Qatar is a rather small country, and you can get from one coast to the other in less than an hour. However, there’s a lot to do if you make the effort to get out of Doha. Many people enjoy desert camping by the beach or near the inland sea. You can buy tents and other supplies in the local grocery store Carrefour. It is noteworthy to know that the desert is cold at night. So remember that if you decide to go camping, bring a substantial jacket, pants, socks, and some warm blankets, even if you really, really doubt that you’ll need them. You’ll thank us later. If you’re not quite rugged enough for camping, but still want to experience The Great Outdoors, you can take a day trip to one of Qatar’s many beaches. Beaches outside of Doha are mostly public, in the sense that you can just plunk down on any open stretch of coastline and nobody will hassle you. Popular spots include Dukhan on Qatar’s west coast (accessible by the westward highway that runs past Education City), Zekreet (just north of Dukhan), and Fuwairit and Al Ghariya (both about an hour north of Doha on the Shamal highway). Be sure to bring sunscreen lotion, and maybe an umbrella: these beaches are NOT well-equipped with facilities of any kind.
If the “make your own beach experience” experience is still a bit too rugged for your taste, you can spend a day lounging on one of the many hotel beaches attached to places like the Hyatt, the Ritz, the Marriott, the Intercontinental, and the Four Seasons. You may have to pay a few hundred riyals, but at least you won’t have to wander more than five minutes in search of the nearest bathroom.
Qatar offers more than just beaches: the desert is full of entertainment for people who know where to look. You can visit the Inland Sea, which is in the southeast corner of the Qatari peninsula. Many tour companies offer desert tours (often incorporating an overnight stay at a beachside camp) for groups.
Desert and Sea Explore Qatar
A Student Handbook
Welcome to Qatar Events
You don’t have to stray far afield to find fun things to do in Doha. The Education City Student Center has a bowling alley, open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. most days, where you can rent a pair of super-fly shoes and play a game for only QR 10 per person. The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra puts on performances throughout the school year at Katara and other venues. Their schedule is available online (http://qatarphilharmonicorchestra.org/) and tickets go on sale two weeks before each performance, online and at Virgin Megastore in Landmark and Villaggio malls.
Camel racing is one of those things you probably never realized you really, really wanted to see in your lifetime. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserts that it “stands for originality, most esteemed heritage, honorable, competitiveness, excitement and speed,” and we couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Here’s a hint: robot jockeys. Here’s another hint: camels, unlike horses, don’t always all run in the same direction. Intrigued? Camel races are available for your viewing pleasure at Shahhaniya Racetrack, west of Doha in roughly the middle of the country. The race schedules are available in the local papers or by calling 4487.2028, mornings only.
Qatar is home to a variety of major sporting events (anybody heard of a little thing called the World Cup?) They tend to be concentrated in the wintertime. Some of these include:
Tennis – visit http://www.qatartennis.org for details
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Golf Championship (http://www.qatar-masters.com)
Qatar International Sailing Regatta (http://www.qatarsailing.org/)
Tour of Qatar annual cycling race: check the Qatar Cycling Federation’s website (http://www.qatarcf.org/en) for details!
Samsung Diamond League Athletics Grand Prix (http://www.diamondleague.com/en)
The residence halls in Education City are structured as a one bedroom room with an ensuite bathroom.
There are some key aspects of living in the QF residence halls that we would like to highlight here. You can find all the full Community Living Standards online at www.qf.org
All residence halls are single-gender. This means that, at no time, will you be able to have guests of the opposite gender in your apartment. If you want to hang out or study with a mixed-gender group, it needs to be done in one of the academic buildings or the student center.
Though the management and operation of the residence halls is managed by an entity other than your university, your behavior within the residence halls can affect your standing at your university.
Your room in Education City will undergo routine inspections, not only for prohibited items, but also for cleanliness. This is primarily to make sure that there are no health code violations nor any situations that might increase the appearance of insects. (Insects are a regular occurrence in residential buildings in Qatar.)
For reasons specific to this student culture, failure to respond to hall director communications in the timeline they establish can result in disciplinary action.
Many of the students living in the residence halls have grown up in their parents house until recefamilies Therefore, these students are still learning many of the independent living skills—such as cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry—that you may have already acquired. We encourage you to be proactive and patient with your local roommates and to try to come to some agreement around these issues of communal living.
Living in Education City
Most of the local students have cars. There are also cheap taxis all over the city. There is a QF shuttle that takes students from the residence halls to various religious facilities, grocery stores and malls throughout the week. The schedule is usually distributed by the residence hall staff
Karwa Taxi (blue cars): 4458-8888 Must be booked at least one hour in advance.
Al Afdhal Taxi: 4488-0177
Fox Transport: 4462-2777. Must be booked at least one hour in advance.
Approximate rates for taxi fares 45-50 QAR
How to get around
Stay in Contact
There are two phone providers, Vodafone and Ooredoo, that will allow you to get a mobile line (SIM card) while in Qatar.
There are a variety of ways to stay in touch. Many expatriates use Skype or Gmail video chat for voice or video calls. If you get a Qatar mobile number, you will also be able to dial internationally, although this is a rather expensive way to communicate. And of course, there is always email!
The cafeterias in the dorms & the student Center is open Sunday through Thursday.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the Community & Recreation Center is typically open Saturday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but likely will not be open during Ramadan.
Food On Campus
The Qatar Foundation Community and Recreation Center has recreational gyms, fitness rooms, soccer fields, tennis and squash courts, and a pool for students to use. It has also begun to offer classes like Pilates, spinning and water aerobics. The Student Center also has brand new fitness rooms, as well as sport courts that can be used/reserved. Additionally, the Student Center operates a bowling alley, arcade, and large t.v. room.
A syllabus will be given on the first day of class to students that will contain expectations, rules, procedures, and usually a chronological list of assignments (readings, papers) as well as quiz/test/exam dates. Mark your calendars now because the professor may never mention that 20 page paper again until the day it is due! Also, sometimes the professor will note the days that there are no classes (if applicable). The syllabus will also contain the contact information for the professor as well as office hours.
All universities in Education city will not accept lying, cheating, stealing, or plagiarizing. Violations are strictly adjudicated and can result in expulsion.
Relationships between the students and faculty are usually quite informal however most professors prefer not to be addressed by their first name unless they say otherwise.
Some professors will hang around for a few minutes after class to answer quick questions, but check the syllabus for his/her office hours to schedule an appointment.
Attendance is very important! Each professor will inform the students of his/her attendance policy. Punishments such as a markdown in a student’s final grade may be the consequence of poor attendance. This includes lecture and seminar classes as well as studios.
The dress code is usually informal in the classroom, unless you are giving a special presentation for a grade. However, students in Doha dress more formally on any given day than their American counterparts. National dress is very popular among Qatari men and women. Qatari men wear a thobe, which is a very long, white shirt, usually worn over white trousers. They wear a gutra and agal for headwear. Qatari women wear an abaya, which is a long, black dress along with a black headscarf. Other female students may wear hijab, which is the Muslim headscarf. All students are expected to practice modesty in their dress and women should cover their shoulders and knees at all times.
Punctuality is equally important. This does not mean arriving on time, but being a little bit early so you are prepared to begin when the class is meant to begin. Professors will inform the students of their individual policies, but sometimes a professor may lock the door for the late students!
Many medicines are available from pharmacies without prescriptions, including some that require a prescription in most western countries (although antibiotics can no longer be bought over the counter).
Most pharmacies are open from 9:30am-1pm and 4:30 to 8:30pm or later. Saturdays to Thursdays. A notice in the local press indicates the duty pharmacy open outside these times. Many hospitals have a 24 hour pharmacy, where you can obtain prescription and non-prescription medicines.
The quality of health care in Qatar is generally high and equal to that in Western Europe and the USA, except for highly specialized treatment. Although some of Qatar’s doctor’s and medical staff are local, the vast majority is foreign and was trained in their home countries.
Qatar now has a public health service providing free or very low cost helath care for its nationals and it’s imporatant to note that these services are also available to expatriates. Tourists visiting Qatar should have travel insurance that includes cover for private medical treatment, but they also have access to state medical facilities in the case of the emergencies.
The Qatar Foundation operates a health and dental clinics in the Student Center in Education City. The contact number for the clinic is 44541244. Charges for these services are free or nominal with your student ID card.
There are a number of hospitals in Doha, for more severe medical issues or for circumstances requiring specialists. The largest public hospital in Doha is Hamad Medical Center, in Al Saad, although many people choose to go to private hospitals, such as Al Ahli Hospital, which accepts some insurance plans.
This handbook was made in collaboration between: VCUQ, CMUQ, GUQ & TAMUQ
For more information please contact your university official:
VCUQ: Dr. Valerie Jeremijenko & Ms. Feven M Haddish
As a student, your residency permit/visa will be sponsored by the Qatar Foundation. This allows you to reside in Qatar for a certain period of time.
However, you will need to submit an exit permit request each time you wish to leave the country, so we can ensure an exit permit for you. For more information of this procedure please contact your study abroad coordinator at your designated host institution.