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Although Qatar is one of the world’s smallest nations, it’s the world’s richest per head. Its wealth has created one of the world’s most impressive skylines. In their capital, Doha, you can watch traditional Dhow boats float on the waterfront next to these modern giants. It’s clear that Qatar’s recent development has proved how much ambition can transform a country.
Despite the unlikelihood of such a place springing up in a desert land, Qatar has become a multicultural and futuristic hub. This is not to say the nation has abandoned its heritage however, it boasts an array of cultural institutes, traditional restaurants and more.
Whilst temperatures here can easily reach over 40C, most public places, shopping centres and homes are air-conditioned, allowing Qatar to be the unlikely host country of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Whether you’re looking for a change of pace or a just change of scenery, moving to Qatar is an exhilarating step into the future.
Most people in Qatar live in soaring modern apartment towers or in compounds in large villas. About 60% of property in Qatar is rented and the majority are flashy, ultra-modern builds with all the mod-cons you can imagine and more.
Generally, people rely on well-established estate agents or a short list of verified landlords when it comes to finding accommodation. However, if you’re moving for work, a lot of companies will provide an accommodation allowance or some even have their own compounds set aside for employees, so be sure to check with them for details.
Education widely varies in Qatar; the British, American, French and Indian curricula are most commonly followed depending on the institution, with most opting for International Baccalaureate. In most areas, independent and international schools have replaced state schools, which tend to only provide free education to government employees’ children.
Schools tend to be co-educational and use English as their working language. The school year begins in September, however be sure to apply early, sometimes a year in advance, and to a selection of schools, as places are hard to acquire. Children can be expected to be tested as part of the admissions procedure even if only at primary school age.
Qatar is the sort of place where you can admire an Arabian sunset over the desert sands and enjoy a shopping trip in a larger than life mall on the same day. With over 500 expats arriving in Qatar a day, it is home to many different cultures from all over the world. With this diversity, activities such as scuba diving, are as readily available as Latin dance classes and worldwide cuisines.
Qataris like to take their time when getting to know people of other nationalities but learning part of the lingo and asking after a Qatari’s family is a good way to start!
Due to Qatar’s sponsorship system, it will be your employer who decides when you can leave and enter the country, as they will need to provide you with an exit permit. Check with your employer on their policies on emergency exit permits.
It’s also well worth noting cultural and religious differences such as standards of dress. Both men and women should dress modestly. Women can drive, and it’s safe and accepted to walk around unaccompanied.
As an Islamic nation, Qatar follows Shariah Law, so alcohol and pork are not freely available. Most five star hotels, restaurants and member’s clubs have alcohol licenses.
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