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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi
Looking at accepting a job in Alexandria. So many questions but to start with:
1. Where are good areas to live in Alexandria?
2. Whats the Rental Rates like per month for a flat (central)?
3. Cost of living relative to UK?
4. Anything i should be aware of?
Thanks
 

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Talk about hype building.... Well, let me try to help answer a few questions:

Areas
1) Traffic is a bit of a mess in Alexandria, so try to take into consideration distance from your home to your work area. Here are some of the better areas clustered together according to their distances.
a) Soultan Houssein / Azarita / Babour El Maya
b) Semouha
c) Roushdy / Kafr Abdo / San Stefano / Louran

Kafr Abdo and Roushdy seem to be more popular among Expats because it has two expat friendly establishments nearby; the British Consulate and the Portuguese Club (also called Carlos). There should be on Mondays in the morning a women's meeting at the Portuguese Club only for expats. Whereas near Soultan Houssein you have the German and Russian Consulates. Also nearby you will find the Greek and Italian Consulates.

Rents
2) Flat rates can vary quite a lot depending on location and "quality". You can get rates anywhere from 1000LE to 3000LE / month.

Living Expenses
3) I am not aware of UK costs of living, but if you plan to cook your own meals, then I am sure food costs a lot less in Alexandria than most places. You can buy 500g of Pasta for about 1.5LE. You can buy 1kg of Rice for 2LE. A full chicken will cost you 20LE. 1 Kg of potatoes will cost 1.5LE.

There exists free internet (quite bad) or you can pay for basic internet packages of 100LE per month. Most likely you will be using taxis to get around town and most short trips will be under 10LE. Movie tickets cost about 25 LE. A KFC sandwich is around 11LE.

In general, living in Alexandria doesn't cost that much at all; however, the convenience that is easily found in Europe is not as easily found in Alexandria. Public transportation can be exhausting. There are no meters in Taxis and it is always a negotiation process. The driver will immediately double the charge since you are non-Egyptian. Most local stores don't have a price label on items, so you never know if the employee in the shop will try to rip you off or not. Thus, I highly recommend you simply shop at major supermarkets.

They might be a bit more expensive, but at least you won't get ripped off. The major mall in Alexandria is called City Center and it has everything you need and don't need in your everyday living. Inside City Center, there is a Carrefour. Across from City Center there is another major supermarket called Fathallah. I actually prefer Fathallah as I find amazing prices there. Fathallah also carries several of my favorite brands that are not found in any other supermarket chain.

Random Thoughts
a) If you use stick deodorants, try to bring them with you from the UK. They mainly sell roll-ons and spray here in Alexandria.
b) Generic medicine is quite cheap here, so might as well sock up on those while you are in Alexandria
c) Get all your medical tests done in UK before you arrive here (dental exams, eye exams, physicals, etc.)
d) Try to have your employer help you get settled in, as quite honestly, it is not an easy task. Your employer should at least try to secure housing for you.
e) Clothes in Egypt are quite cheap. You can easily find most electronics here too. Thus, if you want to keep your items in the UK and start Fresh in Alexandria, it shouldn't be much of a hassle.
f) Once you get here, I would say join the Gold's Gym (located in Lagoon Resort). It costs about 3000LE / year. Gold's gym is the latest meet & greet location for many of the affluent Egyptians. As a non-Egyptian, you will also find many Egyptians in the gym attempt to befriend you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the extensive reply.
I think i will start to google map the areas you have suggested. The company i will be working for is just off the Desert Highway in the west. Just as a rough guestimate how long would it take to get from say Roushdy to there in the morning?
Also my wife will be coming with me, she speaks a few languages and has a legal background. Would there be work for her in Alex?
Thanks again
 

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Just to get your definition, just off the desert highway, I would assume that means very close to the gate of Alexandria. The desert highway is the alexandria - cairo road.

From Roushdy to downtown area (Soultan houssein / Azarita) is about 30 mins. From Azarita to the gate is probably another 30 minutes. So I would say it should take a total of 60+ minutes or so from Roushdy to the gate.

There are tons of jobs in Alexandria and employers are always complaining that no one wants to work. Similarly, people complain that there is no job openings available. Then you have the media screaming with high unemployment rates. The honest truth in Alexandria is that many establishments have tons of openings but provide very little salary to the salaries relative to Cairo. Residents of Alexandria then start saying that they deserve more and simply keep waiting to find that one job that pays extraordinary amounts. The problem is that folks want big salaries immediately and do not understand the concept of a salary raise.

Let me try to paint the picture for you so you have a better grasp of the work environment in Alexandria. First of all, let's start with holidays and work hours. Work hours range from 8 to 12 hours per day. Holidays are typically 1 day per week with the exception of the several of the factories in the industrial zones with 2 days per week. Monthly wages start from 300LE for 8 hrs and 500LE for 12 hours for unskilled work. In most of the factories in the industrial zones, you'll find the unskilled 12 hours start at around 600LE and max at around 900LE. Secretaries who tend to speak 2 languages (Arabic & English), perform office and administrative work tend to start at 500LE and up to say 1000LE. Then, they get married and stop working.

On the completely other end of salaries, Alexandria can offer big salaries, but they are geared towards very technical jobs. I've seen monthly salaries here range from $1000-$6000 for technical jobs (production managers, electricians, etc.).

In Alexandria, there is a growing trend of conservatism, and many jobs now require females to wear headscarves. You'll even find job ads that place "veiled females" as a requirement. On the other hand, the tourism industry in Alexandria completely wants the opposite and requires "unveiled females." I know many females who are actually veiled but for work they remove the headscarf and then as they go back home they wear the headscarf.

In most non-technical oriented jobs, employers always try to spend the minimum possible (hence they would hire Egyptians versus non-Egyptians because they are too embarrassed to quote the low salaries that they can offer, or have the budget to offer, to non-Egyptians). However, several areas I have found non-Egyptians to excel with respect to non-technical jobs is with respect to Public Relations of major companies or guest relations at hotels or hostesses at tourist oriented restaurants. I have also seen several work as Sales agents (commission based jobs).

You also have the window of working as an English teacher.

I would do a quick search in this forum and start reading the several requests by others for jobs. It should help to give you an idea of what other non-Egyptians have attempted in terms of job opportunities. It also provides several comparisons across salaries.

For your reference, note that Egyptian companies can have 10% of their workforce as non-Egyptians (up to a max of 25% if they appeal). The process for companies to hire non-Egyptians is also cumbersome. Thus, many of the smaller establishments might hire on a more flexible basis.

Since your wife will be coming with you, I would highly recommend she first gets to understand Alexandria before trying to secure a job while still in the UK. After she gets a better sense of Alexandria, she'll have an idea of the job she would prefer to spend her time in. Job ads are typically communicated via word of mouth, and print advertisements in major newspapers. Typically the best for Alexandria is El Ahram (Friday edition) and El Waseet (published Mondays). Simply visiting several of the major tourist attractions in Alexandria (hotels, restaurants, etc.) and asking for job opportunities might not be a bad idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, thats a lot of info.
Thanks for the reply.
We are going to come over on a recce in early december. So i reckon a lot of our questions will be answered then.
 

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Hi Huddersboy

I have a legal background and think it may be difficult for your wife to find a job in that field in Alexandria. I think the few international firms that have offices in Egypt tend to be based in Cairo. I have a couple of contacts in Cairo firms and from what I understand they tend not to want to commit to anything until you are actually in the country (I presume to avoid the expat packages). I have a number of Western friends who have legal backgrounds who found jobs in the not for profit sector i.e. human rights etc. I am not sure what options there are to do that type of work in Alex.

As I think Mens mentioned, another option would be to teach English. I have English friends who have lived in Alex teaching English. They have told me that you need to have at least the CELTA qualification to teach out there (which I understand takes about a month to acquire and costs about £1000). You can take the course in England. I am not sure whether you can take it in Alex although I think it may be possible to take the course in Cairo. I had a close friend working for Amideast in Alex last year and I think they paid around LE4000 per month.

Hope that helps. Good luck with your job search
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi
Thanks for the advice. My wife actually has an english teaching qualification, not sure which though.
I got the impression from my potential employer that all the avenues for my wifes line of work would be out of Cairo.
English teaching is definitely something to consider again.
I am sure i will think of more questions but for now thanks to all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thought of another question:
Bank Accounts - Advice please? Looks like i am going to be paid in USD. For an Ex Pat is it the norm to be paid into an Egyptian Bank account or and International one?
Also how easy is it to open an account in Egypt?
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Not that i am a raving alcoholic but how easy is it to get a good bottle of wine in Alex?
Are there wine merchants?
 

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It is extremely easy to buy Egyptian wine / liquor. In terms of imported stuff, almost everyone has a "guy" they call and he brings them the bottles. Clearly, this method of calling the "guy" is not quite legal. Imported bottles are legally introduced in the country via the Free Shops /EgyptAir method. Any other route is considered illegal. Thus, anytime you land in Egypt, go crazy buying bottles of whisky (or vodka or whatever tickles your fancy). They say the limit is 2 or 3, but the cashier never cares if you slip him 20LE tips.

MS you need to drink more often so you get to my level of believing that the Egyptian wine is not that bad. It is relatively good! Actually, I'm quite a fan of most red wines. They cost anywhere in the 50-100LE range per bottle. Most restaurants would charge around double to quadruple the price of Drinkies. There are around a handful of restaurants that serve alcohol in Alexandria. In terms of cafes, I can only think of 2 that serve alcohol in Alex.

There are quite a few Drinkies shops scattered around Alexandria. There is one near Raml Station. In Raml station, there is also another wine store right across from the Drinkies shop. Also, one of the cafes that serves alcohol is nearby. There is even a very popular bar near that area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just mae a flying visit to finalise things and had a glass of Egyptian Red in the hotel.
It was a bit Sherry like which i have to say i did not enjoy too much.
Is "Drinkies" limited to just egyptian wine then?
Thanks
 
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