The definition of expat is a person who lives outside their native country. But the reality of expat life is much more complex than that—it’s filled with idiosyncrasies and differences that you grow to relish. In short, your adopted country becomes your home away from home.
With a multitude of positive attributes, here are just some of the reasons expats love living in Qatar.
The Job Opportunities
This is a big one. In fact, the ability to earn higher wages than you would at home is likely what brought you here in the first place. Many expats are lured to Qatar by excellent job prospects and pay and then discover all the other benefits as they settle.
Some families find out that they now have the means to comfortably expand their families without both spouses working.
Others find that they can support their families back home and provide their children with a private education—a privilege that is unattainable without their Qatar wages supplement. Some even end up setting themselves up for life, earning all the resources they need to own a house in their home country.
The Multicultural Environment
Despite Qatar being one of the smallest nations by size and area in the world, it boasts a rich tapestry of nationalities. Although 15% of the population is Qatari, the remaining 85% is made up of expats from over a hundred countries. Here, you can find people from India, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, The UK, the USA, Australia, France, Sweden, Egypt, Pakistan, and Ireland, to name a few! With such a diverse range, children are exposed to the cultures and beliefs of people from all over the world, not just their native countries.
Tamsin, a mum of two from England, relishes the chance her two children have to learn about the religions, beliefs, and cultures of their diverse group of friends.
The Welcoming Community
Moving your whole life to another country is a daunting experience where you leave behind friends and family, along with everything else you know.
Lisa, a mum of two who moved from Sweden, says: “since day one of stepping foot in this country I have been amazed over how helpful and amazing people have been to us.” Common themes in many online expat groups include how everyone remembers how it feels to be the newbie in town and the desire to help others.
Not only is the community here friendly when you first arrive, but it’s also where you find life-long friends who become your family away from home.
“I love the fact that I can just walk into my friend’s house, make a cup of tea, and sit down on the couch for a catch up, with no need for prior invitation. It’s what I have with my sisters at home in New Zealand that I didn’t expect to replicate in Qatar,” shares Jackie, a mum of three.
Friendship bonds can be formed instantaneously, without the need to break into circles of friends who have all known each other since they were small. Expat living means you already have something in common, and it’s not unheard of to invite total strangers to your house for a cup of tea!
One of the most common misconceptions about Qatar is that it’s a soulless country of skyscrapers.
This couldn’t be further from the truth as the cultural scene is rich and vibrant. There’s the hustle and bustle of all the oud-scented souqs, several museums to explore—including the more “hidden” ones, like Sheikh Faisal Museum—and numerous world-famous public art displays to gawk at.
The daily sunshine and (almost) year-round outdoor-friendly weather is one of the things that is high on many people’s “love” list.
Elisa, a Scottish mum of two, loves the fact that she can take her family to beautiful beaches, deserts for camping, and swimming pools all year round.
With the soft white sands and crystal-clear waters of Al Maroona Beach, you could be forgiven for thinking you were on a tropical island. Not to mention the mangroves of Purple Island, teeming with crabs and rocky hills to be explored, which contrast the sweeping orange sand dunes in the desert. The majesty of Qatar’s nature is breathtaking in its differences.
Whether you want to play or spectate, Qatar’s sporting scene is ever-expanding. You can join a running club with world-class athletics champions or take up swimming, karate, gymnastics, or horse-riding. If you prefer team sports, you can join a football team or a rugby club. And if you want to try something newer like padel tennis, you can do that too. There is something for everyone.
Couple this with the major events that have recently been held in Qatar, such as the IAAF World Championships, the annual Qatar ExxonMobil open, the golf tournaments, and the FIFA Club World Cup, the sport in Qatar is world-class. And of course, you can’t forget the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup.
There are not many countries in the world where you’d feel comfortable letting your young children play outside unsupervised. Yet, with the security provided by compound living, this is a benefit enjoyed by many expats.
Mary, an Irish mum of two, values how she can help her eight-year-old son foster independence by allowing him to be outside without constant supervision.
Similarly, the level of crime, especially petty crime, is low. It is virtually unheard of to be pickpocketed or have your bag snatched.
The Five-star Lifestyle
With several major hotel and high-end restaurant brands having a presence in Qatar, should you wish, you too can get a glimpse of the five-star lifestyle. Whether you want to eat sushi at Nobu or sip a drink at the terrace at La Mar Doha, there are countless options available to suit every palate and budget.
Qatar is a travel hub. Its national carrier, Qatar Airways, serves over 150 destinations, so the ease of international travel is appealing for many.
“Living in Qatar gave us a fantastic base to explore the world around us. With many destinations being available directly, we were able to utilise our time and really explore the world,” says Emma, an English mum of two.
It is a sentiment echoed by many. Lora, an English mum of three, has just arrived in Qatar for her second expat assignment and says that one of the highlights of returning is the level of international travel it affords.
The Best of Both Worlds
The ease of travel allows many expats to return to their home countries for long stints every summer. This annual “summer migration” is a convenient way to avoid the blistering heat while also re-connecting with loved ones.
Rachel, an Irish mum of three, says that for her, this is one of the best parts about living in Qatar. Living here has meant that she can reap all the benefits of living in a diverse expat community while also showing and teaching her children about their Irish heritage.
As you can see, the reasons expats love living in Qatar are as individual as they are and depend on many things, like why they moved, what they were looking for, and their family dynamics. Now, over to you: why do you love living in Qatar?