Things I wish I knew before I moved to Qatar

Qatar landscape
Updated 2018-07-12 13:50

Qatar is a wonderful place to live and many expatriates would consider their life easier and less stressful here than back home. However, there are some things that would be helpful to know if you are planning this move and will help ease your transition to life in this beautiful country.

Be Patient

Things can take a long time to get done here. You may find that paperwork, bureaucracy, and dealing with government organisations can feel like a frustrating experience at times. Be prepared that this might take longer than what you're used to. Just be prepared that things can change at a moment's notice here and information provided to you (even that on these very pages) can change frequently.

Be Kind

Wage disparity is very high in Qatar. You may find that the workers serving you are on a very small salary and work very long hours. Working in Qatar is an excellent opportunity for them but kind words, gestures, and tips of a few riyals can go a long way.

Prepare for additional expenses

Make sure you have money saved for any additional expenses when you first arrive. You may need to rent an unfurnished apartment and will need to factor in costs for this. You may also need to pay rent in advance and register for utilities in your first month here. In general, you will find most items are expensive because so many items are imported. Try to make the most of your shipping allowance if you have one and bring over as many things as possible.

Make the most of discount vouchers

Eating out at hotels and going for drinks can also be expensive. Make the most of discount vouchers and grab yourself a bargain. Two of the best discount books are MyBook and The Entertainer. You will find that they will both pay for themselves within a few trips to your favourite restaurants or hotel brunches. There is also a website called QGrabs which has many occasional special offers.

Use Social Media to keep informed

One excellent group to be involved with is the 'When, Where and How in Doha' facebook group. You can find answers to virtually all question you can think of related to life in Qatar, and it is an extremely useful guide, particularly for new expatriates in the country. Facebook in general, is widely used in Doha and there are many social groups to help you in your first months here.

Use Meet-Up

You can also use the meetup website to find like-minded people to socialise with and make new friends. Ranging from sports to creative writing to public speaking, there is something for everyone.

Expect the unexpected

This goes along with the advice on being patient. You may find yourself working with people from many different nationalities and things will be done differently to how you are used to. The rewards for working in Qatar are high, but the economy is also volatile and it is not uncommon for redundancies to occur or for people to lose jobs at very short notice. Make sure that you have a safety net in place. It is highly advised not to take out any personal loans or unnecessary expenditure, at least during your initial year in Doha.

Enjoy the experience

Enjoy the wonderful weather, the laidback lifestyle, and the opportunities to travel. Take the opportunity to learn some Arabic and to learn more about Qatari culture. Many expatriates report positively about the experience they have living in Qatar.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.