Traveling Around: Cairo, Egypt
Can you relate?
• Getting off the plane and seeing the armed security forces casually strolling around the airport with machine guns hanging off their arms.
• Going to the Egyptian Museum and walking past tanks and armored vehicles ready to deal with any major problems. There is heightened security leading up to the elections but the armed forces are subtle and seeing them is reassuring. Very strange though seeing military checkpoints with umbrellas protecting the soldiers from the sun.
• Finally seeing Tutankhamen’s treasures including his Death Mask after 39 years of wanting to go and see it, including canceling a previous planned trip as it coincided with the weekend the last revolution occurred.
• Then, walking in his tomb and seeing his mummified corpse (and ‘negotiating’ with the guard to take photographs, even though cameras and pictures not allowed).
• No queues, no waiting anywhere. Before the revolution it would have taken 30 minutes at each of the four tombs in Valley of the Kings before you could even enter and then it would be full of people. I was in Tutankhamen’s tomb with just my mini tour group (total of three) we had the place to ourselves…
• The Pyramids and the Sphinx!!!
• Bargaining with the vendors whilst the Nile River Cruise ship goes through the lock (they throw their product onto the deck and if you want it you throw your money down to them) – best fun ever!!
• Finding out that snacks are really cheap at roadside stalls
• Encountering insane Cairo traffic – lanes are just a suggestion and horns are to tell a story – one hour just to drive around the roundabout at Tahir Square – cars were doing u-turns in the middle of the traffic – against the flow – just to escape…
• Shopping!!! Dealing with the vendors can be so much fun if you smile at them and have a laugh…
• Walking around the corner and seeing the immense statues of Rameses II at Abu Simbel (after a 3am start and a 3 and a half hour road convoy)
• Watching an artisan make papyrus and then seeing another use hieroglyphics to personalise it for you
• Seeing an Egyptian Muslim man propose to his girlfriend on the Nile Dinner Cruise – so beautiful
• Seeing an Egyptian wedding (different couple obviously :)) get married by the pool at the hotel you are staying and then watching the fireworks when they leave the party
• Experiencing all the different temples at different times of the day so the light reflects differently
• Mummified crocodiles!
• Meeting two amazing boys from Barbados to travel around Upper Egypt with (we became known as Two Cokes and a Sprite as that reflected the drinks we always ordered for dinner but it was also a cute description of the three of us)
• Being taken out to dinner by your guide (not included in the tour package) as an extra so you can taste ‘real’ Egyptian food at a restaurant that happened to be across the road from the Sphinx so we were entertained by the Light show as well…
• Experiencing the incredible hospitality of the local people (my tour guide and tour company owner really made sure that I was having the tour of my dreams).
• Realising that Egypt is currently a safe place to visit regardless what the media says – it is cheap to visit now (weather is best Jan – April) and the people appreciate you visiting as they are doing it tough since the revolutions…
• Independently kickstarting the Egyptian economy with all the shopping I did (seriously heavy bags (plural) on the way home!)
• New friends in Egypt and because of Egypt!
Currently we have 23 international schools listed in Cairo, Egypt on International School Community. Here are a few of the them that have had comments submitted on them:
Cairo American College (27 Comments)
• Cairo British School (30 Comments)
• Cairo English School (17 Comments)
• Ecole Oasis Internationale (17 Comments)
• El Alsson British and American International School (20 Comments)
• Hayah International Academy (19 Comments)
• Misr American College (37 Comments)
• The International Schools of Choueifat in Egypt (22 Comments)
This Can you Relate article was submitted by an International School Community member who is Australian and currently works in the UAE.
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Around the world, there are cities that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.
Some cities, though, have MANY international schools! When that is the case, how do the comments about each school compare to each other?
This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.
Currently, we have 32 schools listed in Cairo on International School Community.
21 schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few that have the most submitted comments:
Cairo American College (Cairo, Egypt) – 27 Comments
Cairo British School (Cairo, Egypt) – 30 Comments
Cairo English School (Cairo, Egypt) – 20 Comments
El Alsson British and American International School (Cairo, Egypt) – 20 Comments
Hayah International Academy (Cairo, Egypt) – 20 Comments
Misr American College (Cairo, Egypt) – 47 Comments
Nefertari International Schools (Cairo, Egypt) – 28 Comments
The International Schools of Choueifat in Egypt (Cairo, Egypt) – 22 Comments
American International School in Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments
Modern English School Cairo (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 25 Comments
The International School of Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 43 Comments
“The previous comment is correct that foreign teachers are promised work visas but never receive them. Teachers just have to work with tourist visas. This is a dangerous position to be in because the Egyptian government is starting to deport foreigners, particularly Americans, who are working illegally in the country with tourist visas.” – The International School of Egypt
“This is a bit of an issue at AIS. They seem to hire people without checking references and most interviews are just over the phone or Skype. Several people get fired a year due to behaviors that I am sure would have shown before hiring should AIS do face to face interviews and checking references. I think this will change this year since there is a new Director. Currently, they do not go to any recruiting fairs, but are supposed to this year.” – American International School in Egypt
“The school can’t hire people over 60 years old.” – Nefertari International Schools
“Staff can choose where they want to live. A housing allowance is given at 1200 EGP per month Which is never enough to cover an apartment in a “good” neighbourhood. Rent costs on average per month for a single teacher only in a good working apartment 3000+ per month utilities are all billed separately which the teacher has to pay for.” –Cairo British School
“I found a great apartment for the housing allowance that the school gives. Some people rented much fancier places and paid more out of their salary. I lived in a great location and had a two bedroom apartment that my landlord also lived in so he was right there if I needed anything. He spoke English quite well to which helped in communication. My utilities were around $20 US per month. I had a cable bill and that was the same. I got internet on a USB stick from the telephone company which was $17 each month. I found the whole experience positive and cheap.” – Misr American College
“The apartments that teachers are placed in are fully paid for by the school.” – Cairo American College
“There is a housing allowance of 1500 LE if you don’t take the teacher housing, which is really terrible and disgusting. The housing allowance isn’t enough to actually rent an apartment though. Rent would be at least 2000 or more in the area, not including utilities.” – The International School of Egypt
“For the teachers that live in El Rehad and have their own car, it typically takes 15-20 minutes to get to work in the morning. You can hire a taxi through the school to get to school in the morning is 100 EGP. You can get a car through Careen though for 30 EGP one way. To drive to the city center from the school could take 45 minutes depending on traffic.” – American International School in Egypt
“The school is located in Ismailia Road, next to New Cairo and Heliopolis. Teachers get free transportation to and from your home to the school.” – Nefertari International Schools
“Teacher’s can live wherever they choose. The school is in the heart of the city that it is located in. Staff ride the school bus to and from school” – Cairo British School
“Expat teachers get a housing allowance and assistance in finding housing. I was easily able to find a nice apartment within the budget that is within walking distance to school.” – Misr American College
Language of Students
“Other comments are right on. Most students do not know much English so it is really hard to teach them using English language textbooks. There are very few who can write complete sentences, even in high school. The students all speak Arabic in the classroom, even though they are only supposed to speak English.” – The International School of Egypt
“All Egyptian nationals go to this school. In one classroom, you might find one kid that has parents with a non-Egyptian passport, but they will most likely be from another Arabic speaking country.” – American International School in Egypt
“Common languages spoken in hallways: Arabic.” – Nefertari International Schools
“English is the main language spoken in the school of course. from time to time you may hear the additional arabic being spoken. The school is made up of mostly high tier Egyptian families.” – Cairo British School
(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)
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