Morgan Smith never lost hope that she’d be able to return to Egypt after being evacuated during heavy protests in February.
So her bags were already packed when the Fulbright Commission gave her the OK to return to Alexandria this week.
“I have been beaming since landing in Cairo,” Smith, a Fulbright English teaching assistant, said in an e-mail. “Although my Arabic is rusty, it feels so great to be back.”
Smith, a recent Centre College graduate from Louisville, will continue the teaching assistantship she began at Alexandria University last August. After finishing up there this coming August, she will start a Master’s program in Middle Eastern studies at Columbia University in New York City, her father Ed Smith said.
“If this is what she wants to do with her life, then there’s no better place for her to be right now,” he said.
Ed Smith said he and his wife, Leslie Smith, are no more concerned about their daughter living in Egypt now than they were before the protests, and Morgan Smith had a comforting assessment of the present atmosphere in Alexandria.
“Things seem to be very normal, as far as we can tell,” she wrote. “There are Egyptian flags painted everywhere.”
The swell of nationalism follows 19 days of protest in January and February that led to the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Smith said her Egyptian friends were exhilarated by this accomplishment and even more excited to vote on a referendum for constitutional amendments last Saturday in what many consider the first free election in decades.
“Although most of them voted against it, they were ecstatic to be able to voice their opinion,” she said in the e-mail.
Smith discussed this with her friends and professors over a warm dinner they prepared at her apartment to welcome her home, she said in the e-mail.
“Ultimately, I feel very blessed to have people who care about me both here in Egypt, and back at home,” she said.