Two Montclair State University students who were caught up in the civil unrest in Egypt have safely departed the country.
Adrienne Sherwin, 21, a junior majoring in English from Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and Jaclyn Serchuk, 21, a senior majoring in Fine Arts from Hillsborough, New Jersey, arrived in Cairo in January to begin a semester of study abroad and soon became first-hand observers of the anti-government protest demonstrations that gripped the city.
The roommates said they were able to see smoke over the city and hear the chants of protestors engaged in mass demonstrations to oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has held office for nearly 30 years.
“It seems surreal that this is happening,” said Serchuk, who confessed to being “scared” at times. But she added that the campus of American University in Cairo, where they were staying, was in a suburban enclave and protected by security staff.
Both were concerned about the fate of the Egyptian people. “It’s terrible they have to go through this,” Sherwin said. The pair spent most of their time in their dormitory, venturing out only occasionally to buy groceries. With Internet access cut off, they had to piece together information about the crisis from TV reports, phone calls from their parents, and updates from the American Embassy.
Soon, the two were transferred to Cairo International Airport to await a flight out of the country and on February 1, they were able to catch a flight to Austria and then on to London.
According to Domenica Dominguez, director of Study Abroad and International Programs at Montclair State’s Global Education Center, Sherwin is now back in New Jersey and plans to resume her studies at Montclair State. Serchuk chose to remain in London and is working with Dominguez to be placed in another of the University’s Study Abroad programs. It looks as if she may soon find herself beginning a new program in Florence, Italy.
Sherwin said in the short time she and Serchuk had been in Egypt, they had fallen in love with the country. “We plan to come back someday,” she promised. “We have to come back to see the pyramids!”