Monday Motivation #110 — Student Takeover! (7/5/2022)
I’m Abdo Korayem and I’m a dual PhD student in the departments of Civil and Mechanical Engineering. This newsletter is a part of an awesome project by Augusto Gil whom you might recollect from one of the previous newsletters. Augusto is a College of Engineering Leadership Fellow and his project for the fellowship involves connecting graduate students in the college by sharing their personal stories to foster a sense of belonging within the engineering community. He graciously agreed for me to sign up for this month’s newsletter.
I was born in Indiana, USA while my dad was doing his PhD in Civil Engineering at Purdue University, and then my family moved to Texas for a few years. After that we moved to Egypt where they are originally from. I grew up and lived there for 20 years before coming back to the US! Coming back was always part of the life plan, but it kept being delayed for different reasons. I was actually going to do my undergrad here, but out of state student fees were just not on the table. By the time I finished my undergrad in mechanical engineering in Egypt, I didn’t feel like I wanted to leave, but life has a weird way of changing your opinions on things with time. Accordingly, here I am!
I lived in Cairo most of my life there, which is the capitol of the country. It’s also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Unfortunately, most of the jobs, investments, education opportunities are centered in Cairo, so people are constantly moving there from all over the country. Egypt doesn’t have a federal system, so different regions are broken down into governorates which can spill into each other, such as the case of the Greater Cairo region, which includes Cairo, Giza & other satellite cities.
Egypt has a very different climate than Michigan. It’s mostly desert except along the Nile river which runs along the entire country from south to north. We have a saying, “Egypt is the gift of the Nile”, given how much Egyptians rely on that single body of water for their entire livelihood! Egypt has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world too, as the north side of the country is bordered by the Mediterranean and the entire east side is bordered by the Red Sea. People usually escape the summer heat every year by going to Alexandria and the north coast to enjoy the beach. I miss that!
Religion is an important part of Egyptian society, and much of the culture is shaped around it. Egypt has one of the oldest institutions for higher education in the world, called Al-Azhar university which was founded in the 9th century CE. People from around the world come to Egypt to study there, as it is the largest and most reputable center for Islamic and Religious studies globally. It’s located in old Cairo and going there feels like you travelled back to the Middle Ages (Also known as the Islamic golden age) in terms of architecture and the general vibe of the city. I studied there for a couple of years after college, and it has probably been the most influential experience I went through in my life!
If you want to learn a little more about me, please check out the attached profile.
I wish you all a wonderful week ahead!