You may be thinking of working in Cairo or have just landed and are taking in the very large frenetic and noisy city for the first time. You may have landed from another posting. You may be a long term resident of the city. Whatever your experience, living and working in the city with a family is helped considerably by knowing what to expect.
Cairo can take some adjusting to. Much depends upon where parents and their children have lived before. Cairo is a big city experience and it bucks many trends. Unlike many countries, there is no 'one compound only' way of life as in other parts of the Middle East. For some this is a disappointment, but for many the opportunity to choose your location and enjoy the historical and cultural aspects of one of the world's most ancient cities is a joy that is both refreshingly different and exciting.
Cairo may be large and noisy but it is also a very safe and hospitable part of the world in comparison with many other areas, including parts of some European cites. Ever changing economic and political situations always require care and caution. However, BISC parents and staff frequently comment upon the freedom to walk as an individual or in a group around much of the city and its surrounding suburbs. They feel safe and secure in doing so. Egypt is a very tolerant country and is extremely child-friendly whether in public places such as restaurants, or on trips and holidays in and out of Cairo. Newcomers are urged to allow themselves time to adjust to the climate (very warm from May-October), the noise and the traffic and a brand new culture.
Choose the School not the Lifestyle
For those parents who fly into the city for a 'look see', it is very difficult to explain the importance of allowing time to make the adjustment for themselves as adults and especially for their children. Sometimes we see parents who make a choice of school due to a lack of time and based on geographical convenience. We strongly urge parents to look at all the options. In our experience, the children who will settle the quickest are those whose parents are also happy and settled. BISC is fully aware of this and is quick to make children and their parents feel as much a part of the school community as possible.
This applies to children from the UK or from other parts of the world. It also applies to children who are transferring from other schools in Cairo. Parents who are long-term residents also have adjustments to make as their children enter BISC. Whilst they may be familiar with Cairo, for many it is the first experience that they have of a British curriculum school. BISC is international in pupil profile and outlook, whilst possessing all the aspirations, curriculum ethos and examination results of the very best of the UK independent sector.
When parents arrive in Cairo, the size of the city and the noise can initially be overwhelming particularly in the heat of the summer months. However, in our experience, parents and their children quickly adapt and it is really worth allowing for this adaptation in the short term, for the medium to long term educational benefit of your children. The key to success in Cairo is to accept that you may have to travel as you would in any city to get to the best of a British curriculum education.
Beyond the City
Once you are out of the city, Egypt's vibrant and famous history is there for the exploration. Trips and activities include: riding in the desert around the pyramids at Giza; cruises to Aswan, Luxor and Lake Nasser; exploring Alexandria; soaking up the sun, and scuba diving on the Red Sea coast; camping in the White Desert; and taking a felucca boat ride on the Nile.