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Some first-year reflections of Doha - 1
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Hemlock32



Joined: 14 Apr 2017
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:52 pm    Post subject: Some first-year reflections of Doha - 1 Reply with quote

I wanted to take a moment to share my first-year experience with those thinking about coming to Qatar to teach and live. I haven’t previously lived in the Gulf nor worked at a major institution anywhere in the world. I previously worked as a freelance teacher in South America and as an adjunct in the states. Now, I currently work as a full-time English professor.

I am a recent MA graduate and I can say it felt like night and day when I reflect on my life as a broke adjunct professor in the US. The feeling that you will forever be an adjunct professor quickly dissipates after you arrive here and you're set up with a luxurious apartment or a convenient hotel room with a view and balcony and a salary that is double perhaps triple your salary in the states, and is also tax-free. Yet, it does require a state of mind – that is to say, a state of internal control against outside influences.

If you are young (20’s-30’s) I don’t suggest buying a car. I would suggest getting accustomed to moving on foot, uber, or metro in Doha. If you like to walk or if you don't like to drive, this is a good place where your interest can become a nice imperative and it can save you money too. For that reason, I wouldn't suggest a car unless you are old or you have a family, because drivers here are reckless and furious (think Mad Max style driving), and there are a lot of big boys on the road (pathfinders, pajeros, F-150’s, Rangers, and all types of SUVs, etc.). Many tend to do something called text-driving and are prone to drifting in and out of the lanes at high speeds. And Its commonplace to have plenty of "near misses" and many times feeling like your heart is in your mouth. Did I mention that you can save money this way too?

Moreover, the law of the road is something to the tune of "he who has mite has right". And make no mistake, he who has rights, first and last rights, are the Qataris. They have the nicest cars and usually the biggest ones. They also don't seem to care about traffic violations either, since they have connections all the way to the top of the police department. I’ll admit that Americans and other western professors with high degrees have good standing here, but the Qataris are noticeably immune to traffic laws. For us, the going rate for a red-light violation is 6000 QR (around 1650 USD).

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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17632
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I realize that students will call you "doctor" or "professor," but are you actually a "professor"? An "English Professor" would be teaching English Literature. Or are you just an EFL instructor/teacher/lecturer? You didn't mention any PhD, so while the students will try to flatter you with an inflated title, I assume that your contract doesn't call you a "professor." Those are titles that are earned with your academic credentials. This is certainly true in the US. While I had some teachers with only MAs when I was in college, they were never called Prof or Dr.

I always pointed out to my students in the Gulf that I was NOT a professor or doctor. I was just Ms Veiled... and that inflating my title wasn't going to inflate their grade. LOL

VS
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Hemlock32



Joined: 14 Apr 2017
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I apologize. Where you see professor replace with teacher/instructor.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17632
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an "edit" button on your post if you wish to change it. Cool

VS
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Blackbear



Joined: 20 Jan 2013
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yawnnn. This titles stuff is quite trivial - and especially when Qatari or ??? students do not have any idea what the degree "structure" means in terms of contractural/academoc titles.

Yes, students still think that calling an "instructor" in a program a "professor" or a "doctor" will grant them higher marks. Human nature or what??
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17632
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes and no... but we, as holders of more advanced degrees, should know what is proper or not in the profession that we purport to be in...

As a new holder of an MA, our poster may be unaware. Probably better to learn here than from the professors at the employer, who will tend to not be polite about putting one in one's place. New teachers in the Gulf system may not realize that the academic faculty of these universities consider us little better than the tea boys. When budget cuts are in the works, we are the first to have pay frozen and benefits cut. (why should they get free housing... mere MAs that they are... etc etc)

Which is easily seen in the lower pay and benefit structures in TEFL all over the Gulf in the last 10 years. Not that dissimilar to the adjunct slavery of higher education in the US.

VS
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Hodor



Joined: 17 Oct 2014
Posts: 3
Location: Dunes by the gulf

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Some first-year reflections of Doha - 1 Reply with quote

Hemlock32 wrote:

I am a recent MA graduate and I can say it felt like night and day when I reflect on my life as a broke adjunct professor in the US. The feeling that you will forever be an adjunct professor quickly dissipates after you arrive here and you're set up with a luxurious apartment or a convenient hotel room with a view and balcony and a salary that is double perhaps triple your salary in the states, and is also tax-free. Yet, it does require a state of mind – that is to say, a state of internal control against outside influences.


Night and day? Well, don’t forget that the sun also sets. And don’t forget the two buckets theory of life in the Gulf.

I hope that you meant by the last bit (“internal control”) a need to keep things in perspective. As a Western professional in Qatar, you are near the top of the hierarchy. You didn’t do much to achieve that status- all you did was move there. Don’t let it go to your head. The worst people with whom I dealt in that country were fellow Westerners who believed that they had earned their place at the top of that heap. So, please, don’t let that place turn you into an @#$&$#@. Of course, if you have always been one, you’re in the wrong place to get yourself right.

My (unsolicited) advice: save money and be humble. Be nice to the legions of laborers who clean your room, cook your food, drive you around, etc. It might be hard to believe, but you are all in the same boat.
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Hemlock32



Joined: 14 Apr 2017
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Some first-year reflections of Doha - 1 Reply with quote

Hodor wrote:
Hemlock32 wrote:

I am a recent MA graduate and I can say it felt like night and day when I reflect on my life as a broke adjunct professor in the US. The feeling that you will forever be an adjunct professor quickly dissipates after you arrive here and you're set up with a luxurious apartment or a convenient hotel room with a view and balcony and a salary that is double perhaps triple your salary in the states, and is also tax-free. Yet, it does require a state of mind – that is to say, a state of internal control against outside influences.


Night and day? Well, don’t forget that the sun also sets. And don’t forget the two buckets theory of life in the Gulf.

I hope that you meant by the last bit (“internal control”) a need to keep things in perspective. As a Western professional in Qatar, you are near the top of the hierarchy. You didn’t do much to achieve that status- all you did was move there. Don’t let it go to your head. The worst people with whom I dealt in that country were fellow Westerners who believed that they had earned their place at the top of that heap. So, please, don’t let that place turn you into an @#$&$#@. Of course, if you have always been one, you’re in the wrong place to get yourself right.

My (unsolicited) advice: save money and be humble. Be nice to the legions of laborers who clean your room, cook your food, drive you around, etc. It might be hard to believe, but you are all in the same boat.



Judge not. If you didn't realize it, I'm writing to fellow people who haven't been to Doha and who were broke teachers back in the U.S. or elsewhere and I wanted to underscore simply a few things they may encounter when they get here (i.e., major increase in salary, major status change, temptations, new power relations, dangers). If you didn't notice, I advocate for living frugally and modestly in order to maximize your efforts. I don't think you really read my post.

Here's my advice for you: try not to lash out at people. That's why people don't post their ideas in the first place.

I wish someone would share some crazy driving stories.
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Mr. Kalgukshi
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 6599
Location: Need to know basis only.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the personal insults and asides continue, this thread will no longer be available. Appropriate sanctions will follow.
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baa_baa



Joined: 04 Dec 2011
Posts: 265

PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi Im very sorry to ask this. I just couldnt find a better thread to post.

how is life here? Is it like in KSA or is it like in UAE? I have worked in both places. I am packing my bag just not sure what to take with me. Do I need an abaya??

also how much is chicken royal meal in qatar? or a kfc meal?? do they have shawarmas Razz Im a sucker for that.

You said its better to walk so everything is close? mall super market? are taxi convenient???

upon arrival in KSA you need to get aline before you exit the airport. which we didnt. so we were stuck with no line at all. Is it the same? should I get a line?

I had trouble finding a home in KSA upon my arrival is this the same or will they pick you up???

thousand things rushing in my head.

Im feeling scared uptil today I travelled with someone now Im on my own. I need this. its been the worst 3 years of my life. any advice?

thanks for everything!
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17632
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can tell you that it is more Emirates than Saudi. None of my friends that worked there ever owned an abaya.

Most of your questions would probably only be known by another teacher at the place that has hired you. You need to ask them about the airport procedures, pick up, and immediate housing.

Good Luck!!

VS
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baa_baa



Joined: 04 Dec 2011
Posts: 265

PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
I can tell you that it is more Emirates than Saudi. None of my friends that worked there ever owned an abaya.

Most of your questions would probably only be known by another teacher at the place that has hired you. You need to ask them about the airport procedures, pick up, and immediate housing.

Good Luck!!

VS


thank you v. big hugs. you just helped me write up a list on things need to be done. big big hugs Very Happy
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17632
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely work up that list and get your employer to answer them. I sure hope this one works out for you.

VS
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baa_baa



Joined: 04 Dec 2011
Posts: 265

PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
Definitely work up that list and get your employer to answer them. I sure hope this one works out for you.

VS


hi! Very Happy

I just got off a very informal skype interview/chat. I spoke to a teacher and she was DOLL. She did more than I wanted. Not only gave me details of important things but she even planned out a day for me her and a friend. so now Im looking forward to getting on that plane.

Thank you so much VS. you know sometimes you think that you have done nothing by doing sth very small but for someone else its a huge thing. Maybe you are thinking its just an advice. Believe me its more than that. thank you so very much. you have changed my view to this God knows whats waiting for me path Very Happy at least I dont feel scared. <3

I know its been a rough patch. Hopefully all coming to an end and maybe just maybe it will be happy days. I also prepared a shoping list. me want a new phone. mine is so old Very Happy me happy.

a very big you cant breathe squishiest hug ever Very Happy

(MOD edit to remove non-functional links)

I tried to post a pic of snoopy hugging his lil yellow buddy. thanks again hug hug Smile
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17632
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They don't allow any posting of pictures here because... well... in the past, we had porn showing up. LOL

I know that you have had a tough couple years. Take a breath and relax and, as they say in the Gulf, inshaAllah, all will be well.

Cool

VS
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