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Life in Qatar
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jiyu



Joined: 18 Nov 2010
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:57 pm    Post subject: Life in Qatar Reply with quote

I am a female Australian academic who's been offered a faculty position at Qatar U. The actual job is well aligned with my expertise, but I've never been to any country in the area and am very wary of what might be in store there. I would be very grateful for any advice, especially on these questions:

1/ Is the weather survivable? Is it possible to spend minimum time outdoors because everything is connected and airconditioned (maybe like Hong Kong)?

2/ Is transportation really the nightmare I've been reading? I will not have a car so I'd need to travel from where they put me to the campus. What would be the best way to do this? Are there options for transport (ie public transport)?

3/Generally what is life like for single female professionals? Are there any other professional women on the forum who could offer some advice?

Many thanks in advance for your responses. Much appreciated.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3585
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you look at QU's New Faculty Welcome page? (http://www.qu.edu.qa/facultyandstaff/welcome/faq.php)
Also, do an Internet search on expat qatar forum for useful info about life/work in Qatar.
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jiyu



Joined: 18 Nov 2010
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
Did you look at QU's New Faculty Welcome page? (http://www.qu.edu.qa/facultyandstaff/welcome/faq.php)
Also, do an Internet search on expat qatar forum for useful info about life/work in Qatar.


Yes, I did, but the university site just gives logistics, not personal experiences, and most fora I checked don't quite answer my questions.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3585
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately, questions like, "Generally what is life like for single female professionals? Are there any other professional women on the forum who could offer some advice?" are very broad.

You'll likely get bits and pieces of helpful info and advice on this forum, probably more coming from men than women. However, most of the ESL Cafe posters are on holiday for the summer and may not be on this forum as much. This is why I suggest you look at the various expat forums on the Net; it's where I continue to get the most useful responses to my daily-life questions. (I'm based in Saudi Arabia.) An Internet search on qatar women expat living forum will get you started.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15854
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:23 am    Post subject: Re: Life in Qatar Reply with quote

jiyu wrote:
1/ Is the weather survivable? Is it possible to spend minimum time outdoors because everything is connected and airconditioned (maybe like Hong Kong)?

I've never lived in Qatar, but the whole Gulf is pretty much an oven for much of the year, so I can generalize... since no one from Qatar seems to be showing up.

It is hot... very very hot for half the year, and usually humid as well. Can be as humid as Hong Kong, but with temps in the 40+ range for months on end. One wonders how they used to manage to survive before AC. But they did. Generally one goes from the home AC to the car AC to the office AC... and after a couple of summers, one adjusts. Fortunately summer leave of a couple months is in the middle of the worst heat which gives people a break.

jiyu wrote:
2/ Is transportation really the nightmare I've been reading? I will not have a car so I'd need to travel from where they put me to the campus. What would be the best way to do this? Are there options for transport (ie public transport)?

The traffic is downright scary in the Gulf. They drive HUGE 4WDs and small sportscars as fast as they can... and all of them think the road is theirs.

The answer to your transport to work will depend on where you are placed. I don't know if QU provides any buses...

jiyu wrote:
3/Generally what is life like for single female professionals? Are there any other professional women on the forum who could offer some advice?

Generally? I will merely generalize... To live in the Gulf, one needs to be able to entertain oneself... and likely make an effort to get to meet people who might share your interests. It is rather like living in a small town. At least there is the internet and sat TV these days... to add to whatever hobbies you may have like reading or crafting or writing the Great Australian Novel. There are many other expats... from many different countries and cultures, but life seems to be easier for married couples with kids than for singles.

Qatar is safe... clean (though dusty at times... tis the desert after all)... quiet... and many consider it downright dull and/or boring. It will be what you make of it.

VS
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topshop



Joined: 29 Feb 2012
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:53 am    Post subject: take it Reply with quote

take the job come here and enjoy in fact you probably wont want to go back life is good in qatar Smile
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Geronimo



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 406

PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This "Time Out Doha" webpage might be of interest to you, jiyu...
http://www.timeoutdoha.com/community/reviews/10339-tuesday-ladies-group#.Ucftcvmnr8Q

In response to your question about public transport, the limitations of the bus routes and the variable availability of taxis in Doha
have been discussed elsewhere on this forum.

Whilst work is now underway on the $41 billion Doha Metro project....

http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-15677-work-to-start-on-41bn-doha-metro-in-early-2013/#.UcfvrPmnr8Q

...with the 2022 World Cup and an Olympics bid in view,
traffic congestion will probably remain a real bugbear for Doha residents in the next few years.

Geronimo
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millie18



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm trying to stay positive here as it is 50C+ during the day right now with the humidity starting to move in for the summer.

Transportation = public will not get you anywhere near QU. Full stop. Even if you wanted to attempt it. QU may provide transportation to employees from their own compounds, I don't know first hand. As for driving oneself - it is much worse than the UAE and exponentially worse than Oman. If you are in the least timid you won't even attempt it.

However, it is fairly easy to make arrangements for a regular driver to take you to and from work and other outings.

You do need to entertain yourself to a large extent - and as VS says, internet (Skype) and satellite TV make this easier. Doha, like most of the GCC is what you make of it. If you are fairly self sufficient, have some hobbies, are willing to put yourself out there (the Qatar Professional Women's Network for example). It's certainly doable. If you need hand holding, don't come.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3585
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Life in Qatar Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
One wonders how they used to manage to survive before AC. But they did. Generally one goes from the home AC to the car AC to the office AC...

To add to VS' comments, the AC is very likely to be one temperature: cold. You'll definitely want to bring a few light jackets, cardigans, and/or sweaters as an extra layer to keep from freezing in your classroom and office.
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jiyu



Joined: 18 Nov 2010
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the responses everyone. I appreciate them.

Just to reply to some points:

Yes, I'm happy to entertain myself. Sat TV and internet sound fine, but do they work? Or are they always 'out of order' as in many undeveloped countries? And what about censorship?

As for driving I am a timid driver, so I'm not even considering getting a car there. I was hoping to car pool but I haven't heard of this happening there.

I guess it's a matter of luck. From what I've read some people like it and others hate it depending on their experiences (although I still haven't found anyone who loves it!) In many ways it sounds like a rich country with third world mentality and infrastructure.
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dash201



Joined: 19 Dec 2011
Posts: 25
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TV and internet - intermittent as with anywhere. I haven't had any problems yet though. Driving and car pooling, I am sure colleagues could help easily or as previously suggested, arrange a driver. Driving is not that bad. Most road users here are just lacking common sense.

Censorship - of course, it is a middle eastern country. However, if you are on about the net then get a VPN (Expat Shield for Windows, Hotspotshield for Mac and I am sure others are available).

And now you have found someone that loves it. Me. I have been here less than a year and here is what I have been up to...

I have seen David Guetta, Katy Perry, Usher, Noel Gallagher, Example, Beardy Man, DJ Fresh, The Script, been to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, been to see local football matches, Spain v Uruguay, Men's final tennis, Women's semi-final tennis, world class golf, WWE wrestling, bought a sportscar.

As they say, it is what you make it and Qatar is a great hub for visiting places.

Yes sometimes it feels backwards here, equal rights are lacking and the infrastructure is not complete but you could do a lot worse. Why not come and take a look for yourself first...
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15854
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jiyu wrote:
Or are they always 'out of order' as in many undeveloped countries?

I'd say that this is a bit of a misconception. The Gulf would NOT be considered an undeveloped country. Everything is basically new and modern. These countries were mainly built since the 1970s. I never had my sat TV go down in any Gulf country. My internet was never down more than it was in the US. Now, both of these were more expensive than back home at the time and the internet is faster.

What seems "undeveloped" is the bureaucracy which tends to be based on the system of 'why do today what can be put off until tomorrow - insha'Allah.' But having worked for many years dealing with the US government and 3 state governments accounting/tax laws - our system isn't much better. Cool (just try to get a human on the telephone to get questions answered)

VS
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dash201



Joined: 19 Dec 2011
Posts: 25
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like the system of "If you want something doing, get down there in person and get it done!"

Well...until you are in a queue in the Traffic Department...here is how it works...

Say you are ticket 10...

1, 2, 3, 14 Qataris jump in, 4, 5, 6, another 20 Qataris....you get the picture...
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millie18



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never been jumped in the queue at the traffic department anywhere in the GCC in 13 years (7 here in Qatar) but I am female, which plays a huge role in any social interaction in the GCC.

Certainly not undeveloped but over bureaucratized ( blame that on the many sub continent employees anxious to prove their worth) as a legacy of European bureaucracies).

Internet and sat TV are relatively easy to arrange if you have a little patience (like 7 days worth). Intermittent, not that I've noticed in the past decade.

As for the musical selections Dash, you are quite correct, if you are aware of where and when tickets are on sale and when BEFORE the event. Too many times we learn in Qatar after the fact. And there are other more conservative events (symphony orchestras independent films etc)
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Addis24



Joined: 17 Sep 2010
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been here for over two years and also love it in Qatar. Enjoy music events, watch live music most weeks, international sports events (and they are relatively cheap), festivals, playing sport, photography, going to the desert and beaches on weekends, going on boat trips and it's a great destination to travel from. Every year there seems to be more happening, but of course you need to make an effort when you get here and have some things you are interested in. There are also some great social groups you can join.

I would agree that Qatar is 'over bureaucratized' and would add that rules and requirements tend to change a lot. After my latest move, it took three months to get internet and TV installed and changing sponsorship was a very frustrating experience![/b]
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