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Experience in Doha, Qatar by Katerina

Published by Katerina Constantinou — one year ago

0 Tags: Erasmus experiences Doha, Doha, Qatar

What is it like to live in Doha? Would you recommend it? What is the city like?

It's safe to say that the lifestyle in Qatar revolves around two things: money and the weather – and it won't be long before expats realise that both have an impact on nearly everything in this Gulf state.
The shining jewel of Qatar, Doha is a multicultural city, home to most of the country's population as well as expatriate communities from a range of origins. Shopping abounds in the city's plentiful malls, while the Corniche impresses visitors with picturesque architecture and dazzling views of the harbor. Doha boasts myriad cultural facilities, including the futuristic Education City and the National Museum. Having hosted the 2006 Asian Games, the city is home to many sports complexes as well.

What is the student lifestyle like in Doha?

Aside from the lack of student places in Qatar, hefty tuition fees are another potential difficulty.

Education in Qatar can be a significant expense, so expats should try and negotiate school fees into their contract or ensure that they budget carefully.
The historical Qatari lifestyle is still evident in Doha’s museums, traditional souks, parks and deserts, but the city has imbibed much from the rest of the world in terms of the variety of food, sports and leisure, and entertainment options that are available.

If you are new to Qatar, take some time to get familiar with the traditions and history of the country.

How much does it cost to live in Doha?

Official sources and on-the-ground experiences tell different stories about the cost of living in Qatar. It’s often taken for granted that living costs in the emirate are lower than the UAE, with the 2016 Mercer Cost of Living Index placing Doha at 69th out of 207 cities surveyed. atar’s wealth is on par with other Gulf region power players and the International Monetary Fund expects it to have the highest GDP per capita in the world for some time, creating the impression that everyone in the country benefits from a high standard of living.In reality, there is a huge wealth gap in Qatar with the highest echelons of society mostly made up of locals.

Is it difficult to find accommodation in Doha? Is there any advice you can give?

Rent prices in Qatar depend on the type of property and its location, and can be ridiculously high for expat accommodation. Prices also depend on whether a place is furnished or unfurnished, but it doesn’t hurt to try and negotiate a lower price.Utilities are reasonably priced but extra accommodation costs can add up. Some apartments have maintenance fees, so expats should find out whether the tenant or the landlord is responsible for paying.

What is the food like? What are your favourite dishes?

There are many hotels and restaurants to suit all tastes in the city as well as members-only clubs, such as rugby and golf clubs. There are large shopping malls with many of the popular and recognised high-street brands for weekend shopping and entertainment.

What places would you recommend visiting in Doha?

Enrich every step of your journey with a complimentary tour of Doha, courtesy of Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority. Visit four key landmarks including: The Pearl-Qatar, for the finest quality shops and restaurants; Katara Cultural Village, a centre dedicated to celebrating arts and heritage; Souq Waqif, for traditional jewellery, spices and handicrafts; and the Museum of Islamic Art, for its stunning architecture and beautiful seaside park. All of this, while you wait to connect with your next flight.
For more information, simply head to the Doha City Tour desk on arrival.
An amazing experience awaits you.

Is it good to eat out in Doha? Can you tell us your favourite spots?

Always a guarantee of quality,
Good wines and good vibes.
Q Lounge & Restaurant, Azraq at Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara,Glo Cocktail Bar, Market by Jean-Georges, AlNafourah Garden, Hunters Room & Grill Doha, The Cellar,etc.

Is the nightlife good in Doha? Where is good to go?

There is a slow but steady increase of nightlife activity in Doha. Most international hotels have a selection of bars and nightclubs, although the dining options still far outnumber the drinking ones.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has opened restaurants in Doha and the Market at the W Hotel offers contemporary dining in the trendy surroundings of a downtown hotel. The Jazz Club at the Oryx Rotana is one of the few live music venues around. It gets very busy on weekends, so reservations are essential.

For a more traditional dining experience, expats can embrace the café culture that made this region famous. Souk Waqif has an array of cafés and restaurants that offer a vast selection of regional cuisine, Arabic coffee and Sheesha.

There are a few customs and traditions to be aware of when socialising in Qatar:

Dancing is allowed in the privacy of your home or at licensed clubs. But dancing in public is classed as indecent and provocative.
It is an offence to drink alcohol or to be drunk in public but alcohol is available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars. Expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system to consume it at home.
Qatar has a zero-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. Throughout this month eating, drinking, smoking, playing loud music and dancing in public places during daylight hours are strictly forbidden and punishable by law, including for non-Muslims.

What advice would you give future students heading to Doha?

When temperatures skyrocket and all options at home have been exhausted, there is always a mall nearby where numerous hours can be passed. Shopping options are satisfactory, but not on par with the likes of London or New York City. However, with new malls frequently opening, shopaholics won’t be disappointed.

Villagio, Landmark and City Centre Mall are the most popular hang-outs. Most Western brand names are represented, along with the usual fast-food outlets; this is by far the most popular weekend pursuit for local and expat residents alike.

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