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Moving to Dohuk

Hi guys,
I've been offered a placement in Dohuk for work so I have some general questions regarding the living situation there. Thanks already in advance for your comments and advise!

- I know that at least at the moment, the security situation is fairly stable - however can someone please share some insights on living and safety in Kurdistan as a single woman in her early 30s. That is one of my biggest concerns. I'm blonde and tiny, and will probably stick out for miles...

- What is the social scene like, if any? Are there any bars, restaurants, shopping areas, or other public places that are safe to visit at night or on the weekends? What do people do on the weekends?

- What about sport? Can I go running outdoors alone? Any gyms that Western women can go to? I don't think there's any indoor/outdoor climbing in the area?

- Shopping - are foreign groceries available? What about women's (hygiene) products? Should I bring most things Western or are most things available to buy?

- Is there a more or less stable Internet connection in Dohuk, i.e. that I can have in my apartment?

- Last but not least, is alcohol available, and/or allowed to consume (of course not on the street, but in bars/restaurants).

Sorry if some of these questions/concerns are completely random and unnecessary, but I have almost no idea about the area so I would appreciate any feedback there is, especially from (female) expats living already in Dohuk. Thanks a lot!

Hi,

As an expat living in dohuk I can answer most of your questions.
. Security is good here at the moment there's nothing to be afraid of. Being blond, well what can I say? People might look at you but I don't think you have to be scared. My colleagues said they had never experienced anything bad.

. Social scene. Easy to describe, boring. There are hotels with bars and there's a cinema and some fun fairs and a family mall is opening up in a few weeks. Although going out for a few drinks after work is virtually not existing. The hotel where I work just opened and we are trying to change this.

. You can go your for a jog but once you arrive you'll realise it's not a good idea especially during summer. The Streets are crowded and crossing the road can sometimes take minutes. There are some gyms I think but we can work something out for you in the hotel in case you can't find a proper one for women.

. Shopping is easy. There's a mall with nice stores and there are shops everywhere and also there's a new Carrefour in town that sells basically everything.

. Internet is easy. You buy a fastlink move device and top it up every month. There are different packages. You can then take it with you and use it anywhere. It can support a phone and a laptop.

. Alcohol is not an issue. There are shops selling booze everywhere just don't drink on the streets and don't be drunk.

I'm happy to answer more questions, I can also put you in touch with female expat colleagues of mine. Can chat on Skype or Facebook if  you want.

Have any new gyms for women opened up?  If not, does your hotel still allow memberships?  I would love to find a gym/pool combo for ladies.

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