Everything we saw was very interesting and amazing to see, it's difficult to describe how awesome it was to see such old structures and to think of all the history. For instances we travelled to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, this site was packed with history. Home to over sixty-four tombs of Pharos like Tutankhamun, Merneptah, and Ramesses IV. Most of the tombs were cut into the limestone following a similar pattern: three corridors, an antechamber and a sunken sarcophagus chamber.
Inside the tomb the walls are covered from top to bottom with hieroglyphics, the original color is still visible. How remarkable it was considering these tombs date back well over 3,000 years ago. Along with the Valley of the Kings, visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza and the different Universities in Egypt was my favourite and most memorable parts of the trip.
As we travelled through the city of Cairo the Great Pyramids were visible in the distance, I remember the first time we saw them, it was unbelievable! We finally went to the Pyramids, on day four, after much anticipation.
Before going on the trip I created an informative lesson plan about the history and construction of the pyramids, for a different class. Even after knowing so much about the size of these wonders, I was still blown away by the size of the three pyramids, it was breath taking! They were everything I thought they'd be and MORE! We climbed up to the entrance of the biggest pyramid, built for the Pharo Khufu. Although I chose not to enter the pyramid, just standing on the pyramid was amazing! To think of all the people who'd been there over the years and, all the work it went into build these wonders. It's hard to describe the way I felt.
We drove up to ledge which gave us a better angle to capture a picture of all three pyramids. We got silly pictures leaning on, holding up, and sizing up the pyramids (the picture I got can be seen below). Not far from the Pyramids is the Great Sphinx built over 4,500 years ago and is made out of limestone. Measures 240 feet long, 66 feet high and 20 feet wide. The paws alone are 50 feet long. It truly is a sight to behold. The Egyptian people showed us a spot where we could take silly pictures, as seen below. This is an example of the welcoming and friendliness of the Egyptian people. They were so happy and excited to see us, often we were asked to take pictures with the local children, as if we were celebrities. The Egyptians we met along the way would ask us where we were from, I would reply with "American" and their response would be " American number ONE!!" it was easy to communicate with the locals as most of them speak English, this is more common within the younger generation. The reason for this being most schools are taught in English as their first language, and Arabic as their second language. I learned a lot about the culture, lifestyle, politics, social norms and structure of Egypt from the students we met at the different universities in Egypt.
During our 2 weeks trip in Egypt we had the opportunity to visit a public and a private university. It was during these two days that I learned the most about Egypt, I had read a lot about the past, present, and future of this historical country before coming on the trip. But hearing it from the people that actually live there, people just like me and everyone else on the trip; through these experiences I felt like truly saw Egypt.
Our first day in Egypt we went to Cairo University, this is a state founded school founded in 1908, located in Cairo. We spent a lot of time in the main building, which housed their opera room. This opera is the location of President Obama's gave his speech to the Muslim world in 2009. We then went to the Universities' library, it was here we saw something familiar from home. The University uses a similar database we use in the states, this database allows you to search different search engines for just about any topic you'd like to research. We were then invited to the libraries' multimedia room to learn more about the history of Egypt, in a 21 century way. In this room there were seven screens for projectors operating on a single system, the screens we're large and covered an entire wall. We were shown and interactive timeline from ancient to present day Egypt' it was one of the coolest educational tool I'd seen done with technology in a long time. I personal believe it should be added exhibit in their Museum, it was incredible and informative. Sadly we did not have a chance to meet with any students at the university due to a ten day break the student use to study before finals. In public Universities it in uncommon that students have test throughout the year, so a lot of importance is placed on finals. However we ate lunch at the "dinning halls" located on the campus. Then We had a chance to meet three female professor that taught at Cairo university, one had actually lived and studied in American. We engaged in an open discussion about many hot topics in Egypt and also a few topics relating to American. It was very interesting and informative to seeing things the way they see it. Which is why I think enjoyed the different Universities so much.
Below is the Cairo University Library
The Campus of Cairo University
|The opera house
|Dome ceiling of opera house
The next day we went to the private school, Misr University for Science & Technology (MUST) which was established in 1996. Here we had an amazing experience and interaction with Egyptian University students.
We first met the students in the schools' VIP room where we were offered cookies, pastries and refreshments. Many of the students were majoring in Egyptology and they wanted to show us the replication museum the school had. Following this we met the president of the University, we were warmly welcomed into the school. We only spent a few hours here before moving on to Helwan University, where we presented our research papers and had lunch.
The trip on the bus to the university was much more enjoyable because a handful of students from Misr university joined us. Two of the students, Hassan and Alaa, I instantly connected with in the beginning of the university tour came along. We had so much fun talking and making jokes with the students, it was cool to see the Egyptians likes some of the same music and movies as us. They were also useful in informing us about all of the different things we saw while driving to our next location. After the final university visit we went to a park with a mountain top that looked over the whole city of Cairo. The university students joined us here as well, here we had a chance to talk more and learn more about the city.
As the students were well educated and knew a lot about their country, something you don't generally see in the states. Meeting the students from the university was my top favourite part about my trip to Egypt and I wish we had more time to interact with them! The group plus Egyptian students.