A fantastic introduction to the Middle East. While it was a bit daunting to take on the biggest, most bustling city the Arab world has to offer-- the Marhaba staff gave volunteers a great foundation and several advice-filled group meetings to ease us into the process of living in a completely new place.
When I arrived in Cairo I was seriously hoping there would be someone there with my name on a sheet of paper. I had no real way of knowing whether this organization was legit or not before I got on that plane outside of it's website and contacts from the program the year before. Despite this lack of cross-referenced sources and the minor growing pains of an organization in its infancy, a second year program, Marhaba provided me with just about everything that I was looking for in a volunteer opportunity. We were able to network with people from all aspects of Egyptian society and to form real relationships with our students, who were fellow volunteers at Resala. With lectures, Egyptian Colloquial classes, volunteering, cultural outings, and travel throughout Egypt, becoming immersed in the Middle East was fairly easy.
Marhaba is a great organization for those who want to volunteer in the Middle East. This organization gives volunteers the opportunity to learn about the Egyptian culture and spoken Arabic language. Marhaba's director and coordinators are very well organized and dedicated to making sure volunteers are supported and have great experiences. I volunteered in an Egyptian organization by teaching English classes to Egyptian volunteers. Even though six weeks is a very short time to teach English, I feel like I made a great impact by creating a space for everyone to converse about cultural differences between Egypt and the United States. I learned so much from my new Egyptian friends and I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend talking and learning with them. I also greatly enjoyed taking Arabic class and learning the colloquial Egyptian language. Surprisingly, I learned much more Arabic than I ever expected. Overall, my summer participating with Marhaba was an amazing experience. I recommend this program for anyone who is interested in Egypt and looking to learn more about the culture and language.
I absolutely loved the six weeks that I spent volunteering in Egypt through Marhaba. What makes this program unique is that it provides a multifaceted approach to understanding the Egyptian lifestyle and culture. Instead of the typical study-abroad experience, volunteers have the opportunity to study colloquial Arabic and then put it into practice: volunteering in the community, living in Cairo and traveling throughout Egypt. I recommend this program to all of those who are interested in learning what it is truly like to live in the Middle East.
I had a great experience working with Marhaba this summer. My work at St. Andrew's refugee school was not only rewarding, but it also taught me more about refugee law and the specific issues that refugees in Cairo are forced to deal with. As a student interested in intl human rights law, I think Marhaba is a great program to be a part of. The volunteers also studied Arabic with a private instructor and organized a bunch of weekend trips. The people that I met were awesome, and I'm sure I'll return at some point in my life.