In an effort to further expand their global awareness, six economics senior students from the AUC School of Business including Dina Eid, Merna Soliman, Salma Abdelghani, Eman Negm, Maya Ibrahim, and Maureen Guirguis, applied independently for a summer course in London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The students stayed for a period of six weeks, where they took one course every three weeks.
The School of Business has been making great efforts to consolidate the international exposure for its students through study abroad and exchange programs.
When asked about the importance of these programs, Diaa Noureldin, professor of economics at AUC, said that there are several reasons as to why these study abroad programs are beneficial.
“When the students are here on campus, they’re exposed to international experience through speakers coming to give speeches, international guests and faculty,” he said. “But once they leave campus and go to another university, it’s a very different experience because they engage with students from other cultures, meet students from other universities, and get to see the level of education AUC has as it compares to other universities,” Noureldin added.
To cement these deliberations, there was a consensus among students who went to LSE for the summer that the experience is culturally enriching.
“The overall experience was very well cultivating,” said Eid.
Soliman agrees with Eid, as she believes it was very elevating to have different nationalities all combined in one class.
Noureldin continued by saying that an important aspect of these trips is the reassurance of the level of education here at AUC. “The six students who went on the trip did extremely well in their studies, and didn’t feel that their standards were below anyone else,” he emphasized.
Even though some students pondered before applying to this summer program thinking that their performance would not match those of Ivy League universities, they proved themselves wrong after taking the courses.
“Going there I knew I was going to be competing with people who went to ivy league schools so I just thought I need to pass for the credit to transfer but when I was there I realized it’s actually really easy to get an A,” said Abdelghani.
Abdelghani added that while there, she was constantly emailing some of her professors letting them know that she was going through their notes everyday. “I was explaining economic concepts and methods to people who went to Berkeley and Stanford because they didn’t learn them the way I did,” she stated enthusiastically.
Alongside Abelghani, Negm also thought her standards were going to be low compared to other students in LSE.
“I didn’t feel as an AUCian that I was below Ivy League students, in fact, I was solving questions that they themselves could not solve,” Negm continued.
“The professors there and here share the same commitment, interest, and passion in teaching,” said Soliman, highlighting that professors’ teaching standards in LSE were similar to those of AUC School of Business.
Abdelghani also added that the professors in LSE involve the students in the economic situation of the country, which she found refreshing.
“I was there during the time of Brexit, which is like an economist's dream, like you gave me the key to Disneyland and all the rides were for free,” Abdelghani said cheerfully. “So it was a healthy beautiful arena of debate, where debates were done so respectfully,” she added.
According to Noureldin, a lot of thought and determination goes into the development of the School’s courses and its curricula as well as the learning objectives for each course in order for the students to be on the same performance level as those of Ivy League universities.
“There’s a continuous development for the core courses in each major and I think that’s reflecting positively in the performance of students,” said Noureldin. “For example, in developing the courses, we ensure that whatever skills the students have match the labor market, and we also have to prepare them for post graduate studies,” he added.
Noureldin added that the School of Business is working on tailored programs in winter and summer, that are related to the Middle East, so it would be a point of attraction to many students abroad.
Harmoniously, students who went on this trip said they would do it all over again as they find themselves coming back to be more confident and engaged.