So, what did we learn in Cairo? You might ask.
Everything starts with the application, you submit it, and you wait. You are accepted and suddenly, you realise that you are about to spend a week in a new country, with twenty other strangers and the one goal you have is to learn as much as you can. This trip is not just any trip. It’s full of learning and experiences that will change your point of view and add a very positive impact on how you get on out there in the world and, therefore, in your professional future.
As a journalism student, I’ve gained many valuable skills during the week, including understanding how journalists and the media work in Cairo, through three different perspectives.
Starting with all the speakers’ talks, they have allowed me to ask questions, share opinions and connect with them. Which has helped me to feel more confident speaking in front of people and sharing ideas with others.
Travelling as a group is an experience where you must be open to any situations. You have to consider, and connect with, everyone. Also, starting out as complete strangers and getting to know each other as the week goes by is amazing.
I feel that this experience has opened my eyes to the world, or at least to a big part of it. I feel more aware of what options there might be for me beyond Europe or the UK, and I feel more confident about networking. Getting to know new and different perspectives, discovering jobs, pathways, and career opportunities you never knew about and immersing yourself in a different culture is fascinating and very enriching.
This is what other students think about the experience:
“I’ve learnt how beautiful Egyptian culture is and met some really cool people that inspired me to work harder and never give up. This experience meant a lot to me because I came out of my comfort zone and met some inspiring people as a result of it” Naima Mahammed.
“Cairo was a very impactful experience for me. Seeing life in a part of the world where previously I have had no connection to. It opened me to a new appreciation on how those in other cultures live, work, play, and operate. I hope to return some day soon to learn more about this interesting city” Kevin Harrell.
“The most important thing I’ve learnt from this experience is to be open minded and embrace new opportunities, job roles and new people as it can potentially change your life for the better. Hearing about alumni’s career progression has made me highly motivated and positive about my future career and I will take on board all the advice and life lessons I learnt from this trip to help me achieve my goals” Rishana Ravi.
“This experience has taught me how important networking is, as speaking to people from a variety of different backgrounds with different goals helped me to express myself and find people I can build strong connections with for the future” Denis Kastrati.
And what is Cairo like?
Covered in a blanket of sandy dust, shades of sage green, light brown and gold, Cairo is a city full of life, the atmosphere is full of music, people, cars. The traffic is quite noticeable. I remember being in an Uber for the first time, with the radio playing out loud and riding through all that chaos of car horn noises, vans, motorbikes, and pedestrians that somehow worked, as if it was a traffic party. One of the drivers that I met told me that “When we drive in Cairo, we don’t feel like it’s a duty or something boring, we actually have fun doing it”. Cairo just blends order with disorder and that makes it very special.
It is also a city with an impressive past and history. Together with Giza, it contains a wealth of antiquities, stories and cultures that will leave your hair standing on end. You should experience Cairo at least once in your life, it’s a real-life treasure.
“Something I have learnt from this experience is how many cool facts there are on the pyramids. I knew they were, of course, one of the seven wonders, but the tour guides’ facts were phenomenal, and they truly are a wonder of the world! The pyramids are so much more special in person and Egyptian people are also some of the most helpful and friendliest people I have ever come across!” Amani Elkouiriat.
Lastly, the city is very welcoming. I take with me the memory of the locals being very open and friendly. Oh, and you can never eat badly in Cairo, as long as there is a good hummus with aish baladi and a big bowl of koshari on the table.
And well, this experience is not only for the students, this is also a unique opportunity for the UoW alumni to reconnect with people from the university.
“It’s really nice to bring students from AUC and students from UoW to work together and share experiences. I miss Westminster a lot, it has taught me so much, so it’s always a pleasure to see Westminster students and staff. I’m really happy to be here today” Nadine El Sayed, Journalist and Associate Professor of Practice at The American University in Cairo.
“What I’m taking from this experience is reflecting back on what I’ve been doing over the past few years. Everything goes very fast, you move from job to job, from project to project and you don’t usually get the time to reflect on things. So this is a very good opportunity to just reflect and think and see what I’m doing, why I’m doing the things that I’ve been doing and where I was, where I am. It is also very nice to talk to Westminster students, I’m taking a good memory from here” Zeyad Salem, Head of Sports business unit at Kijamii.
Finally, this experience wouldn’t become true without the help of the founders and organisers of the programme, who have invested so much effort and enthusiasm in making sure that everything goes perfectly.
“Our alumni in Cairo are fantastic, and that’s why we have chosen Cairo as a destination, because they are so willing to support Westminster students and even though we have a small alumni community here in Egypt they are so welcoming, really happy to help. I’m so excited that we can bring new students here to hopefully give them an opportunity to see a completely different way of life and hopefully in the future help them to go abroad if they want to expand how they look at the world” Alyssa Martin.
After telling you about my experience, I would recommend the Westminster Working Cultures Programme to anyone because of the many positive things it brings you, it’s just something that you will never forget. This opportunity only happens once in a lifetime, and I am very grateful to have been part of it.
Latest posts by evanso (see all)
- Clinical Placement in Malta – By Shadica Bhuiyan (BSc in Biomedical Science student) - November 15, 2023
- My Clinical Placement in Malta – by Khanitta Harrison (BSc in Biomedical Science student) - November 13, 2023
- Westminster Working Cultures in Barcelona 2023 – by Karolina Zarębska - October 24, 2023