Heba Khairy, Archaeologist, Grand Egyptian Museum
A new way of life…
Once upon a time, there was an Egyptian girl, she was 25 years old with a dream to participate in the ITP. For five consecutive years she applied and in 2017 she was invited to join the programme and her dream came true! I am Heba Khairy, I am 30 years old and I am an archaeologist at the Grand Egyptian Museum.
I arrived into Heathrow airport Terminal 2 on 1st July with my two Egyptian friends Noor and Mariem. Upon our arrival at the airport, we found Adrienn from the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan waiting for us. Adrienn was great with us – she was so gentle and very helpful and she gave us a lot of care on our way to our accommodation. As our taxi took us down Oxford street we were very excited.
We arrived at Schafer house where we finally met with Claire and Rebecca – it was so lovely to greeted by them and I felt that I am in my second home. We met our colleagues Ala and Astghik for the first time at the reception of Schafer House; we stayed together for a while talking about our trips and our first impressions of London. Claire and Rebecca were extremely helpful getting us settled into our new home for the next 6 weeks. On the same day I met my colleagues Raneen, Chen Li and Guo who where so friendly.
On my second day I met more ITP colleagues and went to Camaden Town, a famous crowded commercial st here in London, we looked around and got know the city better – we really enjoyed.
The third day marked the official start of the programme. It was amazing – I felt that here I am achieving and touching my dream. The group met in the reception of Schafer house with Rebecca, who took us to the British Museum to show us our daily route. We had lots of conversations together on our way about who we are, where are we from , what is our opinion of London…
Finally we arrived at the most inspirational place in my opinion, we all were so happy and proud that we were finally here, love was in the air! I met our helpful senior fellow Hayk for the first time who, with Rebecca, took us to the Ancient Egypt and Sudan library for our first day of sessions. Claire gave us a very useful presentation about the history and achievements of the ITP and the programme sponsors. We also had useful presentations about Culture and Heritage in UK, the BM’s various departments and a welcome from Director Hartwig Fischer. Hartwig Fischer gave us a very precious presentation about the history of the British Museum.
Through lunch with colleagues from many departments and UK partner museums and more presentations we found out more about each other, our institutions, expectations and projects. I really benefited from these precious talks. Kusuma Barnett helped to orientate us at the British Musuem by giving us a tour of the galleries. She pointed out lots of iconic objects and spoke about the themes within the museum collection. All of the ITP fellows gave a presentation about their work and institution, which was an amazing part of the programme – learning about all of the new cultures, civilizations and countries I have never heard of before.