Living in Egypt

 

 

Situated in north-eastern Africa, Egypt is the home of the pharaohs, Sphinx and majestic pyramids. It has a rich culture and history that dates back 7,000 years ago, making it one of the most ancient countries in the world.

Despite the drastic changes since the political upheaval in 2011, the Arab Republic of Egypt remains to be an interesting and vibrant expat destination. It has a population of more than 9.4 million people which is equivalent to around 1.2% of the world’s total population. Expats in Egypt will not just participate in a highly competitive labour force but will also enjoy a year long pleasant weather, lots of exciting activities and a view of vast stunning sceneries.

Having Fun with the Kids

Children will find plenty to explore in Egypt, as the country features the opportunity to explore pyramids, tombs of mummies and boat rides on the Nile River. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo will amaze both children and parents with its rich history, rare artefacts and exhibits.

Children who like to swim will find that the seaside resort of Sharm El-Sheikh can provide them with some leisurely fun under the sun. Another popular location for kids to visit is the local Zoo, where children can observe and interact with monkeys, deer, camels, ponies, flamingos, ducks, and more. Some Western restaurants and fast-food joints are available, and kids will enjoy eating in McDonald’s or hanging out at coffee shops.

However, some areas are dangerous for children to be exposed to at the moment. Kidnappings, terrorism and bombings occur in several parts of Egypt so expats should check with the local authorities or with their Consulate for up to date safety advisories.

Tips for Driving in Egypt

Expats who will live in Egypt can either drive or use the country’s public transport system that is comprised of trains, metro, buses, and taxis. Those who prefer to use private vehicles should know that roads in Egypt, particularly in Cairo, are quite chaotic due to the large number of people commuting everyday. Though some companies provide drivers for their employees, most expats still prefer to drive themselves. Cars should be on the right-hand side of the road. Signs are either in English or Arabic and have some similarities to those in Europe.

Buckling up while the car engine is running is mandatory in Egypt. Expats who have EU or international driving licenses can only use their permits for six months. Afterwards, they need to apply for an Egyptian driving license. It is also important to keep the proof of insurance and vehicle registration with you at all times since the local authorities conduct random checks. Driving in Egypt, despite the traffic and constant blaring of horns, is still a rewarding experience since this country is blessed with beautiful country roads and picturesque views.

Overcome Culture Shock

Egypt is a fascinating blend of ancient and modern traditions. Most Egyptians are warm and friendly, understanding the cultural barrier and difficulties of a foreigner in adapting to their customs and traditions. Expats will find Egyptians are more open to answering questions about their culture and faith. When in Egypt, expats are expected to respect Islamic values and practices, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. During this time, expatriates in Egypt should avoid eating in public during the day, drinking, smoking and chewing gum. Although alcohol is forbidden in Islam, Egyptians are very liberal to those who drink in reasonable amounts.

Expats living in Egypt should be aware that it is customary to decline anything that is offered the first time. Egyptians believe that if the offer is heartfelt, it would be asked again, and it's only on the second offer that one can say yes. Do not bring flowers for the dinner host as these are only used in wedding and funerals. Instead, bring along some sweets, pastries or baked goods. It is a common practice for foreigners to repay the favour by hosting a dinner in a restaurant.

Both men and women expats in Egypt should dress conservatively and properly. Expats will find most girls wearing a scarf as it demonstrates modesty and Muslim piety. Dress appropriately when visiting religious places such as mosques. Baksheesh or tipping is a way of life in Egypt. When eating out, the norm for tipping is 15% of the restaurant bill.

"Assalamu alaikum" ("Peace be with you")

 

Continue reading:

Expat Living Guide

Expat Finance Services in Egypt

Education Services in Egypt