Frequently asked questions from people who wonder what it’s like to have been raised in Qatar.
Please note that the below answers are based purely on my personal experience and not on the basis of anyone else’s experience.
Date of birth: 19-04-1991
Birth Country: Qatar
Raised in: Qatar
Country of education: Qatar
Qatar being a hub for multinational residents means I often hear “no way! You’ve grown up in Qatar! Was there anything to do? You will go back “home”?”
I thought this is the best platform to clear some of those doubts in a Q&A style post.
- Since you were born here, are you Qatari?
If you ask me whether my passport (a legitimate book used purely for travelling purposes) is from Qatar, then no. My passport is from my country of citizenship.
- Doesn’t it bother you that the government doesn’t give you the passport even though you were born here?
Not at all! I really don’t see any reason why my passport has to be from Qatar. I literally only need it for travelling purposes. In any case, I need visas to countries I wish to travel to. It is important to understand that the rights to the passport are to the citizens of the country first.
Qatar is smart and knows what it is doing when it comes to the rights of the expats population. I have not faced any discrimination with my expat passport. I have complete medical benefits, I receive the same level of security and support from the police, I can buy any car of my choice, I can freely live in any part of the country, I can have a bank account with any bank, oh and I can have a company on my name! The infrastructure is improving and as an expat I can safely say, I have personally not been on the losing end as an expat. (Please don’t come back to me talking about the rule of having a Qatari partner. It’s a rule, live with it).
- Are you Qatari then?
Legally I am not considered Qatari. But you know what; how I feel about this country, the people, the regulations and community are things no one can take away from me. No one can dictate how I feel either. This country is my home regardless of where my family comes from. This is the country that my family chose to spend their life in. They chose Qatar to not just work in but to contribute to the community and country. We have built a life here. This is why Qatar will always be our home. Whether you consider me Qatari or not, I don’t care. I consider myself a Qatari from how I feel for the country.
- If your home country and Qatar played a football match who would you cheer for?
My loyalty is to both countries but considering that I have given my life to Qatar and Qatar has taken great care of me, I will be more biased towards Qatar. I love 18th December, Qatar’s National Day. I have my own tradition of spending time with the family, pulling out my ‘I heart Qatar’ tshirt, wearing a maroon coat and staying warm with a scarf with the Qatar flag on while watching the fireworks at Corniche. An example of our feelings to Qatar and my home country is when my family teamed up with the Ministry of Interior to conduct an Indian musical evening on the occasion of Qatar National Day in 2015. We believe in both countries and the blend is what represents us best.
- What did you do as a kid? Where would you go?
Believe it or not, I had the most normal childhood possible! Weekends comprised of a bunch of families going to Bidda park for a picnic, barbeque and camping in the desert or the Eid special visit to Aladin’s Kingdom. These were the days when the weekend was Thursday and Friday and we were all back to school/work on Saturday. The weekdays were full of activities for me from learning Karate, swimming lessons, dance lessons, tennis, arts & crafts, piano lessons and so on. Everything was available! It was a matter of making the effort and going out there to do these things. I think this still applies to people who have newly come to Doha and whine about not having enough to do.
- You must speak Arabic then?
Technically, I should. This is partially my fault as I went to a British embassy school the emphasis was always on having my English perfect. Coming from an Indian family, my home language was also not Arabic. I know my basics which helps me get my day-to-day things done. Also, people in Qatar have always been very accommodating to the fact that I don’t speak Arabic so I didn’t feel the need to learn it yet.
- How long will you live here for? Eventually you have to go to your “home” country.
True, if things drastically go wrong like they did in Kuwait during the Gulf war I will have to go “home”. But really, no matter where I live forcefully or out of choice, Qatar is where I call my ‘home country’.
I am more than happy to address any specific questions that you might have about moving to Qatar so feel free to reach out to me on email@example.com.