Doha, Qatar Report of what it's like to live there - 06/12/24

Personal Experiences from Doha, Qatar

Doha, Qatar 06/12/24


1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

I lived in Seoul, S Korea for five years prior.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

US is home. Dallas is a 17 hour flight. San Fran is a 15 hour flight. Doha is easy to travel to from hubs as this is Qatar Airways hub.

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3. What years did you live here?

2023 to current.

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4. How long have you lived here?

Eight months.

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5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Military/Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Villas are huge: three floors, maybe2500 square feet or more and your housing will depend on your family size. We have four people in our family and are in a four bedroom with a small maid suite.

Villas are within a compound. We love our compound as the kids can run freely, have their friends in the compound, and there is a clubhouse with a pool, gym, restaurant as well as bus pick up at the clubhouse. Compounds are not in the downtown area.

Apartments are given to those without kids and without pets. Apartments are in the downtown area. There are a ton of restaurants near and amenities offered it seems in the apartment buildings.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Due to the increased cost in the US, I would say many things are on par and sometimes cheaper than the US. It really depends on what you buy. Pilsbury cresent rolls (a comfort food for one kid) is expensive at 11.00 USD a can, but then fruits and veggies are a lot cheaper generally (unless you buy American produce which isn't as good usually). We also have amazon, so that negates many issues. You can even find Chick Fil A sauce here (not consistently, but often).

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nice chocolate chips or the random things we mainly buy back in the US, but we could easily do without. You can truly find everything you need here.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are so many restaurants here I could not try them all even if I had a different one every day for 3 years. Delivery is absolutely amazing here and it has ruined me every place after Doha. For about 2.75, anything can be delivered to include groceries, restaurants, video games, etc.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Small ants and maybe geckos but not a big deal to me.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO and pouch. There is an air base 45 minutes away you can mail things as well.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Help is plentiful and it costs about 1000-1500USD a month for a full time helper (live in or not). There are also drivers, dog walkers, part time maids... it is whatever you want.

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3. Do you feel that it is safe to walk, run or hike outside? Are there areas where bike riding is possible? What is the availability and safety of outdoor space for exercising? Are these easily accessible?

This is the safest place I have ever lived. We have to remind ourselves to be more careful in other place we go to because you become so complacent.

The teens take Ubers on their own, I as a woman by myself have no issue being out on my own no matter the hour and people don't steal if you leave something on a table. My kids can wander in the malls ahead of me and I am never worried about them. You realize how much stress school safety, gun shootings, knifings, etc. have brought in your life once you live here. It is absolutely lovely to feel so safe.

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4. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are gyms in the compounds, the embassy has a gym and some gyms but I don't know anyone who uses them.

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5. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are widely and safely used. The veggie guy that delivers to me uses cash. I use cash unless I absolutely can't.

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6. What English-language religious services are available locally?

I believe Catholic and Christian but not sure the exact services.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None. Absolutely none is needed.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I think it would be pretty good. I have seen spots for those with handicaps but not sure how hard it would be to get Ubers for a wheelchair. The city is a place you drive from place to place and then a lot of malls to walk in with elevators.

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1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Ubers are extremely, extremely affordable to the point you don't have to buy a car if you don't want to. There is a subway that is supposed to be pretty good but not everywhere yet. I don't know anyone who uses buses.

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2. What kind of vehicle(s) including electric ones do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, infrastructure, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car or vehicles do you advise not to bring?

Any kind of car would work here though I don't think you can ship an electric car anymore. You cannot import a car older than five years and that is literally down to the day it was created and when you ship it. An SUV gets better respect on the road, but any kind of car works. A car cannot have dents or scratches though (tiny ones would be passable).

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. You are given a hotspot by the CLO until your internet is installed. It might take a couple of weeks as you need your QID first.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We have Google Fi and then I got an e-sim for my local number. Take an unlocked phone. I use the same phone for both numbers but it must be unlocked.

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1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

We got a dog in country. There are SO MANY pets abandoned here. If you want to get a cat or dog, I would just get one here. Vet services vary. It does get really, really hot and you have to walk dogs early morning or later in the evenings in the summer. We hired a helper who will stay with our dog when we travel.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Some work at the embassy, some have a DETO, some telecommute. I have no idea on local salaries.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

None that I know of besides maybe den mother (scouts), PTA, or coaching baseball.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Out of the housing compounds, I (woman) tend to wear something that covers my knees and shoulders. While you will see all kinds of dress here, many malls have a dress code and I never want to be prevented from going in somewhere. Also, indoors tends to be chilly ,so I tend to layer. Men wear shorts and short sleeve shirts without issues from what I have seen. There is always "it depends" here as things can change without any warning (that is true for basically everything here).

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

None. It is SOOOOO safe.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Pollution can be bad and more often than I thought it would be. Medical care appears to be very good on the economy. Most people I know prefer local medical care over the med unit for many reasons. I would bring/order on Amazon the regular meds you get in the US. The local meds (Tylenol, etc) typically are not as strong.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

It ranges from ok to terrible. It is worse than I thought it would be more often. I have not decided whether this has impacted us.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

I don't know how hard it would be for those with food allergies here.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Not that I know of. There is a mass exodus in the summers of spouses and kids so if you stayed it might be lonely. There are lots of camps the younger kids can go to but not sure what teens would do.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Nice to extremely hot and humid.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are multiple international schools here. Most people use ASD. We have had a great experience so far at ASD and would recommend the school as long as your kids don't have special needs.

I know there are some level 1 autistic kids and kids with ADHD but outside of that, I don't know that ASD could support any other needs. ASD just doesn't not have the services for some reason. The bus service to and from the compounds is wonderful and ASD has some great activities through the year.

ASD requires an interview to attend. Start and turn in your paperwork as soon as you are able to hopefully hold a spot, though I have been told that ASD holds spots for Embassy kids (as long as they can support them).

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

There are several schools I think that support special needs but again outside of level 1 autism or ADHD, I don't think ASD can support the kids.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes, there are multiple available and people seem to like them.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. Lots but if your kid specializes in something random, I am not sure it can be found here.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Huge. People generally seem really happy here.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There are boozy brunches (more long lunches), book clubs, Embassy functions, always events locally and more I don't know about. We tend to be a bit more introverted and focused on our kids. You can easily make friends in the compound with other expats especially as you meet other parents.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I think this is a good city for everyone especially families. This is a very family oriented country. I don't know how hard it would be to date here.

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4. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

No. The expat community is so big and Qataris tend to keep to themselves.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Not if it is something you like to advertise to be blunt.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Probably but I have not dealt with it personally yet.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

We love the school, the compound, the ease of getting around, ease of getting things, restaurants and we can't wait to travel. We love how everything is basically 15-20 minutes away unless you go to the beach. The airport is all of 25 minutes away.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The mall culture is interesting. It is fun to go to camel races and dune bashing at least once. We love taking our dog to the dog beach with our kids. The beach is beautiful. I am still exploring so no hidden gems yet to share.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not really. There are really good malls.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Easy to get around, easy to get helpers, easy to travel from (but not cheap for flights). We love it here and are trying to extend!

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

It really is an easy place to live, not at all the Middle Eastern concept we have in the US.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?


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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

winter gear unless going somewhere cold for vacations.

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4. But don't forget your:

sunscreen and bathing suits.

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