moving out in Cairo
source: Friends

Remember when you were a kid and all you wanted to do was live your life like it was an American sitcom? You know, live far from home with roommates and have as much fun and adventure as you wanted?

While you might not have achieved that, others do. Every college season, more students leave home and embark on the journey we all wanted as children in a new apartment in a new city with new friends.

Is it all worth it, though? We’ve asked these 4 girls and they didn’t hold back in their answers.

How did you feel about moving to Cairo?

I worked so hard to move to Cairo. Coming from a highly conservative family, it wasn’t an easy move, so on my first day here I had the strangest yet sweetest mix of joy, fear, accomplishment, and anxiety.

After I started getting comfortable with going outside my area of residence and exploring the entire city I was blown away. The best word to describe Cairo is contrast and that has definitely reflected on the mentalities of its residents.

– Rawan, 22

I moved to Cairo three years before college for a boarding school, so my experience when I moved for college was easier than usual.

I was excited to start a new experience where I can get to know new people and explore new places. This excitement outweighed the fear of being 100% responsible for myself, so it was quite a good start.

– Dalia, 22

friends

Actually, I was seeking it since I got my grades because I’m from Aswan and it’s a small province, so there wouldn’t be a future there for me.

I also needed to get my degree from a more reputable university than the ones in Aswan, so when I found a way to study in Cairo, I was thrilled. Yet, I still had my fears about leaving my family home and living by myself.

– Habiba, 22

I was extremely excited because this is a new experience and independent living was something I’d always wanted to do. I regret moving from time to time, though, but it definitely shaped me up.

– Anonymous, 22

How did you go about finding living space?

Back then my parents were seriously strict about the whole residence issue. They insisted I stay at the students’ dorm and since my university doesn’t offer dorms, I had to find student rentals.

I asked my university’s admission office and they gave me some numbers. Luckily, one was suitable! After 3 years, however, I went on OLX and found myself a nice apartment.

– Rawan, 22

It was and still is awful. It’s difficult to find a place that suits you in a totally new environment within reasonable price range. Especially when there’s high demand in the area, like October City, for example.

– Dalia, 22

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

At the beginning my mom decided that I would stay with some relatives until I got to know people from college whom I could rent an apartment with. I did that until I found my own place and that’s where I am now.

– Habiba, 22

Finding a living space was hard and awful because landlords and owners take advantage of student renters, especially if they’re not from Cairo. They usually raise the rent for students, which doesn’t even make sense because the apartment isn’t in the best quality.

– Anonymous, 22

*Note: be sure that the person you’re talking to on OLX is actually reliable and not running a scam. 

Do you have any tips on apartment-finding for students?

I would recommend for everyone to try Facebook groups and websites before turning to mediators or any other option. There are Facebook groups for student residences in every Cairo neighborhood and they can also help you find suitable roommates.

– Rawan, 22

I think new students should always ask an older person who has been in their position. Also, they should ask around college and maybe try to stick around relatives or friends for the first year, if possible. Just so you can have someone who can guide you in this new environment.

– Anonymous, 22

What did you wish you would have known before moving?

Don’t trust everyone and don’t get too caught up in your academic life, but don’t lose focus off your grades. Also, budgeting is very important as well as emergency savings.

– Rawan, 22

I wish I had some friends that I could have stayed with until I got my own place sorted. That would have made the first two years much easier. Other than that, though, nothing else because I’d already experienced living alone for a while.

– Habiba, 22

home alone

Are there any situations that you wished you could have handled better?

Moving from place to place and other random situations I had to face after moving here. I wish I could have handled it all better rather than freaking out to my mom while knowing she couldn’t help me.

– Habiba, 22

I wouldn’t have moved around as much. Every year, I moved to a different apartment in hopes for something better, which was usually worse and more expensive.

– Anonymous, 22

What’s your advice for new students taking the move?

Make good, trust-worthy friends in this new phase of life and your close friends will become your surrogate family. Talk and get to know as many people as you can. Even if you don’t become friends with them, you can gain so much experience and insight.

– Rawan, 22

Don’t move apartments; stay at your first apartment because it will be easier. Even if there is any needed handyman work, it will probably happen once and that’s it, like plumbing for instance.

– Anonymous, 22

before sunset

How much do you think the experience changed you?

I learned a lot, which I hope might inspire others to take this step for better chances and independence. I learned not to be ashamed of asking for help.

– Rawan, 22

It’s too much of a change that I can’t remember my old self. It made me more independent, confident, and even mature on so many levels. It made me able to define my own principles and what I believe is wrong or right without someone telling me.

– Habiba, 22

These are just a few experiences out of a million, so we can’t even imagine what others might want to add. However, we’re open for your opinions.