Richard Rinaldi just wanted to spend a semester studying abroad in Egypt.
"I was looking for an adventure," said Rinaldi, a 21-year-old junior at Georgetown University from Shamong. "I've been to Mongolia and Kazakhstan and studying abroad in Egypt was going to be another one of those once-in-a-lifetime adventures."
Little did the 2008 Moorestown Friends School graduate know was that country was on the verge of mass protests that would eventually lead to the resignation of Egypt President Hosni Murbarak after 30 years of autocratic rule.
And it would all happen just across the bridge from his dorm at American University in Zamalek, a district of Cairo.
Prior to his arrival Rinaldi had heard about the unrest in Tunisia but never believed the situation would become so tenuous in Egypt so quickly.
"I thought nothing is going to change in Egypt — Nothing's going to change," Rinaldi said.
Needless to say that wouldn't be the case, because just days after his arrival the protests broke out in Cairo.
"Obviously, it's something you never expect to experience," he said.
Rinaldi and fellow students actually witnessed the protests atop a number of buildings in the area that overlooked Tahrir Square.
While Rinaldi wasn't worried at first he couldn't help to be concerned as the days went by.
"We had security forces (at the university) but they only had sticks and rocks," Rinaldi said.
But so did the protestors.
"You just got to hope that they had more sticks and rocks than (the protestors) had," he said.
As the situation started to deteriorate fighter jets began to fly over on a pretty regular basis and Rinaldi said he couldn't help but to become concerned about the situation.
Then came the warnings from the U.S. Department of State for all Americans to evacuate the country.
At that point, Rinaldi reached out to his parents and began to try and find a flight out of Egypt. However, Georgetown University had already arranged a private flight to Doha, Qatar on Jan. 31.
Now the only problem was getting on the flight.
"The airport was the worst part," he said. "The airport was pretty crazy. Everyone was pushing their way through. It was shoulder to shoulder to shoulder and yelling at each other in different languages."
Eventually, he managed to get on the flight and by Feb. 3 he was back in class at Georgetown University.
And his parents couldn't be more pleased.
"They're just glad I'm back (in the United States)," he said. "I think my parents would rather I not travel (abroad) anymore."
But for Rinaldi, traveling is just one of those things that make life interesting.
"I like the adventure," he said. "I'd love to go back to Egypt at some point. It's a great country."
And maybe the next time he might actually see they Pyramids up close and not from the top of a building miles away, he said with a laugh.