One girl, two countries, different cultures. That is how the 20 years-old Egyptian girl Basant Samhout grew up. Born in Cairo during a family summer vacation and raised in the UAE, she was living as an immigrant with her parents and her three siblings.
Basant never regretted for living in the UAE. She appreciates the fact that she was able to learn so much about the different cultural backgrounds of the world. She says: “The UAE is a bubbled society where I am exposed to a little bit of every culture.” However, her Egyptian roots and family distinct her from the others. “In the UAE, my friends would not get my Egypt-based jokes,” she says.
Somehow she was feeling alienated in that society, so following her oldest sister’s path and with the desire to learn more about Egypt and her roots, Basant went back to Cairo as a student in the American University in Cairo.
Since she was little, Basant wanted to become a journalist, but when she went to middle school she found another passion — Politics. She has always loved to debate and she gets really passionate about it. That is why, when she was in high school she started doing Model UN and she realized that she wants to expand her knowledge, and really understand what is happening in her country and around the world.
For her surprise, the American University in Cairo provided her with more than one opportunity for her education. “I went to AUC and realized I can do two majors! Journalism and Political Science are quite complimentary …. So I went ahead, why not” she says.
Throughout her experience in the university, she wanted to try many different things, so as to understand what exactly she wants to do after she graduates. During the studying process, her interest shifted back to Journalism. “I realized now that I enjoyed practical work a lot more than I do reading and analyzing,” she says. She is taking part in many different extracurricular activities that the university provides like being a reporter at the university newspaper, audio production and podcasting.
Furthermore, the university didn’t just provide her with good education, but also with unforgettable memories. She explains with a spark of excitement in her eyes how she found people that understand her and never judge her. She will always remember the times that she studied with her friends in the beautifully arranged gardens of the university and the way she overworked herself to fulfill her goals.
Now, Basant is at the finishing line of her university journey. She is completely sure that she wants to devote her life and career to Journalism. Politics is still one of her interests and maybe in future it will take part in her work as well. Unfortunately, Basant explains that in Egypt you can’t pursue Journalism without compromising your morals. So that is why she says: “My best case scenario is to go out of Egypt and start working in an international bureau like BBC.”
Ivet Petrova is a student in the American University in Bulgaria. This interview was a part of a project for one JMC course, where she had to interview this student through internet.