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An Egyptian Affair

13 February 2012

Hi All – I’d like to formally introduce Frederick Puckle Hobbs to the Broadgate Group.  Fred will officially start his internship this July as an Executive Project Assistant, working directly at board level to assist in our expansion program.

Here is the blog from Fred titled “An Egyptian Affair” –

When I received the offer of an internship at Broadgate Financial this summer, I was naturally very excited. Students I have spoken to on the matter, among them some of my close friends, often tell me that they have sent fifty e-mails or made thirty phone calls and received no response of any kind. After only three attempts, my own success at securing something constructive to do have made me reflect on how lucky I am and how valuable experiences at University can be.

I study Arabic at the University of Exeter and accordingly am currently spending my second year  studying at the International Language Institute in Cairo. After the turbulent events of 2011, it has been a fantastic experience living here while the revolution continues to run its course, the most surprising aspect often being conversations with complete strangers, whether it be taxi drivers, shop owners or passengers on bus journeys. I have heard many opinions; liberal, moderate and conservative, but the  uncontrollable level of optimism shared between all Egyptians concerning the revolution really brings the images of Tahrir square this time last year alive. This has only been exceeded by the palpable sense of unity I felt when I  visited the square during one of the more serious protests in November 2011; I have never seen popular cooperation on such a scale. With the imam of the adjacent mosque having declared the area a safe zone, the security forces were unable to enter, so when clashes took place it was in nearby streets. Student run medical facilities took care of the wounded, rushed back by groups of men with makeshift stretchers or on the back of motorbikes. Although they have not yet achieved the transition of power they hope for, Egyptians can certainly be proud of their ability to work together and speak in one voice.

But whilst it is possible for students in my position to sound as though rare experiences such as these are life changing, I have to be honest and say, that as foreigners, we are often very removed from the revolution itself. I don’t intend to go home and tell anyone that will listen that I was in the thick of it, supporting the Egyptians every step of the way, but I do intend to learn from all of the things that I have done here, and from all of the people that I have met. First and foremost, I enjoy double the  teaching hours in a smaller learning environment here in Egypt, which has vastly improved my grasp of Arabic.  Degree aside, I’ve become more independent, capable and conscious of the opportunities around me. In my spare time I have learned to SCUBA dive – a skill I hope to take to professional level during my spare time in Thailand –  organised events for my colleagues and done my best to take in the sights and history that the country has to offer. Frankly, I believe that an elective year abroad should be offered to all students, regardless of subject and specialisation, so that they have the same opportunities that I have had to expand personal knowledge of the world and the people in it.

In the end, it is for this reason that I am excited about this summer – my travels abroad have sparked my enjoyment in encountering and overcoming new and different challenges and feel privileged that I have the chance to do so with Broadgate Financial this year.

Frederick Puckle Hobbs

Executive Project Assistant