Some people explore the pyramids of Egypt.
Some people explore the pyramids of Egypt.

Egypt is a gorgeous country filled with ancient architecture, beautiful rolling deserts, and rich culture. Many people are familiar with the intricate architectural structures known as the Egyptians pyramids. Anyone who has searched for online photographs of Egypt knows that Egypt primarily consists of deserts. The best way to learn more about Egypt and its amazing history is to host a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) student from Egypt; however, here are several intriguing facts that you might not know.

The first pyramid was a step pyramid, built by the infamous Egyptian architect, Imhotep. The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest infrastructure in the world, until the Eiffel tower was constructed. It is believed that the triangular shapes of the pyramids were inspired by the Sun’s rays, which makes sense because the Sun god, Ra, was beloved by all ancient Egyptians.

Egypt holds the world record for longest reign in history. Pharaoh Pepi II was first appointed as the king of Egypt when he was six years old, and he reigned for 94 years from 2246-2152 B.C. That’s something to brag to Guinness World Records about.

Few countries have as rich of a religious history as Egypt. In the past, ancient Egyptians worshiped thousands of Egyptian gods. Two of the most well-known were Hapi, the god of the Nile river, and Ra, the Sun god. Most Egyptians now practice Islam, however the Christian cross is derived from the Egyptian symbol Ankh.

Ancient Egyptians believed that mummification ensured the deceased a safe passageway to the afterlife. Ancient Egyptians would also mummify animals, such as pets. Archaeologists have found countless mummified cats. Although cats were cherished by ancient Egyptians, dogs are surprisingly the most common pets in Egypt.

A dazzling picture of the Nile river in Egypt
A dazzling picture of the Nile river in Egypt.

The Nile is instrumental not only to the wildlife in Egypt, but also to the people of Egypt. Because Egypt only receives an inch of rainfall each year, the Nile river is the primary source of drinking water for the people of Egypt. Even more remarkable is that the Nile is the longest river in the entire world. The Nile also play an important role in agriculture in Egypt, which is due to Egypt’s advanced irrigation system. Additionally, the Nile provides a great ecosystem of lively animals and lush vegetation. Although the majority of Egypt is filled with desert terrain, this river provides a tropical oasis in the midst of all the heat and sand.

Modern Egypt has been making great strides in strengthening gender equality and women’s rights. Egypt was the first Muslim country to name a woman as a marriage officer. Currently, more than twelve percent of the Egyptian People’s Assembly are women. Also, Egypt was the first Arabic country to have a feminist movement.

A beautiful picture of Cairo University, which is located in Cairo, Egypt.
A beautiful picture of Cairo University, which is located in Cairo, Egypt.

Education is highly revered in Egypt, which is why education is provided to Egyptian citizens for free through the university level. It is also very helpful that Egypt provides free internet access. Country-wide free internet access makes writing research papers more accessible for Egyptian students and scholars.

Egypt’s compelling dedication to education creates an inspiring atmosphere for their students to grow and learn. Egypt’s innovated outlook on education makes their exchange students stand out in the crowd. Hosting a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) student from Egypt will not only gives you a more elaborate outlook on Egypt’s landscape, culture, history, and religion.

IRIS needs to confirm host families now for the 2013-2014 YES academic year. Hosting an exchange student is an important role not only in our YES students’ eyes, but also in the host families’ lives. If you would like to learn more about hosting a YES student from Egypt or any of our other students from all over world, please contact us at IRIS.

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