Study Abroad

Egypt, Summer 2004


“I absolutely loved this trip.”

Fourteen University of Illinois students traveled to Egypt during May-June 2004 with Prof. Kenneth M. Cuno of the History department, for Hist. 173, “History and Civilization of the Islamic Middle East 6th-20th c. C.E.” This 3 credit hour general education course satisfies the non-western requirement. Naturally, this version of the course had a focus on Egypt. It was based in Cairo, one of the world’s largest cities and a centuries old religious, cultural and political center. Students stayed in the dormitory of the American University in Cairo and had use of the university’s library and other facilities. The course included Cairo area visits to historical sites (Pharaonic, Coptic Christian, Jewish, Islamic and modern), lectures by and discussions with local experts on aspects of the history, modern culture, society and politics, and overnight excursions to Alexandria, Luxor, and Sinai. A literal high point was the two-hour climb up Mt. Sinai, where tradition holds that Moses received the Ten Commandments. Students investigated a variety of paper topics from ancient Egyptian culture to the modern controversy over the veil.

One student said, “I absolutely loved this trip. I learned so much about the Middle East, and it inspired me to travel more extensively in the region.” Another wrote, “This program far exceeded my expectations. The excursions were fascinating, and I feel like I learned more about Middle Eastern history and culture in this month than I have in my entire life.”


In Summer I 2005 this course will be offered abroad in Morocco, under the direction of Prof. Elabbas Benmamoun of the Linguistics department. Students will stay and study in three locales representing Morocco’s rich history and diversity: Ifrane, in the Middle Atlas Mountains; Meknes, the 18th century capital of Mulay Ismail; and Rabat, the current capital, on the Atlantic coast (Based on preliminary planning). For further information please visit the Morocco study abroad webpage. Additional information is available from the Study Abroad Office and Professor Elabbas Benmamoun.