Hello everyone! My name is Hagar Sadek, a graduating senior at NC State. I am majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Global Relations and minoring in both Psychology and Business Administration. I had the opportunity this year to become a PackAbroad Ambassador, after completing a semester abroad at the American University in Cairo, Egypt in the Spring of 2020. I know 2020 was a year of many issues and challenges for everyone but personally it taught me perseverance. It is a bit of a long story but let me tell you why! When I got accepted to study abroad I was ecstatic, mainly because I had procrastinated my application and was unsure if I should be going to Egypt or somewhere else. I chose Egypt because I was born there, yes I am a native Egyptian crazy right!? I also knew I would be able to visit various places in Europe because it costs so little compared to traveling from the United States and will be able to effectively expose myself to diverse cultures and learn more about people. But I did not know what was in store for me…
I arrived in Egypt in January 2020. I went a bit earlier before the semester started to visit my family and get settled in. I started the semester in February and everything was great and I planned to travel to some cities in Egypt throughout the semester and go to Spain and France, so all was very exciting. Then after only 1 month into the semester, March 2020 came along and my whole world turned upside down. It was during that time that everything started shutting down, including travel. In Egypt it was even worse (but now I sort of get it), we were under a curfew everyday and could barely leave the house. It was heavily enforced because Egypt is under military rule. It was a shock for me and I still try to process that time but it was during that time that NC State asked me to return back and I chose not too because I had family and still was taking online classes so being in a different time zone will be problematic. Then my university closed down and I had to find off campus housing. I could not leave to see my family for some time and Ramdan started (I am Muslim) and it was all starting to take a toll on me. I ended up staying in Egypt until the end of June when I could find a flight back to the United States, long after my study abroad program was finished. My semester was cut short. I did not get a chance to travel to places like I had hoped. It was disappointing but I realized I learned more than I thought, I persevered through this time. I made connections with professors and peers and how to communicate virtually. I took classes and got ahead and that is partly why I can graduate a year early. I now have a set plan for traveling to other places and will act on them because I am back in Egypt and ready for a new adventure! Thank you for reading my story and I hope you get to study abroad too.
- PackAbroad Ambassadors