University of Michigan student Matthew Ward arrived in the United States from
"I wasn't scared," Ward said by telephone from Washington D.C. "It was uplifting to see the Egyptian people who had for three decades been politically apathetic coming out against President Hosni Mubarak."
He's among a handful of
Most students were due back in Michigan today. U.S. Sen. Carl Levin's office also is assisting constituents in leaving the nation, but a spokesman couldn't provide specifics citing confidentiality rules.
Ward, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, said he wasn't afraid of the protests or chaos, but was concerned about getting home safely.
Ward said he joined the demonstrators at one point and walked along the sidewalks adjacent to the protesters at the beginning of the uprising a week ago. Ward said he went to Egypt to study Arabic at Alexandria University and to gain a greater understanding of how an "autocracy operates using a democracy to stay in power."
"It was really inspiring to see the Egyptian people mobilize for human rights," said Ward, a political science major.
On Sunday, Ward flew out of Alexandria beginning a long trek back home by way of a series of flights through the Middle East.
By Tuesday afternoon, Ward was worn out and planned to sleep before the final leg of his trip that would bring him back to Ann Arbor.
At Saginaw Valley State University, officials stayed in close contact Tuesday with their lone student in Egypt.
Zachary Brissette, a 22-year-old Saginaw Valley senior and Bay City resident, was studying Arabic and accounting at American University in Cairo. He flew to Istanbul. Saginaw University spokesman J.J. Boehem said he didn't know when Brissette would return back to Michigan but that he is safe.
Lori Brissette said her son was a bit disappointed that he didn't stay in the country. She said he had studied in Cairo two years ago and loves Egypt.
"My stomach was churning for the last four days because you're wondering if he's OK," Lori Brissette said Tuesday.
Zachary Brissette will take a two-week trip around Europe before he returns home, said his mother. He is with his girlfriend Carlye Sheer, a 20-year-old Western Michigan University student, who also was studying at the American University in Cairo.