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UPDATE, Feb. 3 at 12:15 p.m.:
All AU students studying abroad in Cairo will be out of Egypt within 24 hours. Only one student remains in the country, according to Tina Murray, assistant director of AU Abroad.
Murray said the student who had originally chosen not to evacuate Cairo will leave tomorrow on a commercial flight to Morocco, where he will be studying for the rest of the semester.
Five students at the American University in Cairo were taken to Istanbul on the U.S. State Department’s Safe Haven flights. Two are remaining in Istanbul to study, while two are still deciding their courses of action. One student’s return to AU has been delayed by the widespread snowstorms in the U.S., according to Murray.
Murray said the three students studying with AMIDEAST’s Cairo program have left Athens and started their alternate programs in Jordan and Morocco.
UPDATE, Feb. 1 at 6:05 p.m.:
Four AU students studying at the American University in Cairo remain in Egypt. Of them, three are still attempting to leave the country with the U.S. State Department’s Safe Haven program, according to Tina Murray, assistant director of AU Abroad.
One student is now planning to stay in Cairo against the advice of his family and AU Abroad. Another student will be returning to AU while two others are still deciding their courses of action based on their academic needs, Murray said.
The students in Cairo will be evacuated to Greece, Cyprus or Turkey no later than tomorrow afternoon.
Two students at the American University in Cairo are confirmed as going to Turkey on a Safe Haven flight and will remain in Istanbul to study. There may have been two additional AUC students on the flight to Turkey, according to Murray.
Murray said three AU students with the AMIDEAST program have been evacuated via a private chartered flight and are currently in Athens. They will transition to AMIDEAST’s programs in Jordan and Morocco.
AU Abroad is currently working to evacuate the 11 AU students studying abroad in Cairo, according to Tina Murray, assistant director of AU Abroad.
Several students are already on their way out of the country, while others are on their way to the airport or already there, according to an AU Abroad Facebook update.
AU offers study abroad programs in Cairo through two partners: the American University of Cairo and AMIDEAST, a study abroad organization.
Currently, there are three students studying with AMIDEAST and eight students directly enrolled at AU-Cairo. Both programs are evacuating their students as soon as possible, Murray said.
AMIDEAST has made arrangements for private evacuation, and those students were on their way out of Cairo on Jan. 31 and going to Greece. From there, they will go to other AMIDEAST programs in the Middle East, Murray said.
Students at AU-Cairo are using the U.S. State Department’s Safe Haven travel option, which offers transportation options for any American wanting to leave Cairo.
The State Department is chartering planes to meet U.S. citizens at the airport. AU-Cairo students will then be taken to Cyprus, Greece or Turkey temporarily. Passengers must reimburse the U.S. government for the cost of the flight, according to the State Department.
Through AMIDEAST and AU-Cairo, AU Abroad is trying to figure out where all students will land and which alternative study abroad program they will then relocate to for the rest of the semester.
No students have chosen to return to AU, nor has anyone chosen to remain in Cairo, according to Murray.
“We’re tending to think at this point that students will have such a variety of options to stay abroad that they will probably choose another study abroad option over coming back to campus,” she said.
Murray said the biggest challenge of the evacuation process has been communication, since all cell phone and Internet use has been cut off.
“What has been interesting is that it does seem that the AU students are in communication with each other, so if we get a piece of information conveyed to one student, it seems to be shared amongst all the students, so that’s been very helpful,” she said. “The students have been creative in communicating with their families and so we’ve opened up communication with the families and gotten some information that way.”
Students are made aware of the academic and financial implications of studying in unstable countries. When preparing to study in the Middle East, applicants must sign a waiver acknowledging the risk inherent in the region during the application process.
Because all alternative programs are AU-approved, students will be able to take a full course load for the rest of the semester.
It is yet to be determined if students’ program costs will be reimbursed following their relocation, Murray said.
Murray hopes the unrest will not deter other students from studying abroad.
“These students are having an unparalleled experience,” Murray said. “In fact, some of them have expressed regret at the very real prospect that they won’t be able to stay, because they want to see how this all plays out.”