Strangers in a Foreign Land: A Study of Culture as Illustrated by Americans Living in Cairo
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It seemed inevitable that, at some point in my education in anthropology, I would have to return to Egypt. I began this project with the desire to revisit this culture and country which have been so prevalent' in my personal history coupled with the desire to better understand the meaning of culture. The Americans I interviewed showed me Egypt from an outsider's point of view, and in the process revealed to me their own confrontations with culture- their own culture and that of Egypt. In exploring how these foreigners to Egypt handled living in an obscure society, I came to the realization that culture is much more present in daily thoughts and actions than it is in yearly traditions and ethnic artifacts. It is much more about how people think and why they act than it is about what they hang in their living rooms and do on weekends. Learning this continues to be an intriguing experience; this project in my eyes still has not ended. Nonetheless, it would not have been possible without the help of the many on whom I leaned. First and foremost, of course, is God. Next, I would not have truly encountered Egypt without the support of my aunts Samia and Salwa and my uncles Adel and Gamal, who did everything in their power to help me conduct interviews and work as an intern. Beyond this, they listened to my frustrations and forgave my insolence. To them I am deeply grateful. Next I am grateful to the interviewees who so readily shared their stories and experiences with me; without their candor, honesty, and willingness, this SIP would not be possible.