Traveler Thursday, Week 7: Colette’s Journey to Egypt

This is the fourth of five interviews of kids around the world, called “Reach the World Kids: Field Notes”.  All photos in the series are courtesy of the traveling interviewers.

Traveler Bio: Colette is a Northwestern University student and a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship recipient studying abroad in Cairo, Egypt.

Title: “My New Friend, Jana (جنة)”

Dana and the Pyramids.jpg

Jana and the pyramids.


I went to visit my friend Belal’s house today. I met his little sister, and she was so sweet! Her name, Jana, means “paradise” in

Arabic. I asked her so many questions about her life. She was very smart, and she even knew some English! She lives in an apartment with her brother, sister, mom, and dad.

What do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

For breakfast, Jana eats fava beans and falafel every day! She loves to eat it with pita bread. For lunch, she usually eats a sandwich and an apple, orange, or grapes. For dinner, Jana’s mother cooks rice and beans, and a beef dish called kofta. She also eats koshary, which is a big bowl of pasta and lentils, with a very spicy sauce.

What is your house like?

Jana lives in an apartment building on the second floor. Her house has a bathroom, a living room, a kitchen, and three bedrooms. She also has a balcony! They use a basket to carry up fruits and vegetables from vendors down below. Have you ever seen that before?

What chores do you have at home?

At home, Jana is in charge of dusting, sweeping the floors, and doing her homework. She helps her mom clean the windows sometimes, too. Do you think your chores are similar?

What jobs do your parents have?

Jana’s mother is a science teacher. She works at an elementary school only five minutes away from their house. She is able to walk to work. Jana’s father is an engineer. He is extremely smart in math and science as well. An engineer is a person who designs and builds buildings and machines.

What time does school start, and what time do you go home?

Jana leaves for school at 7:30 a.m., and she finishes at 2:00 p.m.

How do you get to school? Are you allowed to go to school by yourself?

Jana walks to school every day, because it is only 10 minutes away. Usually, she walks with her mom, dad, or sister to school.

Where do you eat lunch? What is your favorite food?

Jana eats lunch at school with her friends. Her favorite food is fish, especially tuna. I learned that many Egyptians love to eat fish!

What language do you speak at school? How do you say “Hello” in your language?

At school, Jana speaks Arabic and English. To say “hello,” Jana says “Marhaba” in Arabic.

What are some common kids’ names at your school?

Some of Jana’s closest friends are named Mariam, Noor, Nosham, and Riham.

What subjects do you study in school, and which one is your favorite?

Jana studies nine subjects at school! She studies Arabic, English, math, science, reading, and more. How many subjects do you study? She loves science, because she likes to build things. She also loves experiments and measuring.

What is your homework like?

Jana has homework every day. She has a textbook, and she has to fill in the blanks. For math, she has to complete multiplication tables.

What do you like to do after school? Do you have a favorite sport or game?

After school, Jana does her homework right away at home. After she finishes, she likes to play in her house. She plays cards, and she also loves playing with blocks. She doesn’t like soccer too much, and she has a favorite doll named Maryam.


Jana and her favorite doll.JPG

Jana and her favorite doll.

Who is your favorite famous person?

Her favorite famous person is actually a cartoon. She loves to watch Tom and Jerry, and she watches Spongebob Squarepants. Have you watched them before?

What kinds of music do you listen to?

She likes to listen to music from the television. In Egypt, they have channels just for music! The channel is called Birds of Paradise. She likes to listen to Arabic songs, as well as ones for kids

What would you like to be when you grow up?

Jana’s dream is to be a pediatrician. A pediatrician is a doctor for kids. She loves science, and she wants to help people in hospitals one day.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Jana really wants to go to Germany. Her uncle Osama lives in Germany, so she wants to visit him. Her mom went to Germany, and she loved it! That is the only place she really wants to go.

What do you know or think about the United States?

Jana watches lots of movies and TV shows from the United States. She doesn’t know too much about peoples’ daily lives in the United States, but she loves the movies! Her favorite American movie is called “A Baby’s Day Out.”

What questions do you have for kids in the United States?

Jana wants to know how different the weather is in the United States. She also wanted to know what kind of subjects people have in school.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I want to go to America and ride a bicycle.

What do you know or think about the United States?

It is much bigger than Mongolia and very far away. Americans have lots of money.

What questions do you have for kids in the United States?

What do you think of Mongolia? Can you ride horses?

Photograph by Richard Nowitz

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