Aldiwan Center Garden City in Cairo, Egypt - Learn Arabic Through Arabic

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Living in Egypt
Information and Advices


Stay Healthy
Communication
Financial Matters
Visa Matters


Stay Healthy

Invariably, most students do get at least some stomach problems at some point during their time in Egypt. If you do, we advise you to eat light food until you get better, like rice and yogurt, and be more careful about your food.
 
Good nutrition can also help in protecting against other health problems, like fatigue and colds. Take your vitamins and drink plenty of water.

Food
 
Be careful. Try to avoid drinking tap water. Bottled water is ubiquitous and cheap. Eat in clean looking restaurants or at home. Produce is very cheap (outside of super markets). Make sure to scrub fruits and vegetables before eating them, peeling them if possible, and soaking them in some water with vinegar to kill the bacteria. Be very careful and accustom your stomach to Egypt gradually.

Avoid juice places (especially sugar cane juice) during the first few weeks as well as many stomach problems often originate here.

Delivery and fast food are so convenient and relatively inexpensive that many students depend on them heavily. However it is advisable to avoid too much fast food, for obvious health reasons.
 
Exercise
 
Most people in Cairo do a lot of walking. This is the best form of exercise. If you would like to do more, there are several gyms (including separate gyms for women). Many of the men-s gyms also offer martial arts classes.


Dental Work and Optometry
 
Dental work is safe, good, and inexpensive in Cairo, as are eye exams and glasses. If you need a procedure done, you can feel safe having it done here. Sometimes your embassy can make some recommendations for doctors. (A list is available at the American Embassy.)
  
Medical Attention
 
There are hospitals mentioned in this guide with good doctors. If you need a special doctor, see if you embassy has any recommendations. All doctors speak English.



Communication
 
Internet
At Home:
If you have a computer with a modem at home, you can set up internet at home very easily. For Windows XP (other operating systems should be similar), follow these instructions:

1.      Go to Control Panel
2.      Network and Internet Connections
3.      -Set up for change your Internet connection-
4.      Add
5.      Dial to private network
6.      (Phone number: 07770777)
7.      (Name; ex: Egypt Connection)
 
Plug the phone line into your modem, dial the connection, and thats it! There are a lot of phone numbers that you can use. One example is given, but there are many others with the same form (07770xxx). Look around on the street; you will often see advertisements for them. Some non profit numbers include: 07779001, 07775757, 07075757.
 
There is no cost for this, except for regular local phone line usage. (Be careful, this adds up quickly!) Also, keep in mind that by doing this, you can not use your phone while on the net and others can-t reach you.
 
At Internet Cafe:
There are also internet cafes all over the place. They are relatively cheap. Some also offer other computer and media services, like printing, faxing, and web cam.

 
Phone
 
Local:
Most apartments come with a phone line. Dialing directly is best for local calls.
 
International:
To call internationally, you have a few choices:

Miftah Zero:
This is a calling card that you can get at cell phone places. Use this to call internationally or for good rates to cell phones and other non-local numbers.
 
International Calling Booths:
You will find many local stores which offer local, long distance, and international calling.

Internet:
You can use online services to call internationally through the net. Some internet cafes offer this service. The connections at caf-s are often better, and this method is extremely cheap. This is a good option if you don-t mind the lack of privacy.
 
Cell Phones:
You may be able to use your cell phone from back home depending on what type of phone it is (tri-band). You can also buy a cell phone here (new or used) at cell phone stores or in Ataba. You have to buy the SIM card, which costs around 200 LE. Then you buy -charge cards- (25 LE, 50 LE, 100 LE) to put credit on your phone. Rates for calls average around 0.02 LE per second. You can also get a -line- on your cell phone. Check cell phone stores for details. (Cell phone stores usually have the ( orange ) Mobinil, ( red ) Vodafone or ( green ) Etisalat signs all over their windows- they are hard to miss.)
 
Payphones:
It is a good idea to purchase a -Minatel- card. These cards can be used any of the many green and yellow Minatel phone booths to make local or long distance calls. This is very convenient in case you are somewhere without access to a home or cell phone. The cards can be purchased at cell phone stores and many little grocery and stationary stores. Look for the green and yellow Minatel sign.

Mail
 
Mail in Egypt is very slow, and not always reliable. The best is to deal with e-mail and fax, but if you must mail something (it always feels nice to get a real, handwritten, paper letter!) there are post offices and mail boxes around Garden City.


Financial Matters

Getting money
 
Bank Account
Citibank has four or five branches throughout Cairo and one in Alexandria. You can open a dollar account there for a cost of $6 every three months. You can write checks to yourself to deposit money in this account from your American (or other foreign) account, or have money wired in. This way you can withdraw dollars and convert them for a better rate than the bank rate. Note: If you have an American Citibank account, this really means nothing in Citibank Egypt. They are completely separate. You can also get a dollar account at some other banks.
Visit the branches and speak to the representative there to get more details.
 
Exchanging Money

The easiest way to exchange money is either at banks or money exchangers. Money exchangers typically give better rate, but at the time of writing this, all rates (banks, exchangers, other markets) are about the same.

ATM

You can also of course just use a bank ATM and get the regular bank rate. This is could also be very useful in situations in which you need money and can-t get to the bank. Make sure you know what fees are involved for using your ATM card in ATMs in Egypt.

Wiring Money
 
There is a Western Union branch in Cornish street near Al Diwan garden City. Call to ask for rates and details. (see the directory)

Traveler-s Checks
 
You can exchange these at Thomas Cook or Barclay-s for a 1% charge, $10 charge minimum. Citibank will not exchange the traveler-s checks, even Citibank issued checks. These fees are subject to change. You may want to ask around at different places before exchanging.



Visa Matters

Types of Visas

 

There are several types of visas with several lengths of duration. There are student, work, and tourist visas. Tourist visas are typically the easiest to deal with and obtain. The others require proof and documentation.

 

It is very easy to renew your visa in Egypt. You can even get a tourist visa for up to five years if you are planning to stay a while. One thing to keep in mind is that every time you leave Egypt, your visa is cancelled; meaning to come back in, you will need a new visa. You can avoid this problem by getting a Multiple Entry Visa. Also, make sure your visa is valid for longer than you actual stay. If you are leaving Egypt and they see that your visa has expired, this could cause problems.

Many students come to Egypt with a one-month visa with a three-month validity. This means that the visa is valid for any time during those three months, but only for a month once you enter Egypt. Do not mistake this for a three month visa.
 
There is a two week grace period after the expiration of your visa if you go to get it renewed. However, after this period there is a fee. Keep track of your visa expiration date so that you don-t have to unnecessarily pay this fee.
 
In all cases, contact the Egyptian embassy in your home country about procedures concerning obtaining visas, as these procedures are subject to change.
 
Also, please be very patient when dealing with any governmental office, as things tend to get done slowly and without a clear system in many instances. It-s all part of your -Egyptian experience!-
 
How to Renew
 
Visas are issued at the -Mugamma- in downtown Cairo in Tahrir Square. It is a huge concrete monster of a building- hard to miss. The visas are issued on the second floor. Ask around to make your way through the maze of people and hallways to the window for renewing visas for foreigners. Go early in the morning as well for the quickest service. Take a couple passport pictures with you, a photocopy of the first page of your passport (with the vital info), a photocopy of the old visa, enough money (depending on the visa length), and a lot of patience!
 
The Mugamma is open everyday except Friday and Saturday.

[Note: Information on this page does not constitute any legal or official advice, rather, it is written from old students' experience, and might have been changed. You have to consult the official immigration office or website]





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Aldiwan Center Garden City
1071 Nile Corniche, Garden City. Cairo, Egypt
Tel/fax:+20.2.27922556 - Mobile:+20.100.3496396 - 20.112.0256777
E-mail: Contact Form - info@arabiccairo.com , arabiccairo@hotmail.com , info@arabic-cairo.com