Culture Quests

Egypt

Africa
Capital: Cairo
Languages: Arabic (official), English, French
Useful links: CIA World Factbook

The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Egypt. Although au pairs from this country may or may not have had these experiences/beliefs, Au Pair in America wishes to share this general information with our families.

Au Pairs in General

  • The idea of being an au pair is not common in Egypt.
  • Applicants from Egypt are motivated by the experience as a whole, since they will improve their English, earn money, meet new people and learn about a new culture.
  • An au pair’s job potential is very much improved upon her return to Egypt.
  • Applicants do not have difficulty finding the program fees.
  • Young people in Egypt have the freedom of their family to socialize but not to date.
  • Curfews are not common.
  • Young women are accustomed to sharing in household chores.
  • Nudity is uncommon and unacceptable in Egypt.
  • Egyptians are known for their hospitality, generosity, goodness, and serious nature.
  • The family bonds are very strong in the Middle East. Arab families are very close to each other and the children live with their families until they get married.

Child Care Practices

  • Common discipline techniques include helping the child understand what is their fault. If the child continues to misbehave, then they would send the child to their room, or tell them that they are grounded or there is no TV for a period of time. Parents may hide their favorite toy!
  • Physical discipline is not common in Egypt.
  • Applicants obtain childcare experience through formal schooling, and helping their mothers if they have young brothers and sisters.
  • Both parents share the childcare responsibilities.
  • It is common for both parents to work and be away from home during the day.

Driving Skills

  • The driver’s license in Egypt is available at age 18, and is not difficult or expensive to obtain.
  • To obtain a license in Egypt candidates take intensive practical hours (maximum 40 hours) and then complete computerized and practical exams.
  • The International driving permit is available.
  • Generally the parents provide a car in which to practice, but there are a lot of young women who have their own cars.
  • We have both manual and automatic transmissions, but, in general, women prefer an automatic transmission.

English Language Skills

  • English is compulsory in Egypt, beginning in first grade and continuing for 12 years.
  • Classes focus on both written and oral skills.

Education

  • Approximately 75% of young women continue their studies at University.
  • Others get married or work in jobs such as retail shops, secretary or receptionist.
  • The academic year starts in September and finishes in June.
  • The educational opportunities of the program are very important because most of the participants want to learn.

Health

  • The most common inoculations are Measles and chicken pox.
  • Most young women are inoculated and tested for TB (Tuberculosis).
  • Egypt does not have a free health service; however, public health insurance is available for government employees.
  • Most young women visit the dentist only when needed, as it is expensive.
    “Eating disorders” are not common.

Diet

  • Most young people in Egypt eat meat, except pork for Muslims.
  • Lunch is commonly the main meal, and dinner is served rather late.
  • Vegetarianism is common.

Religion

  • The most common religions in Egypt are Islam and Christianity.
  • Most young people in Egypt practice their religion regularly.
  • Islam prohibits the consumption of pork and alcohol. Serving alcohol or socializing with persons, while consuming alcohol, may also be prohibited based on personal beliefs.
  • A young person would rarely choose to practice a religion that is different than her family’s religion.
  • The Islamic religion has 5 prayers daily. Each prayer has an exact time that changes daily, but in general prayers are in the early morning, noon, late afternoon, sunset and evening. The estimated time for each is approximately 15 minutes.

Telephone & Internet

  • Most homes have a telephone and a computer with access to the Internet.
  • Most family members will be able to take a message from a potential host family.

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