DH has been offered a job in Doha.
Can anyone tell me about it? Good places to live? West Bay would be most convenient for his work but seems v expensive? I like the look of Al Jazi but can't actually find any properties to rent there, so no idea on their price range.
We'll have 2 young children (pre school), and would be okay in an apartment I think.
Would we make friends easily enough?
For info, we like Dubai (Arabian ranches for example), started exploring options there, and then this came up!
I know you say the kids are preschool but how old are they? Most families base where they live around school place availability. Are your kids likely to start school whilst your here (bearing in kind most kids start school when they're rising 4 here)? If so I'd base yourself somewhere quite central (like Gharaffa) and then hopefully it won't be too long a commute to anywhere you get space.
Al Jazi is lovely but the waitlist is very long unless your husband's company has some villas there. What's your budget? Al Jazi is around 22-25k QAR per month for a three bed, if you've got that sort of budget it's worth considering West Bay Lagoon (although you might need closer to 30k) or the Pearl.
I live in an apartment in West Bay and wouldn't really recommend it (but others love it). For a similar amount of rent we'd be able to get a decent villa on a compound somewhere in Gharaffa.
Oh and you'll make friends fine provided you're prepared to put yourself out there a bit, be the one to suggest meeting up again etc.
There's a huge shortage of school places, I've been told. Be sure you can secure one. Some families live in Dubai and husband commutes back on weekends (it's that bad).
OP - school places are an issue but no need to be commuting from Dubai! Depends how fussy you are really.
Thanks so much, hope to be back in UK by the time DS is 4. He's just 1, and I'm pregnant with number 2! School isn't an issue, but nursery might be...?
Nursery spaces aren't an issue. There are benefits to flats with really little ones (no stairs) so with that age of child it's worthwhile considering a west bay apartment for the first few months. Make sure it's walking distance to City Center.
Having just left (escaped) after 18 months of living there I have to say please be aware that Doha is NOTHING like Dubai.
The Pearl is expensive but relatively nice and convenient for West Bay. Do not even consider an apartment that is road facing as the noise of Qataris racing their super cars and jet skis around until the early hours of the morning is unbearable. Also, traffic getting on and off the island (one road on and off) regularly grinds to a total standstill causing hour long plus delays.
For a family I would look at the compounds towards Villagio as long as DH doesn't mind a long commute.
As others have said school places are a complete nightmare as is commuting any distance so maybe secure a school place before accommodation.
West Bay (unless you can afford West Bay Lagoon) will all be apartments with no outside space for children.
I'm sure you will make friends very easily, we certainly had no problems and being pregnant and with a small child I'm sure you will find it even easier (look at Doha Mums group). Good luck!
I like Doha but also be aware it's about 20% more expensive than Dubai. I'd work on your DH needing to be paid 130% of the salary he'd command in Dubai to come here.
It's really not Dubai. Fantastic in its own way but nothing like Dubai.
Tell me why it's fantastic but not like Dubai? I've never been and we'll do a reccy before he accepts the job, but any advice on what to see/check out would be much appreciated.
I have lived in Doha a while, used to live in Arabian Ranches. There is nowhere in Doha quite like that. We are overall much happier in Doha than Dubai, we found Dubai a bit superficial whereas made great friends in Doha. Feel free to message me and I can give you more info, I have a little one the same age.
You can always join hundreds of Qataris and escape Doha for Dubai at the weekends .
Lots of families with babies and toddlers live on the Pearl. Flats on the ammenties levels give you great access to facilities and are easier to escape .
We have two sets of friends living in Doha (one set has recently moved back). One is in the oil industry, and gets paid an "American" wage, with rent, leisure club, medical insurance and all sorts of extras. They chose to go, and are having a great time.
The other set of friends (those who have recently returned to the UK) are on a local wage, scrimp a bit and can't afford the exPat lifestyle that is available. They went due to redundancy, and came back to the UK after 2 years. Ostensibly for their DS to start UK preschool, but the were very unhappy.
Dubai : The city in the desert for people from all over the world to work , live in , have business and enjoy .
Doha : The city in the desert built by people from all over the world for Qataris to live in , make money and enjoy.
Interesting, this is a really mixed response... But I guess it's a bit like dubai, love it or hate it.
This would be a short term move, three years tops we think, to put a bit (lot) of cash back in the bank.
We're in good jobs but live in london suburbs. Love our home but can't afford bigger so we want to extend... But we don't want to borrow more to do so.
I suppose I see it for what it is, and it's not forever. I just don't want to be miserable there either. We're a happy, sociable couple and very happy to make the effort to make new friends.
I'm going to check out the gafara(?) area online tonight...
Bikerunski - there's no concept of a local wage in Doha! Locals are paid more than expats for the same roles.
OP - Doha is less superficial than Dubai (although it has its moments and there's plenty of Lamborghini s on the streets). Its also far far less finished. To me it's home (I've been here 8 years) so can't honestly compare but what I find fantastic is the melting pot of people, the chance to really challenge your thinking and being able to meet like-minded people. It's also a really interesting place to be with the current politics - you meet people who have views so radically different to yours it blows AIBU out of the water. I also don't bother to lock my door when I go out and have gotten used to a choice of 10 different types of mango in the supermarket!
Be very careful if you're only coming for three years and plan to try and save a lot. The first year is expensive, most people don't manage to save anything significant in the first year (unless they're on oil and gas money) and I actually know a lot of people who end up in debt. Come for the experience and to save a bit but don't expect to even be saving half what you calculate you can on paper.
OK, maybe I used the wrong terminology. I think I was trying to say, that the experience of our friends (who are also friends of each other) is that the lifestyle can be fabulous if you are well paid and very much less so if you are not. You've mentioned "oil and gas money" and our well off and happy friends are in this field, so what you're saying bears out what I am trying - badly - to say.
Dare I ask how much 'oil&gas' money is? DH not in that field but in senior engineering/construction role.
We've had a good look this eve and feel pretty excited. Like the look of Al saad, esp Al fardan compounds.
It sounds like it could be an opportunity and a great adventure!
By oil and gas money (and obviously depends on which not of oil&gas), I'm talking 50k basic with all expenses covered on top of that. It goes upwards from there but the key thing with o&g is the benefits packages are great. Anything less than 25k + full package and you're going to struggle to save much at all.
Jugglingmonkey - I would say you need a housing allowance of at least 20k a month to get a decent villa / apartment in a nice area. And would agree with Living (on all points!) that 50k basic should allow you to live comfortably and save. The Al Fardan compounds are nice but Al Saad as an area is not 'typical' for western expats, it is difficult to walk around and the apartments in the area are usually not so nice as they tend to cater for lower-income workers who often share rooms or families who share apartments to keep costs as low as possible. I know Western bachelors who have lived there happily but not families. Some apartment blocks also have funny rules e.g. no visitors!
I find we spend money on going out, rent, utilities, flights, food, nursery fees. We could live more cheaply on rice and Sudanese lamb, not drink, rent in a cheaper area, not go on holiday etc but we want a decent quality of life, a bit of meat on the bone and feel the need to get out of town every few months.
If you can come for a look-see before you move, I really recommend it. I love it here but it's not for everyone.
ps it is also really important to find out more about the company you are working for. Some have very strange policies e.g. no exit permit for the first 6 months while under probation (i.e. you cannot leave the country). You also need to make sure they are able to sort out family sponsorship for you from day 1 and not after your husband has got 6 months of bank statements. Even some Western companies are like that as they are in partnership / JV with local companies.
Hmm okay, so there's no extras in the package (just the salary, flights home once a year and medical insurance). But it's about 70K/month.
I can see our expenditure being:
Part time maid
2 days nursery fees
Do you think it's do-able?
Also I got confused in my last post, it's Al Waab I liked the look of, but is that still not very western expat?
PS, thanks all for the advice, it's really helping discussions here at home! We'll definitely have a visit over before accepting the job.
Be sure that the projects your Dh likely to work on are secure ( that said nothing really is in Doha ). There are lots of people leaving at the moment with projects stalled or cancelled. Rail, road and stadiums are certain deliverables .
Is your DH moving with his existing company ?
It is always good to have a way back into the UK and not always easy once you have ME on your CV.
The number of people I meet who say "we came for 2 years "but are still in the gulf 10 years on is astonishing .
Qatar is certainly the most expensive Gulf State and becoming more so IMO. Dubai has more to spend your money on ,but for basic living costs we spend much much more than in Oman , Bahrain or the UAE .
Like Jebel said be very very insistent on family status and permits being granted from arrrival .
Make sure your housing allowance is adequate, full medical insurance for everyone and schooling is paid for even if you don't anticipate being here for that long .
It is even better if the company has reserved seats in schools.
Do your research . I would personally only come here for massive career enhancement , a great deal of difference in salary or no options in the UK . With children the age of yours - I'd go to Asia . Way more exciting and cultural.
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