Moving To Qatar!
My name is Jessica, I am a 16-year-old who currently lives in the USA, but my family will be moving to Qatar during the summer. I am excited, but also a little nervous. I'm posting in this forum to just ask for some advice on a few things.
- First and foremost, license! I've been doing some research, and I've learned that the legal age to obtain a license is 18, but that Qatar honors international licenses. I currently am in possession of a US license. Does anyone know if my license will be honored due to my age? Would my license qualify for an exchange for a license in Qatar? I haven't really been able to find information on such, but if anyone knows or could lead me in the right direction, that would be greatly appreciated. I would either be 17 or close to 17 when I arrive, so I realize that 18 is not far, but driving is one of my greatest passions and is very important to me. I am hoping there is some possibility of me being able to (legally!) obtain a license/permit/etc.
- Secondly, what is the "teen" culture like in Qatar? What are things that people my age regularly do? What are schools/studies like? What is it like overall? I am fascinated with the idea of culture and regionality. I have moved many times throughout my life, all around the world. I will be researching and doing a lot of reading before we go, but I would love to hear different interpretations of what life is like in Qatar from local people who love to speak about their country! Also, if you have any tips for adjusting, any do's/dont's, how to fit in, or anything like that, I would love to read them!
- Do any of you have any advice on learning Arabic? Is there a dialect of Arabic specific to the Qatar region? Is it different all across the country? I love learning languages and I am excited to add Arabic to my list, but I have heard that it can be difficult to pick up at first.
- What are jobs like? In the US, I currently work a food service job. Do teens normally hold jobs in Qatar? I do have understanding that you can work, but are there a lot of young workers? Are there jobs that are specific to students/younger people? I really enjoy having a job and having a work ethic is also something that is important to me.
- Dress code? Do's/Dont's, what to avoid, etc? I will admit that I do not dress extremely modest, but I would like to be respectful as I adjust to a new environment. Are there items that I should entirely avoid? Things that are looked down upon? I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable with how I dress, especially if I am becoming a resident.
Anything else that anyone has to offer would be greatly appreciated, and sorry to create such a long post! I have a lot of questions and I am very excited to learn :)
Thank you so much,
Among the many don'ts in Qatar, there are a couple of things that slipped my mind while writing the above post.
In Qatar, gambling is illegal and you will not find any gambling dens anywhere. Secondly, no bribery takes place. Attempting to bribe is also a big, big crime. The act can land a person in jail.
It was welcoming to read a well-written post and your desire to come to Qatar. Let me try to answer your queries one by one:
* The rules with regards to age of getting hold of a driving license are not flexible and as such you will simply need to wait it out till you turn 18. I know of some Qatari young people in your age bracket who are unable to get hold of the driving license due to this age requirement.
* There is no such thing as a "teen" culture existing in Qatar. One thing you will realize when you get here is that the majority of people living in Qatar are foreign nationals. As such, mingling of teens from several countries and having a "culture" of their own, is not visible. The local teens may have one of their own, but I am not aware of this.
* Yes, you can learn Arabic here is Qatar. You will not be able to learn it from your interactions with people as most people speak just English and many locals also do. There are private institutions that teach Arabic. You will face some difficulties initially in picking up the language for several reasons. First is the script which is written from right to left. Second is the phonetics where many Arabic words are pronounced through sounds deep in the throat.
* You will not be allowed to work in Qatar. Your age will not allow you to find employment in the country. Secondly, one needs a Work Visa. This can be provided only by a sponsor. There is no such thing as "teens" working at jobs.
* Yes, Qatar has have a dress code. You cannot run around the city or on the beach scantily clothed such as in bikinis or see-throughs. One must dress modestly.
* Among the many don'ts: You cannot drink in public, walk or drive around under the influence of alcohol. Doing so, may get you arrested, fined, jailed or even deported. You will not be able to find alcoholic drinks just off-the-shelf at the supermarkets or at other stores. The show of affection in public is an absolute no, no. You will not get to see fist-fights taking place. You can walk safely down any dark lane past midnight all alone without the slightest fear in your mind. No bag-snatching takes place. Qatar is country which has a very low crime rate.
In the end, Qatar is a small, very peaceful country. The country stretches just about 160 kms (100 miles) from north to south and 80 kms (50 miles) from east to west. You will love the environment and when you go back home, you will be taking along with you lovely memories of this place.