What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
I "dreamed" it would be easier to get things done. Although I knew some of the local customs I knew nothing compared to learning to live here. I think truly going with an open mind and wide expectations is very critical. Just because you think you come from a particular country and may impress some it may also not impress anyone and you are just another expat trying to make it away from home, and basically you are intruding. You will not always be welcomed, and because you can reinvent yourself in some ways and you may offer a lot you are still a visitor, and thinking of it that way for awhile and being humble and grateful are important to your new life. You are not special by being an expat.
How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
The expectations have been met in that I have encountered a richly diverse expat community very well versed in international travel and knowledgeable beyond my wildest dreams. They are also passionate and are here seeking opportunity and advancement, I understand that for myself and my family. I have also enjoyed the little things like no taxes, easier working hours, travel opportunities, enriched family time, cultural exposure, health access and affordability are some of the advantages.
How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?
My expectations have not been met and it's been harder in terms of the very intricate and bureaucratic red tape to get a residency permit including a blood test, health exam, and criminal clearance--all this to get internet at your house. Without a resident permit (RP) you can not do anything so the first couple of weeks it's very rough as you have very little ways to connect other than the phone. There are hardly any or none internet shops, do it yourself laundry, or Fedex-Kinkos in Doha. We almost turned right back around, but once you have the RP things do get better except if you want to drive..., driving is horrible, absolutely insane and very aggressive behavior on the road is not conducive for safety on the roads. Driving and schooling both almost impossible. I also was not prepared for the excessive classism that exists including the many thousands of construction workers that are considered "invisible"--it's been hard to observe their work and conditions against the rest of the expats. Schooling is very expensive and for younger children highly competitive and discriminatory on basis of nationality, not prepared for the difficulty it has posed for our four year-old. The one thing that I was most thoughtful about was religion since Qatar is a mostly conservative Islamic country, but this has been no problem at all. I love learning about Islam, and yet being able to enjoy my own beliefs.