Latherial Calbert had never been overseas until an exchange program through the College of Charleston landed him on another continent and a world away from home. The College’s exchange program with American University Cairo offered adventure and a chance to be immersed in a completely different culture.
Calbert is one of five CofC students who attended AUC during the spring of 2023, while two students from AUC, including Ali Yassine, joined the College’s ranks for the semester. College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu and American University Cairo President Francis Joseph Ricciardone Jr. formalized a student exchange program between the two institutions in December of 2019 thanks to support from program benefactors and fellow Georgetown alumni Hilton and Catherine Smith, and Jonathan and Nancy Wolf.
While enjoying studying and learning with students who speak another language, Calbert, who received a scholarship to attend AUC, was surprised at how conversant AUC students are in English.
In turn, he learned some basic Egyptian Arabic so that he could get around on his own: shopping, eating out, taking a taxi and exchanging greetings. In addition to exploring downtown Cairo, including Maadi and Zamalek, he took advantage of the opportunity to go snorkeling in Hurghada, explore the fish markets in Alexandria and visit the pyramids of Giza.
But it is an intimate dinner with a few of his Egyptian friends that is among Calbert’s most enjoyable cultural experiences during his time in Cairo.
“They shared many new Arabic words with me, including some Egyptian slang,” he recalls. “They also let me try some of their food and drink during Ramadan.”
While the cultural aspects of the program were important to Calbert, what really clinched the program for him, however, was that AUC pairs its data science program with CofC’s, which means classes at AUC transfer to course equivalents at the College. Calbert’s classes at AUC also gave him new perspectives. He found the teaching styles in Egypt to be more conceptual in nature, which helped him develop greater thinking skills and capacities that led to his increased passion for data science.
To learn more about Latherial’s experience at AUC, check out the full article by Darcie Goodwin in the College Today.