Cairo, Egypt

Why Egypt?

Not just for the pyramids...

Pyramid, Giza

..but because Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (al-aamiaa[t] al-misriya) is one of the most widely understood dialects.1

Egypt is also very well known as a centre for learning (Modern Standard) Arabic.


The capitol of Egypt has many centres to choose from and they are generally quite professional.

As expected, the cost of living is higher than elsewhere in Egypt, but prices do not go up during the summer (as they do in Alexandria).

Metro station, Cairo

International Language Institute (IH in Cairo)

Experts in teaching ECA, offering monthly courses.

Based in the area of Mohandeseen.

ILI building

Cairo University Center of Arabic Language and Culture

Three month MSA courses are available here. The centre is located outside of the main university campus, but not far from it.

Oriental Studies Center, Cairo University

The address is: 1st Abdel-hady Salah street, Giza – Egypt.

Hedayet Institute for Arabic Studies

Located in a leafy upmarket suburb of the capitol. They offer a comprehensive programme that includes phonetics and cultural trips. Class sizes are about five students.
Hedayet Institute
It is about ten minutes from the Metro station (Hadayek al-Maadi).
Nearby is the corniche (river Nile) in case you are missing the Mediterranean.

American University in Cairo

Offers a diploma in translation. It is taught within the School of Continuing Education. AUC
Most of the campus is located next to Tahrir square.

Tahrir Square

Classical Arabic

Specializes in one-to-one tuition.

One of the oldest universities in the Arab world.
Originally opened during the Fatimid dynasty and was an Ismaili centre of learning until the Ayyubids arrived. 2

Elsewhere in Egypt

Alexandria is probably the second most interesting city.

Tanta city is less interesting, but the university includes a TAFL centre with low fees.


Warm all year round, except during December, January and February. In these months you will need winter clothes.


Shops are everywhere. Choice includes merchandise from Western Europe, the USA, China and of course Egypt.

Politics and safety

Of-course the best course is to avoid all such conversations, but you inevitably hear people's opinions.

One argument is that Morsi planned to help the poor by getting the rich to pay more. While others say that he put his ideology before the good of Egypt.

Some even say that life was better under Hosni Mubarak, but they had to remove him due to him behaving like a monarch, i.e. he was grooming his son for president. So even though Mubarak was a dictator and there was corruption, poverty (bread riots in 2007) and lack of human rights, he is preferred by some due to the economic situation being better before the revolution.

Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta are generally safe, but one must avoid crowds and being alone in unfamiliar places.
It's best to check with your government's foreign office department before planning to come out here.3
Solo travellors (especially female) should also seek professonal advice before travel.4

© Last edited: 26-Feb-2018

1. Article on whether one should start with a dialect or MSA
2. Encyclopaedia Britannia. al-Azhar University. URL: [25 November 2013]
3. UK Government FCO
4. Article on Women Abroad