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Snapshot: Cairo in Berlin

[Om Kalthoum restaurant, Berlin. Photo by Nourhan Khalid.] [Om Kalthoum restaurant, Berlin. Photo by Nourhan Khalid.]

In Berlin one can find traces of almost any culture in the world. Unprepared for the magnitude of diversity this one city had to offer, my time in Berlin forced me to question everything around me. Part of myself just couldn't find a way to belong. I was constantly searching for home: in words, people, and the districts I went to regularly.


Adaptation is a prime concern for youth everywhere. I left my home in Cairo for the first time ever in order to live in Berlin to finish my last semester at the German University in Cairo. I have to admit that I struggled. I struggled with crossing the street, greeting my neighbors, buying my own food. I even struggled with striking up small talk with strangers. I struggled because I grew up in a place that seemed to have a place for everyone. Where was my place in Berlin? How could a place so beautiful cause me so much agony? So I ventured out searching for home in a city that has long embraced people from all over the world.

“Cairo in Berlin” is a collection of photographs observing Middle Eastern and Arab traces in the cosmopolitan city of Berlin. Through this project viewers can see something of different Arab communities - homes away from home. The photos above record scenes across Berlin that held striking resemblances to places I am so familiar with back home in Cairo, such as Downtown, al-Korba, al-Sayyida Zeinab, among others.

Walking past these scenes, I was torn by the nostalgic feeling I had for a home to which I did not want to return.

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