The American University of Beirut

Beirut, Lebanon

First off, this school is making me want to go back for my masters. In anything. It is located between the Hamra district, which is the hip store and cafe area, and the ocean. You walk off the track at the back of the school, down a flight of stairs and you are on the corniche with the ocean spread out in front of you. There are places all over the large wooded, hilly campus to sit and look at the water.

This university was opened in 1866 and is the most prestigious school in Lebanon. Class instruction is all in English. Coming from the other campuses I had been on all over the Middle East, it was weird and, slightly more my personal college experience, to see couples sitting together with their arms around each other, the girls legs and arms hanging out of her shorts and tank top. It is hot there. Really, really hot.

I heard wafts of conversation in the time I spent wandering around, talk of going to grad school in California, gossip, everyday words laced with flirtation. There was an air of openess and freedom there that I didn't quite sense at the other schools, but Beirut is known as the Paris of the Middle East. It doesn't surprise me that they let more fly there. Lots of beautiful girls full of brains and potential, showing their personalities through their dress and demeanor. I just might have to become one of them.