Family Life in Qatar
Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar is committed to creating a supportive network of people, activities and programs to promote the research and personal development of all faculty and staff in the VCUQatar community. Our Human Resources department has a dedicated team to welcome you and answer any queries you may have about Qatar, from what is available in the supermarkets to recommending schools for your children.
The HR department will also keep in touch with your spouse about their interests and helps them get involved in activities and organizations in Qatar while also making suggestions regarding jobs. The university has events organized throughout the year from lectures and exhibitions to community classes, family days and Ramadan iftars so your family feels they are part of the VCUQatar community.
Qatar is a family-oriented country where children are welcomed just about everywhere. Families, and especially children, play an important role in Qatari culture. Family outings are very popular and you will see large extended family groups picnicking outside and around the playgrounds, parks and the Corniche area in cooler months.
Organized sports are big here in Qatar. Activities to keep your family active include aikido, aerobics, badminton, baseball, basketball and bowling. Cycling is a favourite pastime and you’ll find families peddling around the compounds. Cross-country bikes can also be found for sale in Doha.
Take advantage of horseback riding on Arabian horses in Doha. There are several tracks and expert facilities with breeders in Qatar. Classes can be arranged for adults and kids both in group settings or private sessions. Perhaps you prefer ice-skating at the City Center Mall where you can take ice-skating and hockey lessons.
Doha offers pristinely manicured golf courses for your family to play and enjoy in the cool weather months. The Qatar Master’s Tournament is held every March on its golf course. Lessons are available for all ages and levels.
Tennis is another widely played sport in Doha with most compounds and sports clubs housing their own tennis courts. There are several instructors to take lessons from. World-class tournaments are held annually.
Or perhaps you prefer karate, rugby, track, squash, Tae Kwon Do, volleyball or swimming at either the sports clubs or your compound’s pool. The opportunities are endless.
For those of you who like a little more culture and a little fewer sports, you will find art and voice lessons, music instruction and language classes. There are dance lessons for children and teens in ballet and ballroom dancing.
The Doha Players is regionally renowned for producing several plays and musicals throughout the year where both young and old can perform, run backstage operations or simply enjoy as audience members. All sorts of societies thrive in Qatar, such as the American Women’s Association, Girl Guides and Boy Scouts. You can join chess and film clubs or take cooking and gardening classes. There are environmental and natural history groups that meet regularly and plan activities as well as photography and science clubs.
Visit the country’s museums, including the Islamic Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Qatar National Museum and the Weaponry Museum, containing centuries’ old daggers and gilt-handled swords. History buffs will enjoy travelling outside Doha to the various forts and towers dotting Qatar’s landscape. Jebel Jassassiyeh features more than 900 carvings dating back thousands of years, offering many delights for the professional or amateur archaeologist.
The Corniche may be one of the most popular locations in Doha. Stretching along Doha Bay, this grassy expanse offers a pedestrian-only area for walking, running and playing. With the Arabian Gulf as a backdrop, families can enjoy a picnic or a stroll. Additionally, many organized activities take place along the Corniche, including parades and fireworks. During holidays and festivals, Doha residents go to the Corniche to see the coloured lights and decorations, eat local foods and watch the extravagant fireworks displays.
Al Rumelia Park, located opposite the Corniche, contains ornamental pools and waterways with wooden bridges where kids can play and visit small food and souvenir stalls. There are an outdoor theatre, children’s playground and a half-pipe for skateboarders. With many benches and grassy areas to enjoy, families find much to do together in this relaxing environment.
Boats and ferry rides to surrounding islands usually dock from the Corniche and the fishing harbour is here as well. You can take a voyage on a traditional wooden boat, called a Dhow around Doha Bay.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn to sail, the Arabian Gulf is the perfect place for your family to learn maritime skills. With more than 700 km of coastline, you can spend the entire day with your family beachcombing for shells and building skyscraper sandcastles.
There are many newly opened shopping malls in Qatar ie Mall of Qatar and Doha Festival City, to name a few. Most of the large shopping complexes have entire play areas dedicated to children. These amusement centres offer a variety of games, rides, and activities, including Circus Land at the Landmark Shopping Mall, Jungle Zone at Hyatt Plaza, and Toby’s Adventureland at The Mall. Located in City Center Doha, Winter Wonderland offers ice skating, bowling alleys, and a water park, while X-Treme World offers a range of rides, games, and sports.
Most of the shopping centres have cinemas showing some of the latest blockbuster movie releases, complete with candy, soft drinks and popcorn. Throughout the year, Qatar has many festivals to entertain the entire family. Qatar Summer Wonders, in July, is filled with fun activities, shows and events.
Housemaid services in Doha
One of the advantages of living in the Middle East is the ease with which you can hire someone to help you with your household chores. The majority of ex-pat families in Doha have domestic help.
Please visit the links provided below for more information on activities offered for your children and the communities and organizations you would like to join.