Cycling trip to Fayoum

Last weekend, during the first two days of Eid al-Adha, I went to Fayoum with three friends (@MarwaMFarid, @moftasa and Peter, who didn’t enter the digital age yet). By bicycle, that is. On Friday, we left Cairo at about 6.45am, although we had planned to leave at 6am. Unfortunately, I had been to a party the night before, so Peter woke me up at 6.15 to ask if I was already on my way to the agreed upon square in Giza.

So, after this short delay, we took the Desert Road to Fayoum, which is a distance of about 60 kilometers. We finally entered the village of Tunis at 4pm after 110 kilometers, the last 35 kilometers cycling along Lake Qarun in Fayoum. Except for some minor injuries, we didn’t experience any problems.

The next day we left our ‘ecolodge’ at 9am, heading for Fayoum City. The roads were a bit narrower and more crowded than Friday, especially Toktoks were causing some frustration and dangerous situations. After another 45km we arrived at our destination. The original plan was to go to Beni Suef and take a microbus or train from there, but because we had had some delays, we decided to call it a day. The microbus from Fayoum dropped us off at Monib, so we still had to cycle about 10 kilometers before we could enjoy our well-deserved ice cream at Mandarine Koueider in Zamalek.

Check out the photos on Flickr!


My application at Cairo University: the end

This is the fourth and last part in a series of articles about applying at Cairo University. You’ll find the first three parts herehere and here.

“So, in the end, it might turn out well.” This is how I ended my last post about this seemingly endless process. The Supreme Council of Universities had given me a letter stating that I have their permission to study at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science. I naively thought that the faculty would follow the Council’s decision, and admit me to the program.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. After having spoken with the director of the faculty, I know that I won’t be able to study at Cairo University this year. She told me that if the faculty would follow the Council’s decision, it would still take almost two months before I could begin my courses. The semester will almost be over by then. So there was only one thing she had to say to me: “Come back next year.” (I’m not sure if I want to study at Cairo University anymore, but I will certainly consider it in my Plan B.)

Today I withdrew myself from the application procedures, and I picked up all the papers I had already handed in. I’m currently working on Plan B, which is actually really simple: find something else to do in the next two months. In the meantime I have to review my options, and find a new master’s program…

This is the fourth and last part in a series of articles about applying at Cairo University. You’ll find the first three parts herehere and here. 

Mijn inschrijving aan Cairo University

Voor de Nederlands-sprekende lezers zal ik mijn vorige drie stukjes even kort samenvatten.

Het is wellicht duidelijk dat mijn inschrijving aan de Universiteit van Cairo niet echt soepel verloopt. Uiteindelijk had ik alle documenten verzameld die nodig zijn voor mijn inschrijving, maar ontbrak er op een van de documenten, mijn Diploma Supplement, nog een stempel van de Egyptische ambassade in Den Haag. Na een telefoontje met de Consulaire Afdeling aldaar, besloot ik om het document op te sturen. Zij zouden het stempelen, en terugsturen naar het Nederlands-Vlaams Instituut in Cairo. Zo gezegd, zo gedaan.

Na een paar weken was mijn post echter nog steeds niet aangekomen in Cairo. Ik begon aardig ongeduldig te worden, en belde opnieuw de Egyptische ambassade. De alleraardigste dame die ik aan de lijn kreeg verzekerde mij ervan dat ze het document hoogstpersoonlijk op de post had gedaan. Ik ging ervan uit dat het ergens onderweg kwijt was geraakt, en belde de universiteit in Groningen om een nieuw Diploma Supplement te regelen.

Vrienden hebben er uiteindelijk voor gezorgd dat alles razendsnel in Cairo aangekomen is. Iets te snel, helaas… Ondertussen, net nadat iemand het nieuwe document in Nederland op de post had gedaan, werd de oude versie namelijk alsnog bezorgd. Financieel gezien niet echt handig, maar geen grote ramp. Ik kon nu eindelijk alles regelen, dacht ik.

De decaan van de faculteit waaraan ik wil gaan studeren vertelde mij echter dat ik veel te laat was met mijn inschrijving. Hoewel ik hier vrij weinig aan kon doen, kon er toch geen uitzondering gemaakt worden. Volgend jaar terugkomen, dat was haar enige antwoord.

Gelukkig is de afdeling die mijn diploma moet goedkeuren voorbereid op vertragingen. Vandaag heb ik een formulier ingevuld dat ervoor moet zorgen dat ik gewoon kan gaan studeren, terwijl de Hoge Raad voor Universiteiten twee maanden lang mijn diploma gaat bekijken. bestuderen en gaat goedkeuren. Zoals veel mensen mij hier al verzekerd hebben, komt in Egypte uiteindelijk alles wel goed.

My application at Cairo University (part III)

This is the third part in a series of articles about applying at Cairo University. You’ll find the first two parts here and here.

This morning, it became very clear to me that a lot of problems in Egypt are made and solved pretty quickly (as a lot of people kept telling me while I was losing faith). Although I’m trying to not be very optimistic, I think today I really made some progress.

I went to the Supreme Council of Universities to ask them how long “the equation” of my degree is going to take. Miss Rasha told me to make 2 copies of all the documents I have to hand in and give them to Mister Samih. When I asked her how long it would take to come to a conclusion, she replied “About two months.” Totally shocked, I mumbled “When will I be able to begin my studies here?!” She explained to me that I need to get this special document from Mister Samih stating that the Supreme Council is currently checking my degree, but is allowing me to start studying at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science anyway.

Miss Rasha didn’t made this short cut up, it’s a totally normal way of avoiding too many trouble with the university’s bureaucracy. In the mean time, the Supreme Council will be reviewing – probably not – my degree, and conclude after two months that I’m qualified to study at the requested faculty, insha’allah. So, in the end, it might turn out well.

This is the third part in a series of articles about applying at Cairo University. You’ll find the first two parts here and here.