First International Trip……wow, sounds exciting, right?
All of us have dreams to visit some places whether locally or internationally but not everyone gets the chance to do so. Obviously not everyone is born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Some of us have to put up a lot of effort to make that happen, especially when you are a girl too.
As this is my first official blog post, i will tell you about myself before telling the whole story.
My name is Yumna Fatima and i recently graduated from UCP Lahore with a degree of Business Administration. I am a proud Lahori who is alive with her love for food and travel. Actually, travelling has always been a source of fun, happiness and excitement for me. I just Love it and try to enjoy it at its best. Before this international trip, i have visited almost every place in Pakistan from Karachi to Valleys of North. Now the next step was to go to some other country and take the first step towards fulfilling the dream of travelling world that i had since a very young age.
How did it Happen!
Being from a middle class family, there are several constraints. We can’t just plan instantly and go. We always need reasons to do things and spend money. So, I made a plan and linked travel with my career development. For that, i applied to different international companies randomly for internship including Nike, Adidas, Google and what not.
Just like every common Pakistani, i haven’t done anything very exceptional to get into these companies, So the usual, didn’t even get a reply from majority of these companies. I kept on searching for ways that would help me in this regard. And then finally, I came to know about AIESEC.
For those of you who don’t know, AIESEC is a non profit, student based organization operating in 100+ countries. They have a motto to develop leadership skills by empowering students and give them handful experience in different country. They link students with different related companies according to their three main categories: Global Volunteer (GV), Global Entrepreneurship (GE) and Global Talent (GT).
GV is a 6 weeks volunteer work program. GE is more like an internship for 6 weeks but with a possibility of extension up to 1 year or more. Meanwhile GT is a proper Job with Salary and other benefits and has a basic time period of 1 year.
In my case, I came to Egypt on Global Talent. There is an academy in the city of Helwan that focuses on teaching soft skills to people, provides corporate training and also handles marketing campaigns for several companies. In there, i got a position in marketing team.
Getting Ready to Leave Pakistan
Generally first international trips are somewhat exciting, exhausting and full of confusion. And mine was the jumbo combo of all these. From applying for Job position to getting my visa, everything was just so unpredictable.
After getting offer letter, the real task was to get the visa. I purchased insurance, ticket booking and some other stuff including medical tests etc, and applied for the visa through Visatronix Lahore. I was happy and excited that most of the stuff on my part is done. So, i just had to wait for visa approval now. Believe me, it was the most hectic and frustrating thing to do till now. And the major reason behind this was the “outstanding” service of Consulate of Egypt in Pakistan. I had to wait for 82 days and the only response i got from them every day was “No Update Yet”.
I had lost all hope and the excitement had been replaced with frustration. I even acted upon the plan to get my passport back and just leave the whole thing. But in those bad times, i found a friend who happened to be a travel agent with contacts in Egyptian embassy. She pulled some strings and Finally, after 82 days of wait and frustration, i got the reply that your visa has been approved. Honestly, i did not believe that at first.
A week passed and Visatronix called me to receive my passport. That was a moment of happiness after a long time. Now it was the time to purchase a ticket and pack my bags.
Pakistan to Egypt – VIA Jeddah
The day of departure was somewhat a mixture of excitement, sadness and worries of what’s gonna happen in future. I came here to Egypt on Saudi Arabian Airline. Lahore to Jeddah travel was good but 8 hours transit at Jeddah airport was very bad. Jeddah airport is very small and they hardly have enough capacity for passengers to sit. If you ask me, I would say not to go with Saudi Arabian airline, instead you can try Al-Jazeera Airline. It has same charges as Saudi Arabian airline but service and transit is much better.
You can take as much money with you as you want. I had PKR 65,000 with me for 30 days survival. Once you will reach the Cairo Airport, You would need to clear the immigration and security checks. Finally you made it. Welcome to Egypt 🙂
I paid PKR 24,000 for the AIESEC fee. Visa fee is around PKR 5,100. Before applying the visa you need insurance and medical certificate. The return air ticket of Saudi Arabian airline was for Rs. 61,000. The total amount which I spent for this trip was Rs. 150,000/-
Here is a Shout out to Ayesha & LitsoTravel, for helping me out with visa process and making it possible for me to achieve this goal. If you guys need any help with your visas, she surely is a reliable person and can help you out.