Hello, my name is Jared Maksoud, and I am a rising Third Year in the University. I am majoring in Data Science with a minor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (concentration in the Arabic Language). I have spent this past summer in Cairo, Egypt studying Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (or Aameya) at the International House of Cairo. I have studied the Arabic Language extensively at the University of Chicago, Modern Standard Arabic specifically, and wanted to put my skills to the test. Considering ECA is drastically different from formal Arabic, this was a huge challenge.
The small class size at IH Cairo greatly expedited my progress in the language. There was one other student in my class which allowed us the ability to improve in reading, writing, and speaking quickly. My average workday consisted of class until 2:30 in the afternoon when I would return to my apartment to avoid the heat and study alongside my roommates for 2-3 hours. After this we would typically go out into downtown, exploring historical landmarks, quaint cafés, and Egyptian stores and restaurants until late at night (around 10:30-11). At the beginning of this trip, many people I would try to converse with called me out in my formal speaking, as I had not yet adjusted to the Egyptian language. However, towards the end of my trip, I was having full conversations with locals in my favorite café (Hakeem Al-Habashy Coffee) and many of my Uber drivers. I had never expected to progress this far after only studying for a single summer.