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Saturday, August 5, 2017

My travel experience to Cairo, Egypt

Hi, this week I got back to Tunisia so I think it's time to make a post about my travel experience in Egypt.
I went to Cairo for an AIESEC project, I was supposed to teach English or French to children but I didn't do any of that, I spent the whole month exploring the city 😅 so it was basically a vacation.

Travel experience in egypt

In this post I will say how did I go, tell my journey over there, my impression about Egypt, about AIESEC and why I didn't do the project, I will talk about the people I met there from locals to the people that came from all over the world for AIESEC projects... so it will be a long post.

I also documented my journey in photos and I uploaded them to Flickr :

travel experience in Cairo
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

1/ The beginning

During the school year, I was thinking about doing something different, I wanted to have a new experience so I thought about traveling but traveling never been easy and it's expensive so I thought about going with AIESEC as I will have free accommodation and I will get help like airport pickup...

I heard about AIESEC before but I didn't know what are the procedures I should follow, during the school year I was motivated to go out of Tunisia, so I just created an account in AIESEC website and applied for some opportunities, I was looking for some close countries because the flight ticket will be cheap... so I applied for Egypt, Ukraine, Morocco...

After a while, I start getting responses in what's app and emails from people asking to set a time for interviews... Things looked serious and I find that in some project I have to pay some fees like the explore project, it will be something around 350-500$, a computer science internship has fee like 70-90$... and when I used google to look for the flight tickets, the prices were really expensive so I just lost motivation, I canceled all the opportunities I applied for and I tried to move on 😏

After a while someone from AIESEC Tunisia contacted me, I even got a phone call saying that they will help me find an opportunity, I told them if you guys could find me an internship in computer science why not! but deep down I was convinced I won't get something I like.

During this period I kept getting messages from people for the opportunities I applied to even that I canceled them, but I wasn't answering until some guy contacted me on Facebook, he was the first person from AIESEC contacting me using Facebook, so I just told him the project fees are expensive and I can't go, he said there are some other opportunities that are free and sent me few images that have all the projects like teaching children, recycling, volunteering in providing food for poor people...

I told him I will answer him later as in that time I was out with my friends 😀 when I got home he kept sending me messages like what did you decide, he said he needs an answer today... so I told him if I go I will go with the education project, it will be a way to improve my languages skills and I applied for the opportunity in the website because I had nothing to lose. I added him in a group chat with my EP manager in Tunisia and they both start talking they asked themselves if they made an interview with me they both said yes even that I don't remember doing an interview with anyone of them xD and at the end all I have to do was paying 130 DT to AIESEC before some deadline if I want to go.

Long story short I told my parent about what happened and they supported the idea of me going out so I paid the money, I had some problems to catch the deadline but I made it work.

2/ The road to Cairo

During the school year I went to renew my passport because it takes a while and I got busy with school and exams... so I didn't do anything until I the school year was over, during this time I kept in contact with the guy from Cairo and he was helpful, he always answered my questions...

As for AIESEC Tunisia they didn't seem very helpful I mean I had to do everything for myself like for the visa procedure, I had to ask a friend about it, AIESEC Tunisia didn't seem very sure about the procedure, they didn't even tell me what I should do, they were always saying they don't know the answer for any of my questions.

So after the school year result, I applied for the visa, booked the flight ticket... and thank god I did save money during the past year xD

I was only in contact with the Egyptian guy and he was going to Germany and just a few days before I travel he told me he left AIESEC, So I was like WTF, who the hell will I meet over there, I was stressed a lot 😖, he told me not to worry and someone will pick me up from the airport... and just one day before going to the airport someone contacted me in what's app and the story begin 😆.

3/ Hello Egypt

Riding the airplane was so awesome, my day turned to be so good after I was so stressed 😊. In that day I felt I am fully depending on myself, from the airport procedures to the guy I met there and buying a SIM Card... it was really a wonderful experience.
The first thing I noticed when I got to Cairo was the weather, it was hotter than Tunisia. the second thing was the traffic it was so crazy.

I got there at night, I was lucky to see the lights of the city and the sunset from the plane it was really an amazing view! I advise anyone who wants to travel to take a plane that arrives at night 😛.

Anyway, my day ended by going to the apartment and meeting the guys I am going to stay with! I met people from all over the world, people from Pakistan, Brazil... I even met someone who was from Tunisia and the coincidence he was from my small hometown, he said we studied together when we were in primary school but I don't really remember him and from the whole month I spent it in Cairo I only saw him few times, he was always out 😋.

4/ My days in Cairo

I forget what happened exactly, but I remember the first day I went to eat in KFC with the guys.
The second day I dropped my phone into water and it stopped working, so I was with no GPS no Google map no what's app nothing xD I couldn't go out but I got my PC with me so I was able to hack my neighbor WIFI and I stayed in contact with people. I put my phone into rice and I waited till the evening so it started working again and I was able to go out to eat and discover the city.

The third day a guy from AIESEC came at night and got us more beds, he was nice he told me I will be working with an Indian girl and he gave me her what's app number so I contacted her and I met her in a place where I was supposed to do the project.

After that, all the guys went to a trip all of them were from the explore project so I was alone in the apartment for few days, I used that time to discover the city on my own by going to the museum, visiting the malls, Tahrir square, Cairo tower... it was fun.

The second week the guys went back so most of the time I was with them trying new places to eat, visiting famous places like Azher garden and mosques...., going to the cinema so it was a fun week, during this week AIESEC told me my project will start soon, I even went with an AIESEC member to fill a form in a charity place and I was supposed to start that week but nothing happened.

There was a trip to the pyramids for the explore project so I went with them, and there I met lot of Tunisian people, in the same day at night I got an 8 hours bus to go to Sharam Sheik 😜 I wanted to visit that place so I just booked a hotel and the girl I know who helped me with the visa in Tunisia  introduced me to a guy over there so I went alone and the guy she told me about helped me to discover the place ,so basically the third week was me in Sharam Sheik visiting Soho square, Holywood, the red sea... and at the end of the same week I went back to Cairo.

At that time I contacted AIESEC, to see if I could change my project and do an internship in computer science because even if my teaching project will start soon I don't like doing it anyway, even the Indian girl I met the first week went back to India without doing the project! so it was obvious it would be better to change the project. but like always AIESEC was really slow and they just told me they will see if I could change the project but nothing happened so the 4th week I decided that I should go back early to do an internship in Tunisia, Cairo was fun, I was having fun but also I was spending a lot of money and what I did was basically a long vacation so I decided it was time to go home.

The 4th week I went to change my flight ticket and when I realized I still have money and it will be my last week in Cairo, I started eating at expensive restaurants and do some shopping... till the last day came, I packed my bags and went to the airport and took the plane, that day was really good even more good than the day I came, not because I was happy to go home but because it was the end of an amazing journey, I even went to the airport alone without telling AIESEC to get someone to pick me up, I felt more independent and in the plane I sat next to an amazing girl, she was so clever and a funny person so yeah that day was good.

A lot happened during this month, I really do have a lot more to say but as you see I didn't even enter into details and I still wrote a lot, this could be the longest paragraph I wrote till now 😀.

5/ About AIESEC

AIESEC did help me a lot by picking me from the airport, getting me a SIM card, answering all sort of my questions and especially helped me with the accommodation, the accommodation wasn't the best, I mean I had to sleep the whole month without a pillow, the AC was broken, the apartment was good but it was kind crowded they were always adding EPs  and we were always telling them there is no space, at the end we were 11 people, 3 in each room but in general it was ok maybe because it was free 😅.

Let's start from the beginning, after signing the contract with AIESEC Tunisia it seemed like they don't care at all, it's all up to you, but I can't generalize that because it depends on the EP manager, 2 days before I go to Cairo, I knew this girl from AIESEC Tunisia by luck and she was really nice, she always answered me and even when I was in Cairo she was always checking on me and try to help me...

As for AIESEC Cairo, the guy I was talking with and the one who got me the project and talked with my EP buddy was very helpful, he was nice always answered me and he tried his best to help me, like when he got out of AIESEC, he still answer me and gave me the contact of some people there...

The guy who picked me from the airport was nice, he told me he is there if I ever need something, but in what's app he do not always answer ! he did say he will come to the apartment and give me answer but he never came, same for the project he kept saying he is waiting for a call from someone so I could start the project but he never replied back, I just kept waiting until I talked with someone else from AIESEC.

The other AIESEC guys I met in Cairo were nice, they do like Tunisians more than other Aiesecer  but in general only the explore project is fine there ! all the other project do not start at the time like the Indian girl went back to India without doing the project ! A guy I knew there had an internship in mechanical engineering and he started his internship a month after arriving so his internship was only 2 weeks ! same with a Tunisian girl that was in the same project like me, she started after 3 weeks of  being there, so yeah I think AIESEC ASST is really slow or maybe it just depends on the EP buddies because I knew people who started the second week of  being there.

6/ Summarize the experience

The experience was fun, it was great, all the good and bad moments I had in Cairo did teach me a lot and I am sure I will do it again ! next time I am thinking about Morocco or some country in Europe.

The best part was me talking in English 😅 I was even translating to the guys with me 😋.
In my whole life I was only reading, writing or listing to English but in this travel experience, I had the chance to communicate and speak with people in English, Egyptian Arabic was not easy for me too and no one could understand our Tunisian Arabic so sometimes I had to use English to talk with Egyptian.

I also made friends from all over the world Brazil, Spain, China, Pakistan, India, Algeria, Jordan, Egypt... I am sure I am not gonna see them again but it was nice to know people from different culture.

Anyway there are a lot more I could say but maybe I will write it when I have more free time, for now, that's it for the post, you could check the photos I took during the trip in flickr and I may add a video later, I recorded a lot of videos but I need time to do the editing 😆.


08/08/2017: yesterday I got an email from AIESEC, they sent me 4 certificates 😆 one that say I did teach English, the other one say I did web development... it's like it's up to me to pick one hhhh.

Anyway I know they are not that good but at least they are doing their best and I appreciate it 😄

I also finished the video editing, here it is :


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