I’ve been an expat teacher in Qatar. I taught geography at a high school and I also did some 1 to 1 tuition. I worked with teachers from the UK and further afield. Some were traditional school teachers whilst some were TEFL teachers. I also knew many other expats who weren’t teachers. I’ve also had plenty of time to explore the country and its people. Here are some things that stood out:
There are lots of things to do in Qatar and Doha.
When you’re not teaching in Qatar, there are a lot of things to do. There are lots of places to shop, eat and drink. You can go to the beach or go see a movie at the cinema. There are also some great places for entertainment like museums, parks and zoos.
If you’re looking for something more adventurous you could try out one of the many water sports activities like jet skiing or scuba diving. If you want something more relaxing then why not take advantage of all those spas that offer massage therapy?
Qatar and the World Cup
Qatar recently finished hosting the 2022 World Cup. The final went down as one of the best World Cup finals ever! What I’m now interested in is the legacy the World Cup will leave on the country and how you as an expat will benefit from it.
When I think of the London Olympics, we saw a big improvement in sports and also businesses in and around the stadium areas. I would expect this to be the same in Qatar. When I taught there, you could already see investment in sports such as gyms with pools and multiple types of courts and this was years prior to the World Cup even being announced.
My prediction is that we are going to see even more for expats to do in Qatar and if you love sports then it certainly will be something that will help make living here that much better.
Weekend activities in Qatar
You may be thinking that since you’re in Qatar, there’s not much to do. But that’s not true! There are plenty of things to do when you are going out on the weekend. Here are some suggestions:
- Visit the souk and try out some new foods or shop for souvenirs. There is a great Yemeni restaurant in Souq Waqif which I highly recommend. You will have to try and find it though as I’m not sure of the name.
- Go to a museum (there are many great ones!). The Islamic Museum of Art is a definite must! (https://mia.org.qa/en/)
- Go swimming at one of the beaches or pools nearby. Sometimes you may need to be a guest at a hotel for some beaches however Sealine is a must. Here you can go dune bashing. Here’s a link to one of the hotels there but you can get an idea of what it’s like. (sealinebeachqatar.com)
- Enjoy a walk through the park, either by yourself or with your friends and family. Qatar is a very safe place and being out at night is a very common activity amongst families. When I taught in Qatar I was sure that there were only two places with grass but that’s probably not 100% true. However, what is true is that today the city of Doha is scattered with parks and green space for you to enjoy. No more rainy days staying at home!
- Watch camel racing (yes, you read that right). There is a town called Shahaniya which is found on the Dukkan highway coming out of Doha. Tiny robots sit on the camels as they race around the track. The owners controlling the robots race their cars next to the track which is almost another race in itself. (hejen.qa)
I can’t talk about being an expat teacher in Qatar without mentioning family. If you choose to take a teaching job in Qatar then chances are you are going to have to leave some family behind. This is one of the main determining factors when it comes to moving to Qatar.
To help put your mind at ease, I wanted to share some of the following points.
- Technology helps you keep in touch. When I was in Qatar, Skype was the main go to for connecting with people back home. There were some applications blocked which made video calling quite difficult to do, plus video calling wasn’t anything like it is now. Today we can easily speak to people across the world. You don’t even need to find wi-fi because your network provider will give you internet access as part of their deals.
- Everyone’s an expat. Don’t forget that you are not the only expat living in Qatar. The majority of the country are expats so that feeling of loneliness and being far away from friends and family is a shared one. You will find that it is easy to make friends because everyone else is looking to create a safe social group. You will feel lonely being away from family, but you will also feel very welcome when you are living in Qatar.
I hope that this post has given you a better idea of what it’s like to live in Qatar as an expat teacher. There are so many opportunities here, and I know that if you’re looking for something new and exciting, then you’ll love this country! Things to do in Qatar are certainly important for any expat teacher but I also know that being around people is one of the deciding factors when determining if you should teach in Qatar.