With one of the longest and most intricate histories of any modern country, Egypt is a favorite amongst archaeologists, historians, artists, and tourists alike.
The Pyramids of Giza and other ancient monuments hold treasures from a distant past, bringing in people from around the world. The exciting city of Cairo, Egypt’s capital, has become the largest metropolitan area in Africa as well as the Arab world, and continues to be a major center for culture and political exchange. Interning in Egypt is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in an amazing country that has had such an elaborate history and potential for growth!
Social Work/Non-profit: There is ample opportunity for those interested in contributing to the Egyptian community through social work. Many NGOs and non-profits have set up field projects in Egypt and are constantly looking for extra help. Regardless whether you are interested in human rights, education, women empowerment, or community development, there is so much that you can do! Use your creativity and to develop projects, organize community events, education others. As an intern in Egypt, you’ll get some professional experience and directly impact many lives.
Marine Biology/Conservation: Conveniently located next to the Red Sea, Egypt is a great place to dive into your interests in marine biology or conservation. There are not only several research opportunities for conserving coral reefs and sea turtles, but also diving certification programs for those who wish to explore the depths of the ocean. Just imagine yourself analyzing coral reef structures and exploring shipwrecks. Interning in Egypt will be such an adventure!
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look for an Internship
While you can find internships in Egypt year-round, more internship programs will be offered during the summer. If you know exactly which organization or business you want to intern at in Egypt, don’t be afraid to go ahead and contact them directly! Otherwise, it may be easier to apply to a third-party internship provider who has already established connections with organizations in Egypt. Either way, begin your internship research well ahead of time!
Cost of Living in Egypt
The cost of living in Egypt, around 3000-6000 EGP, is much lower than that in the U.S. But like any other country, living in a more metropolitan area in Egypt will entail higher bills. You can always avoid extra costs by practicing typical cost-saving methods, including taking more public transportation, and eating in less-expensive restaurants. Below are some examples of costs for you to get a better idea of the average cost of living in Egypt. Keep in mind that the average Egyptian lives slightly above the typical foreigners’ idea of poverty and that 1 Egyptian Pound (EGP) is approximately equal to 0.15 U.S. dollars.
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Center: 1,950 EGP
- 1 inexpensive meal: 30 EGP
- 1 way transportation ticket: 1.50 EGP
Work Culture in Egypt
- Etiquette: The culture in Egypt is heavily influenced by Islam, which is practiced by the majority of people in the country. Egyptians love to use titles since the society is hierarchically structured. Be sure to address others by their appropriate names, or simply use Mr. and Ms. to be safe. Dress conservatively and professionally when going to work to avoid showing disrespect.
- Language: Arabic is long been the official written and spoken language used in Egypt. While it will be extremely useful to know some basic Arabic to use in daily life, many Egyptian companies conduct business in English.
- Networking: Egyptians highly value networking and developing personal relationships with the people they work with. In fact, it is often considered impolite to dive directly into business matters during a meeting. People want to get to know each other on a more personal level and develop a sense of trust before discussing business items. While a few internship programs may provide you with specific networking events, you may want to check out a few professional groups on your own, including the Egypt Business Network and Egypt Business and Professional Network. On a side note, remember that alcohol is forbidden in Islam, so do not expect business networking events to involve alcohol of any sort and avoid giving it as a gift.
Work and Labor Laws in Egypt
Egypt’s work and labor laws establish basic guidelines for the terms of employment including working conditions, hours, and compensation. Opportunities for international interns are usually unpaid, although so NGOs may provide a small stipend for interns to help cover living costs.