Who is your neighbor? A neighbor for me is having a broadened social circle of concern, more than most. If you are a Third Culture Kid then you can’t help but have a social circle that spans beyond borders, boundaries and divisions. It is a span that is not defined by plurals, but in abstracts of what many consider normal. You see, you know and you believe far outside the geographical definitions of neighborhoods, towns, villages, cities and countries as well as nations. You have the ability to see individuals and not confined groups. Your heart soars in diversity, for that is your norm. Your passion is driven by being curious, learning and running over the compartmentalized focus that that most know. Passion not contained by compartmentalization does not return void. It is fueled with courage and faith, that is greater than what is seen. It is that difference that truly makes a difference.
I had the opportunity to work a month in Doha, Qatar. I didn’t even think twice about jumping on board with the opportunity. As with any good honeymoon about half way there, you ask yourself what you were thinking. This is where commitment settles into reality. Mine came when I found myself over Bagdad and Tehran, on a Qatar flight. Having grown up around and in war-torn countries, being a part of war refugees, being caught in a coup d’état, you know ethics is not the common denominator. I felt vulnerable in that air space as I saw our plane on the map crossing over one and heading to the other. There never was a notice stating that I’d be flying in this zone. Maybe it would have been nice to have that choice, just saying. I strongly believe we each have a destiny and that when we are where we are supposed to be, we couldn’t be any more protected.
I have been all over the World and the best customer service, hands down has been these two airlines of Qatar and Emirates. You may be tempted to fly your normal airline if going to Qatar or UAE, but don’t miss this experience! Qatar Airways and Emirates are like a vacation on their own. I settled back into the customer service of Qatar Airways with the quilt they gave me and plenty of food. Their coach ride can be compared above a USA First Class/Business flight. A true peace settled in.
Qatar Airways was my introduction to the Middle East and everything over the top in expectations. This is not my first rodeo, but it was different in that I was landing in a country that is 80% ex-pats. I have never felt so comfortable on foreign soil, but then again that is coming from someone whose home is where their suitcase is.
Diversity is the heartbeat for Doha, Qatar, and every country is represented here as well as food and clothing. You will see an old world, with Western and European tastes along with Malls. Lulu’s was my favorite grocery store as well as anything else you could want. I was in heaven as my favorite fruits; vegetables from Europe and the USA were here. Most are imported daily as it can’t be grown there.
The Medical community mostly speaks English as the foundational language. I thought it interesting that certain cultures were chosen again for certain positions. EHRs in Qatar and Dubai are far ahead of other countries as they spend the highest amount of money for the newest and best. It was in this community that I had the opportunity to work with Qataris who take up about 20% of the country. What a great experience to learn about their culture first hand. After working in a Pediatric ER in the States for 19 years, I’d say the physicians and RNs are just as professional with a twist of stronger customer service. Many say they prefer to go home for care while working in Qatar, but at least in Al Khor I’d say they are the best. The physicians do extra training in Europe, Canada, and the USA. Here is a chance to let differences not hinder you, but reach past the differences and embrace them.
For me, the only warning I’d give is to make sure that if you have a job offer from a sponsor, that it is genuine and that they are reputable. Talk to others and know your company. Lastly, your passport is a part of you and should stay with you. Use your common sense. I did travel alone and felt safe. There is less crime in Qatar than in other countries as the punishment is strong.
Everywhere you turn you see construction; they are in a building boom. New compounds are rising and the sports areas are growing fast as they prepare to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Shells everywhere of new buildings not yet completed. Some of the most beautiful building I’ve seen and at night the landscape changes in a kaleidoscope of colors as the ocean breeze cools the heat.
Going out for a Desert Safari, riding a Quad Bike over the dunes, Oil Fields with fires forcefully shooting out of posts, riding a camel or walking on a public beach will stir you to your inner being. The public beaches are countries within countries themselves as Egyptians cooking and sharing a meal with anyone going by. Out of their abundance, they shared even when it wasn’t much.
There are approximately 1.5 million people in the Doha, Qatar area and in that multi-ethnic vibrant community you will find a different way for everything. Be prepared with patience, understanding, and your listening skills to thoroughly enjoy all that Qatar has to offer. Qatar truly does ex-pat well.
I met some very precious people while in Qatar; some will be friends for life. One thing that never changes is when you get to know someone, you get close and then you are gone. It doesn’t get any easier the older you get, if anything it gets harder. How to thrive and grow long distance relationships is a challenge of its own.
The further out your neighborhood goes, the more secure you must be in diversity, in listening, patience and allowing yourself to be challenged. You tend to see the value in others, their strengths and how to build on that for the greater good. It is in that difference, we in turn make a difference. It is in this multi-ethnic vibrant community, which gives Qatar a unique platform to be negotiators and to host leadership in diplomacy for the Middle East Conflicts. When you spend time in Qatar you can clearly see that the passion is finding the place of strength, that sweet spot in the areas of unrest.