC. "I was learning Arabic and thought that AUC is the best place to practice the Arabic language and pursue biology studies," Chiu said.
Although this year marks the gap year, which was caused by the decision to reintroduce the sixth grade in Egyptian schools, "The newly admitted students are more than what we anticipated," explained Ghada Hazem, director of admissions. "We did not go below the requirements of the previous years. We were very careful in our selection of students so that we do not jeopardize the caliber of bright and motivated students coming to AUC," added Hazem.
The university's orientation week provides students with information on what university life at AUC is like and familiarizes them with the university's academic programs and services.