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Hi there - Through my Husbands work, my Husband and I have an opportunity to move from the UK to Cario for one year. I know very little about Cario other than when we travelled there to attend the usual tourist spots. I remember it hot, dusty and very busy. I would appreciate advice from anyone who has in the past year, made the move. Can you help me with the following -
1) are there compounds for expats to live in and if so which is best to consider?
2) how easy is it for a lady to live in Cario without a job? and or, how easy is it for a women to get jobs, (Im currently a Mananger working for a Bank)
3) What is the cost of living like?
4) Is driving considered safe for experienced drivers.
5) Are expats made to feel welcome?

etc, etc ---Any infomation would be appreciated as we have to make a very quick decision on this move.

Many thanks. Karen
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum Karen

Firstly you will not get an expat job once you are in Cairo, you will find work but the pay will be enhanced local rates.
There are compounds on the outskirts of Cairo but if you want to work you want to be in the city because the journey is horrendous.
I would not advise anyone to drive here, I have lived and driven in Paris and it is a toddle compared to Cairo, most expats get a car and driver in the package and if you do take it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Useful Info - Many thanks

Hi and welcome to the forum Karen

Firstly you will not get an expat job once you are in Cairo, you will find work but the pay will be enhanced local rates.
There are compounds on the outskirts of Cairo but if you want to work you want to be in the city because the journey is horrendous.
I would not advise anyone to drive here, I have lived and driven in Paris and it is a toddle compared to Cairo, most expats get a car and driver in the package and if you do take it.
Hi I Appreciate your quick useful response. I hope you are enjoying life in the sun! Many thanks.
 

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Hi there - Through my Husbands work, my Husband and I have an opportunity to move from the UK to Cario for one year. I know very little about Cario other than when we travelled there to attend the usual tourist spots. I remember it hot, dusty and very busy. I would appreciate advice from anyone who has in the past year, made the move. Can you help me with the following -
1) are there compounds for expats to live in and if so which is best to consider?
2) how easy is it for a lady to live in Cario without a job? and or, how easy is it for a women to get jobs, (Im currently a Mananger working for a Bank)
3) What is the cost of living like?
4) Is driving considered safe for experienced drivers.
5) Are expats made to feel welcome?

etc, etc ---Any infomation would be appreciated as we have to make a very quick decision on this move.

Many thanks. Karen

Hi

Wasn't sure what you meant by how easy is it for a lady to live without a job. I know many Western women in Cairo who work but as MS has said, they don't tend to have expat packages if they found the job whilst in Egypt. Unemployment is high for Egyptians so you would really be looking at finding a job which an Egyptian can't fill (not least because they are cheaper).

It's the only country I have been in though where job adverts specify which gender they prefer!

Cost of living is as high or as low as you want. Most Egyptians live very cheaply - food, transport etc is cheap compared to the West. But if you want to live a more expat lifestyle e.g. shop in Western supermarkets, drink in Western bars, take taxis everywhere, join a gym, then obviously your costs rise (although taxis are still really cheap compared to Western countries). I have Western friends who can live on around £400-£500 (albeit frugally). Others have mentioned that they can live comfortable and save some money on a salary of around £1500pm.

If possible try to get accomodation and a car/driver included in your husband's package.

Egyptians are on the whole friendly and welcoming. Without trying to reopen age old debates on this website (!), many women report that they are subject to a great deal of sexual harassment. I personally have only experienced comments but others have reported that men have tried to touch them. You can also feel like a walking wallet in Egypt with constant requests for tips/help for sick relatives/ overcharging. Having said both of those things, I feel very safe in Cairo (more so than some of the English cities I have lived in) and whilst there are times being in Egypt can drive me mad, I love the country!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi

Wasn't sure what you meant by how easy is it for a lady to live without a job. I know many Western women in Cairo who work but as MS has said, they don't tend to have expat packages if they found the job whilst in Egypt. Unemployment is high for Egyptians so you would really be looking at finding a job which an Egyptian can't fill (not least because they are cheaper).

It's the only country I have been in though where job adverts specify which gender they prefer!

Cost of living is as high or as low as you want. Most Egyptians live very cheaply - food, transport etc is cheap compared to the West. But if you want to live a more expat lifestyle e.g. shop in Western supermarkets, drink in Western bars, take taxis everywhere, join a gym, then obviously your costs rise (although taxis are still really cheap compared to Western countries). I have Western friends who can live on around £400-£500 (albeit frugally). Others have mentioned that they can live comfortable and save some money on a salary of around £1500pm.

If possible try to get accomodation and a car/driver included in your husband's package.

Egyptians are on the whole friendly and welcoming. Without trying to reopen age old debates on this website (!), many women report that they are subject to a great deal of sexual harassment. I personally have only experienced comments but others have reported that men have tried to touch them. You can also feel like a walking wallet in Egypt with constant requests for tips/help for sick relatives/ overcharging. Having said both of those things, I feel very safe in Cairo (more so than some of the English cities I have lived in) and whilst there are times being in Egypt can drive me mad, I love the country!
Hi many thanks for infomation. I'm interested in as much info as I can get.

Sorry I should have said 'What is there to do for women who do not work' I currently work full time as a Manager of a large team in a Bank and have been used to a very busy fulfilled role. I'm not the sort to sit at home so I was interested to know if there are many opportunities to join clubs, etc?

Its great to hear you love the country, is there any part of Cairo you would recommend for choosing to live in, or put another way, where would you avoid? It seems that we may not be in an apartment rather than a compound.

Thanks for getting back to me, take care and enjoy.
 

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Hi many thanks for infomation. I'm interested in as much info as I can get.

Sorry I should have said 'What is there to do for women who do not work' I currently work full time as a Manager of a large team in a Bank and have been used to a very busy fulfilled role. I'm not the sort to sit at home so I was interested to know if there are many opportunities to join clubs, etc?

Its great to hear you love the country, is there any part of Cairo you would recommend for choosing to live in, or put another way, where would you avoid? It seems that we may not be in an apartment rather than a compound.

Thanks for getting back to me, take care and enjoy.
MS may be able to answer your questions about clubs better than I can but I understand there is a BCA and I think you can access information to it on one of the stickys at the start of the Egypt forum.

I usually spend my free time in Egypt taking Arabic courses. I guess if you were interested, that would be one way to spend some of your time. I have other friends who have been involved in voluntary work such as teaching English to poorer groups of Egyptians who wouldn't normally be able to afford it. There is quite a lot of human rights work out there as well but again it's unpaid. I am not sure whether there is an expat group for wives (or husbands!) who don't work.

I am not in Cairo at the moment but when I stay there, I usually rent an appartment in Mohandiseen as it's close to the language school. However, I am intending to come out to Cairo again shortly and I think I would like to live in Zamalek this time which is a lovely area which tends to have more westerners living there. It's where a lot of the Embassies are based. Expats also tend to like Maadi, Agouza and Heliopolis. Having said that, I think the starting point would be to find out where your husband will be working and then post your question so that people can let you know the nice residential areas close to his work. Cairo traffic is hideous - really hideous! So it's probably preferable to cut out the commuting.

Hope that helps
 

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Hi there - Through my Husbands work, my Husband and I have an opportunity to move from the UK to Cario for one year. I know very little about Cario other than when we travelled there to attend the usual tourist spots. I remember it hot, dusty and very busy. I would appreciate advice from anyone who has in the past year, made the move. Can you help me with the following -
1) are there compounds for expats to live in and if so which is best to consider?
2) how easy is it for a lady to live in Cario without a job? and or, how easy is it for a women to get jobs, (Im currently a Mananger working for a Bank)
3) What is the cost of living like?
4) Is driving considered safe for experienced drivers.
5) Are expats made to feel welcome?

etc, etc ---Any infomation would be appreciated as we have to make a very quick decision on this move.

Many thanks. Karen
I would have to say go for it, if you hate it, it is only a year, but it is a fantastic opportunity to experience a different lifestyle. Egypt has so much to experience, and as you sound like a very capable woman, you have a lot to offer Egypt. If you are looking for work to occupy you, rather than for the money, there are plenty of charities who would welcome you with open arms. Education for the poor is an area that needs improving, fund raising for orphanages, teaching English (and work towards your qualifications in it). Animal welfare is another big issue here, there are animal sanctuarys that need volunteers/fundraisers.
Teach others your skills, computer/arts and crafts/ dance, whatever.
Weekends, run with the Hash House Harriers, go to the Red Sea and learn to scuba dive, fly down to Luxor/Aswan, etc etc. The year will fly by. We used to go to the Queens birthday ball, St Andrews night ball ( and everyone learned the dances) US Marine ball, Lots of Hash house Harriers events, rugby club, 4th July celebrations.
Re driving, you need to know the road system before you can ever consider driving, it's far easier to use taxis, and they are relativley cheap. Cars are very expensive to buy, and WILL get scratched/bumped on a regular basis. Get a driver if you can, he will make life a lot easier.
Learn Arabic. Michel Thomas does great language cd's, you will quickly have a grasp of basic Arabic,enough to get you started. get the advanced too, it's worth it, from Waterstones/Amazon.
Ok i've gone on a bit, hope you make the right decision for you.
Helen. now in Hurghada ex Alexandria.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
MS may be able to answer your questions about clubs better than I can but I understand there is a BCA and I think you can access information to it on one of the stickys at the start of the Egypt forum.

I usually spend my free time in Egypt taking Arabic courses. I guess if you were interested, that would be one way to spend some of your time. I have other friends who have been involved in voluntary work such as teaching English to poorer groups of Egyptians who wouldn't normally be able to afford it. There is quite a lot of human rights work out there as well but again it's unpaid. I am not sure whether there is an expat group for wives (or husbands!) who don't work.

I am not in Cairo at the moment but when I stay there, I usually rent an appartment in Mohandiseen as it's close to the language school. However, I am intending to come out to Cairo again shortly and I think I would like to live in Zamalek this time which is a lovely area which tends to have more westerners living there. It's where a lot of the Embassies are based. Expats also tend to like Maadi, Agouza and Heliopolis. Having said that, I think the starting point would be to find out where your husband will be working and then post your question so that people can let you know the nice residential areas close to his work. Cairo traffic is hideous - really hideous! So it's probably preferable to cut out the commuting.

Hope that helps
Really does help thanks, especially regarding the areas to consider living. Interestingly I think the region we will be heading is Zamalek, so it's interesting to hear it lovely there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I would have to say go for it, if you hate it, it is only a year, but it is a fantastic opportunity to experience a different lifestyle. Egypt has so much to experience, and as you sound like a very capable woman, you have a lot to offer Egypt. If you are looking for work to occupy you, rather than for the money, there are plenty of charities who would welcome you with open arms. Education for the poor is an area that needs improving, fund raising for orphanages, teaching English (and work towards your qualifications in it). Animal welfare is another big issue here, there are animal sanctuarys that need volunteers/fundraisers.
Teach others your skills, computer/arts and crafts/ dance, whatever.
Weekends, run with the Hash House Harriers, go to the Red Sea and learn to scuba dive, fly down to Luxor/Aswan, etc etc. The year will fly by. We used to go to the Queens birthday ball, St Andrews night ball ( and everyone learned the dances) US Marine ball, Lots of Hash house Harriers events, rugby club, 4th July celebrations.
Re driving, you need to know the road system before you can ever consider driving, it's far easier to use taxis, and they are relativley cheap. Cars are very expensive to buy, and WILL get scratched/bumped on a regular basis. Get a driver if you can, he will make life a lot easier.
Learn Arabic. Michel Thomas does great language cd's, you will quickly have a grasp of basic Arabic,enough to get you started. get the advanced too, it's worth it, from Waterstones/Amazon.
Ok i've gone on a bit, hope you make the right decision for you.
Helen. now in Hurghada ex Alexandria.
Hi Helen, thanks for taking the trouble to write, I'm really begining to feel excited about the whole move. Your pointer towards the Hash House Harriers was great, I just spent the last hour reading their excellent info sheet on Eygpt. How useful was that, even giving useful phrases to get started with. I can see it's going to take me a while to get used to the very different way of life, but now looking forward to it. Regards Karen
 

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there are a lot of western banks in Egypt (BNP Paribas, HSBC, Citi, etc) and they pay VERY well at the manager level (for both locals and expats) depending on function (eg investment and commerical pay higher).. if you are able to land one of these jobs (not sure if there is an arabic language requirement). It is not uncommon for salaires of such positions for Egyptians to be 10 to 20K a month... adjusted for cost of living that may come very close to what you are used to in the UK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
there are a lot of western banks in Egypt (BNP Paribas, HSBC, Citi, etc) and they pay VERY well at the manager level (for both locals and expats) depending on function (eg investment and commerical pay higher).. if you are able to land one of these jobs (not sure if there is an arabic language requirement). It is not uncommon for salaires of such positions for Egyptians to be 10 to 20K a month... adjusted for cost of living that may come very close to what you are used to in the UK.

Hi thats very useful to know. Investigations now underway, many thanks.
 

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KJH, unlike other countries, to get a job here, you need to have the right connections and money. Experience and qualifications are only secondary consideration. This include working in foreign banks, foreign companies, embassies, etc.
I don't want to mention names here but someone I knew got a job recently in one of these big bank because his father has the right connection and paid this person, 50,000 Egyptian pounds.
And this is not the only case I am aware. There are other cases where certain embassies (I know of several but I won't mention names here) where one has to pay in order to be considered for local positions.
I also know of such cases in several MNCs as well, but again I won't mention names.
I suggest if you really want to work here, work on your contacts where you are now and see if you can pull some strings to get a position here, but otherwise, you can volunteer for some charitable organizations - you never know where your talent will lead you.
 

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The Community Service Center has outing and tours you can go on that are geared more for the nonworking wives of diplomats and expats. They usually happen mid day during the work week. It is in Maadi so an easy taxi ride from Zamalek. They also have cooking, language, and other classes, a gym and a library that even has a small section of childrens books.

There are movie theaters that so English movies so you will not be totally out of touch. :)

If you have friends that visit with kids there is the zoo, Dream land and Magic land and there is a think a waterpark near them. The guy that built Dream Land use to be with Disney World if that makes any difference.
 

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The Community Service Center has outing and tours you can go on that are geared more for the nonworking wives of diplomats and expats. They usually happen mid day during the work week. It is in Maadi so an easy taxi ride from Zamalek. They also have cooking, language, and other classes, a gym and a library that even has a small section of childrens books.

There are movie theaters that so English movies so you will not be totally out of touch. :)

If you have friends that visit with kids there is the zoo, Dream land and Magic land and there is a think a waterpark near them. The guy that built Dream Land use to be with Disney World if that makes any difference.

OMG Never ever visit the zoo unless you want to be traumatised for the rest of your life.

Maiden
 

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The zoo has changed little since it was built so yes the cages are cramped and I believe that Virginia McKenna foundation is looking into it.
You can feed the animals by buying scraps from the keeper putting it on a stick and poking it through the fence.
Animals have gone missing in the last few months.. don't ask but just use your imagination
The zoo is very cheap and about the only bit of green that poor people can afford so they crowd in there, play football, have picnics, etc
Not a pleasant day out,
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi Tiny Traveler.

The Community Service Center has outing and tours you can go on that are geared more for the nonworking wives of diplomats and expats. They usually happen mid day during the work week. It is in Maadi so an easy taxi ride from Zamalek. They also have cooking, language, and other classes, a gym and a library that even has a small section of childrens books.

There are movie theaters that so English movies so you will not be totally out of touch. :)

If you have friends that visit with kids there is the zoo, Dream land and Magic land and there is a think a waterpark near them. The guy that built Dream Land use to be with Disney World if that makes any difference.
Many thanks for the info, sounds really good, especially the bit about the language classes, will probably come in handy!! Also the trips, how sociable and what a great way to meet people.

Being in the 50's not many of our friends have children, however my Husband will enjoy Dream Land!!!!

Thanks once again. Karen
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re Mortgage qualifications

Hi Karen

Do you have any mortgage qualifications such as CeMap or FPC?

Kevin
Hi Kevin

Unfortuantely no. My experience in banking is managing/leading/coaching large front line teams supporting Commercial customers.
Kind regards
Karen
 
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