Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Advice for People Moving to Doha
Recently at Dohanews they reported on a twitter request for people to give advice to newcomers to Qatar. That sounds like an idea but since I don’t tweet I’ll do it on my blog instead.
-- Live close to work and/or the schools (if you have school-aged kids). This would definitely be my top tip. It's not easy finding a place in schools so you might want to stay in temporary accommodation until you have the schools sorted out then look for a place to live. Traffic is terrible so commutes to school or work can be long. Save yourself a lot of headache and try to live close by. If you can manage to live close to both work and the schools you’ll be the envy of your friends.
-- Plan to have a car. Until the new Metro is open (likely 2019 or later) public transportation is limited so you’ll need a car to get around. If you really don't want to be driving then you should look into one of the private taxi services to arrange for daily pick-up and drop-off of yourself to work for your kids to school. Many people do this. Due to the hot weather 5-6 months of the year, and the crazy traffic, cycling is not really an option for commuting.
-- Qatar is not like your home country. It’s not. Thus, there will be some things that you will just have to get over. Alcohol will only be sold in some hotels, the Rugby Club and the Golf Club. There are no neighborhood pubs to jaunt over to. No restaurant has pork on the menu. Most places lack adequate parking. You will probably need to dress a little more conservatively than at home. Labourers are paid only a few hundred dollars a month and many work in tough conditions. Construction will be everywhere. Maintenance personnel in your building or compound might not have extensive training and certification. Drivers ignore traffic laws all the time. Things will not necessarily be as logical as you would expect back home. Not everyone speaks English. None of this is going to change anytime soon (if ever).
-- Qatar is a Muslim country, why not spend a bit of time learning about it? Maybe sign up for events at FANAR, or take Arabic lessons. If that’s not your thing consider joining one of the various arts or sporting groups at Katara or Aspire, or maybe check out the list of groups in the Marhaba and give one a call?
That’s what I can think of off the top of my head. Hopes it helps.