Simone Osterwald’s Internship at CAWU

Sent On: 
Wed, 2018-07-11
Newsletter Number: 


I started my internship on March 13, 2018 and left on June 27, so I spent three months and two weeks at the Center for Arab-West Understanding. It was a time full of experiences and learning. I really enjoyed the time and will always look back to it.


At first I collected statistics about former interns. I actualized the tables that already existed and looked over the dates. Then I designed some graphs about nationalities and departments the interns worked in. I added some interns that were not listed and checked the information. In my whole internship I was  somehow responsible for                              

the statistics, if anyone needed to know about it, they asked me.


With this information, I created a presentation for Mr. Hulsman, to present it at a discussion at Heliopolis University in the end of March. The presentation contained information about CAWU in general and internships there, and the academic publishing that have been realized by interns and staff at CAWU.


Most interns took part in the discussion in which HE Amr Moussa and other important personalities, as the Dutch Ambassador and the director of Heliopolis University took part. They all expressed, in a really interesting way, how international co-work can help the development of Egypt and though how important CAWU's work is. Later I wrote a report about this presentation. (For the report please click here)


Presentation at Heliopolis University  


After that I worked on my own project, reporting about the situation in Egypt and giving travel advice in my blog. I wrote about my travels and cultural aspects and tradition. 


Also I took a distance course in Arabic learning, so that I learned all basic structures of the language. I can say that I now understand the basic idea if someone speaks and mostly can express what I want.


Mr. Hulsman introduced me to Diana Moore, a Guinean girl of 18 years old who was raised in Liberia and who has never had the chance to get more education than grade 2 in school because her mother could not fund this. I worked with her on her career chances; I worked with her on writing a CV for her and I gave her an idea of how to write official letters. I contacted Star school (a Sudanese refugee school in Cairo) to get her into education again, because she just has really basic knowledge. I tried to get to know her to comfort her, because she was really shy in the beginning.


After Mr. Hulsman left for travels she got uncomfortable in the office because of the attitude of some persons there, so I could just meet her outside the office, but still I had the opportunity to get interview material of more than an hour with her. This interview I transcribed and edited later. Still I was working on my blog and sometimes helping other interns with the Interview Documentation Project.


When Mr. Hulsman came back from travelling, everything got charged with new energy. He took me and some other interns to meet an intellectual friend of him, to speak about Egyptian culture and development. It was really informative and exciting.


We also started working with Diana again, because Mr. Hulsman could convince her to come back to the office. I worked with her on formulating a project proposal on African domestic workers in Cairo. I also wrote a proposal for her work at CAWU as an intern, what she now was, to find her funding in church or at other places.


Shortly after that, Diana got accepted at the school I contacted, and that ended her internship at CAWU. But Mr. Hulsman got me an interview with Agnes Odoli, a Kenyan woman who works as domestic worker for the Belgian ambassador. So I prepared the interview and we met on Saturday at Mr. Hulsman’s house and had an interview for about one and a half hours. It was really informative to get introduced in the African community in Cairo. Also I found it really interesting to see the way, Agnes, the Kenyan spoke with Diana, who also attended. The interviews were transcribed, edited and then published at the AWR website for the Interview Documentation Project.


Furthermore I went to Siwa Oasis in the desert, and Mr. Hulsman helped us with a lot of contacts, so that we could experience a lot there. (For my article about my visit to Siwa Oasis, please click here)


                                                                                              Siwa Oasis


After all, I can say that interning with CAWU gives interns incredible opportunities to learn about Egypt's culture, politics, and economy. If you take the chances, you can have an unforgettable time and learn a lot about the country.


Also, the atmosphere in the office is really warm, everyone gets welcomed and there is a strong relationship between all workers and interns which makes it hard for me to leave. Maybe I will come back one day, but for sure I will still provide from this internship in my career and personal development.




Cairo, July 11, 2018

Simone Osterwald

Intern at the Center for Arab-West Understanding between March 13 and June 27, 2018