Moving to Qatar
I have been asked on Friday if I would like to take on an 3-4 year Assignment in the project of the new Qatar Harbour. Now of course I have some questions that need answers:
- How far can you get speaking English, French and German? Is learning Arabic a must? (It sounds difficult.)
- I am Single and have no need for a big flat or a Villa. 50-60 qm would be more than sufficient for me. It should be positioned conveniently (close to facilities like restaurants, shops, stuff the like), but relatively quiet, though. How much would that cost me?
- As far as I could pick up from the forum, cars are best leased over there. Is a small SUV a big advantage (do you often have to drive on the tracks) or would a normal sedan (Ford Focus, VW Golf Class) suffice?
- What are the absolute "Dont's" in Arabic culture or especially in Qatar? Beside that long sleeves and trousers are obligatory...
I know that many of these questions have been answered already, but I have to make the decision quickly, so I summed it all up.
Nevertheless I would be very grateful for your help.
I don't know where the new harbor will be located.
Yes rents are on the high side. I think we pay 50% more than what we did in the states before moving here for about the same size apartment. My wife's company provides a housing allowance though which was adjusted in such a way to cover reasonable accommodation. It is my understanding that most companies either provide staff compound or accommodations, or give an allowance for housing.
Water and electricity is not included in the rent for our flat, but other places may do it this way. Our water and electric together often total only 100QR per month, which seems very cheap to me.
I'm not sure what you mean by lunch snack, but fast food meals for example are anywhere from 14 to 18 riyals, so $3 to $5 US, which is comparable to in the states at least.
I'm sure prices are discussed elsewhere on this site, but I'd say groceries are a little more epensive than in the states (I realize this may be of no use to you as a comparison), gas is considerably cheaper, and beer is considerably more expensive :)
Car insurance must be handled by the individual, unless I suppose the vehicle is being used in a work capacity, then perhaps that is covered by the company.
Our health insurance is covered by my wife's company, so I don't really know what options are available otherwise.
Thanks for your advice. That brings up some further questions, as I was not yet provided with any additional information on the job. It would be a mid-level Management post with a dutch company.
I normally don't have much trouble learning languages, but this all comes to me on very short notice and if I take the job and will be taken, I will be down there within the next 2-3 months. The decision will be made next week... Do you, by any chance, know where this new Harbour is planned? (In the general Area of Doha?)
I have had a look at your Blog and well, rents are really on the top level. Now when I calculated it right, the 5.000 QR would translate into 1.200 Euros which is what I currently earn here in a month, so I can only hope that wages are adjusted to that fact. Is electricity, water and the like included?
How expensive is living (food, beverages)? (I don't drink much Alcohol so that is not a problem.) i.E. what does a Lunch snack (warm) cost you? It might help me to relate things a bit.
What do I have to regard concerning insurances and medical care?
Thanks for the hint with the Marhaba, I'll have a look for it. Maybe we'll see each other soon. Who knows?
I really appreciate your help.
English is widely spoken and understood. I suppose depending on what sort of business you transact and with whom, other languages would be helpful, and even perhaps necessary. For everyday things, shopping, dining, directing taxis English should get you by.
Housing prices are all over the map. We have a modest 2 bedroom unfurnished flat (not villa) and pay in the neighborhood of 5000 QR monthly (airport area).
I'd say that if you plan on being here for 3 to 4 years that purchasing a car might be a better option, but to each his own. We get by with a sedan. There isn't much offroad driving unless you plan on riding the dunes, although with all the construction the normal roads can sometimes be bumpy.
Dress codes are not as stringent as you might think. Work attire may call for long sleeves and trousers, but cargo shorts and short sleeves for men are often seen, and moreover are sold in stores here. Women's attire requirements may be a little stricter, but again everything is dependent on where you are (i.e. at the beach, out walking or jogging, at a bar or club etc.)
I'd suggest picking up a guide called The Marhaba where they discuss cultural dos and don't and other information of interest to expats moving here.