For the second year running, we've ranked last in HSBC's Expat Explorer Survey but this time, we have a few bones to pick...
The key to happiness is not comparing, right? HSBC has made the Egyptian expat experience a lot less fun this week by comparing it to other countries. According to the 2014 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, Egypt once again lands in the last place in evaluating expat satisfaction and opportunities. What sounds like a catastrophic result really made us wonder once again: what actually makes an expat life so terrible here? We have had a look at the criteria that Egypt ranked in badly and accumulated a few reasons why HSBC might want to reconsider...
Opportunities for Travel (34 out of 34)
Participants in the HSBC survey seem to think that Egypt is terrible for travel. On the global scale, travel opportunities in Egypt come in last. Are they talking about the same country as us? Where else are you within a couple of hours by plane from almost everywhere in the Middle East and Africa (and just a couple of hours more to Europe)? Where else can you visit the Sahara and the Red Sea in the same day? Where else can you take a cruise ship down the longest river in the world, checking out tourist hot spots that are 5000 years old?
Children are more rounded/confident individuals (36 out of 36)
Apparently expat children in Egypt don't learn to be confident individuals, coming in last on this point in the survey as well. However, it is hard to imagine that the challenges expat children face in this society will not make them stronger and more rounded human beings. The multicultural exchange of this country is definitely beneficial to every child growing up. Egypt ranks best in the cost for children's education and 5th for cost of children's healthcare, at least making Egypt an affordable place to live with children.
Diet (34 out of 34)
True, most places in Egypt will not serve you a meal that will necessarily make you live to 100, however, the growing expat community brings about places that specialise in catering to expat needs. Living in neighbourhoods with a high expat density it is easy to locate shops and restaurants that skip the extra spoon of sugar in your coffee or the meats dripping with grease.
Overall Experience (34 out of 34)
Overall, Egypt scored the last amount of points in all categories, putting it in 34th place which happens to be the last place. As most people should be aware, there are 116 more countries in this world which haven't even been assessed. Even more surprising is the fact that Egypt ultimately follows the United Kingdom which came in at number 33. The rainy European country only topping Egypt in the ranking by one spot beats it in all these previously named categories. How is an island in the north of Europe a better travel opportunity than one of the oldest countries in the world?
Being an expat in Egypt comes with a lot of benefits that the survey does not pay attention to. Making double the salary of local employees just by being foreign is one advantage that has no place in the survey. Earning a European wage in Egypt puts expats at the top of the earning list in Egypt. This extra cash will pay for a very good life as most foreigners are able to live a life far away from the hustle bustle that may spoil their expat experience. There's also the fact that you may not find such a multicultural and interesting bunch of people anywhere else in the world. Virtually every person in Egypt has a great story to tell. Where does HSBC include that?
We demand a repeal.
Photography by Mahmoud Asfour.