Blogs of international school teachers: “Teach. Travel. Taste.” at Qatar Academy in Doha
Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?
A few entries that we would like to highlight:
“How it happened: Not long ago, we attended the Search Associates International Teaching Fair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We holed ourselves up in our hotel for four days to avoid the snow and ice storm headed for Boston, met dozens of directors and recruiters from international schools around the world, made great friends with other teachers (some who are in a nearby city in PR!), had multiple interviews with dream schools, and landed an incredible offer with Qatar Academy in Doha, Qatar!
Life really does surprise you: I’m not going to lie, when we first started our job search last fall, Qatar was not even on our radar. We barely knew anything about it! I admit I was also a little nervous about accepting an offer in a country I knew next to nothing about (Joey was sold when he heard they would supplement a leased car – a nice one). But remember how life plops opportunities into our laps? This is what happened here. The director happened to be a University of Minnesota alum (like Joey), they hit it off the night before recruitment started, we scored an interview, clicked with the director and principals, and voila!”
It has typically happened to all veteran international school teachers. There are definitely places that we tell ourselves which are definitely not places in which we will live. But low and behold, we find ourselves living in those places and having a great time. It just goes to show that you really don’t know about places you don’t know about. Well maybe you have even visited these places, but you truly don’t know what it would be like to actually live there. Also, there are many other factors to consider than just living in the city. If your job is very fulfilling or your work colleagues are very welcoming and friendly, you could most likely have a great time living anywhere in the world. There is so much to learn and appreciate about a people and their culture. Many people don’t know very much at all about China and their culture, but I am most appreciative of my time living there…and I never thought I would ever go to actually live there.
“Typical questions we hear when we tell others we live in Qatar:
• “Oh cool! So… where is that again?” (Code for: I have never even heard of that country.)
• “That’s in Dubai, right?”
• “Aren’t you scared???”
Just because we’re nice (not to mention teachers), we’ll give you the answers:
• Qatar is the tiny peninsula bordering Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. Joey and I like to call it the “thumbs up.”
• No. Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates. Qatar is not.
• Qatar is one of the safest places to live in the world. (Separate post on that coming later…)
Oh, and if you’re still wondering how to pronounce “Qatar,” guess what… So are we! Everyone here says it differently. I personally enjoy the British version the best. Sounds like “cat-ar.” (But you have to say it with a charming British accent, of course!) Check out this 60 Minutes Overtime called “Qatar? Easy for you to say…”
I always say that the majority of the world doesn’t live like international school teachers. Most of my family either live in the same city that they were born in or in the city right next to that city. A high percentage of the world basically live where they grew up. I think that is a fact. Because of that fact, and because most people don’t travel very much (e.g. my own family), people tend to have a lot of questions and misconceptions about life abroad. Actually, many times my family and friends from home don’t have many questions about the expat life for some reason. However, when they do, it is definitely similar to the ones that the teachers at Teach. Travel. Taste get. Usually there is at least one question about “Safety.” The next one is definitely related to where is that place in the world. The last one can be any number of other questions related to some possible misinformation (or limited information) that person has learned. Hopefully, those friends and family will take a risk and buy a ticket to visit their expat family member and check out the city and country for themselves for a firsthand learning experience.
We officially moved to Doha, Qatar on Aug. 19. It is now Nov. 24 (Happy Thanksgiving!)
“In that amount of time Joey and I have published a grand total of SIX blog posts. For those of you that read our blog last year, you might remember how we were writing blog posts on nearly a DAILY basis! Wow, how times have changed.
While we know we need to write more, the reasons we’ve been too busy to blog can also be described as our token “What I am Thankful for” Thanksgiving list. They are one and the same. Here goes:
• Our job is rigorous, exhilarating, exhausting, time consuming, demanding, and ridiculously rewarding. Our school does a fantastic job of ensuring our students are getting an excellent education and we are the facilitators in their learning experience. There is also tons of Professional Development available for teachers. So much that (dare I say it) we are almost PD’d out!
• Our friends here in Doha.It’s hard to believe we just met these people a few months ago. Expat communities are known for being open and inviting because when you think about it, we are each other’s family for now. No matter how close you remain to your parents or siblings back home, at the end of the day, it’s your neighbor or colleague who will be there to help you out when the transition is tough.
• Too many activities! Last week I supervised the Press Team at our International THIMUN Conference. On Sunday I went to yoga while Joey went to soccer (oops, I mean football!). Yesterday I went to yoga, then immediately on to Zumba. My Arabic class recently ended, and I’ve already had to turn down the opportunity to join the local wind band because I simply don’t have the time. Last week I saw a sign for Italian language lessons and had to give in to my voice of reason that I will have to wait until next term. The opportunities to get involved are everywhere!
• Travel dreams come true here. A couple weeks ago we traveled to Sri Lanka to hang out with elephants, climb a sacred mountain, and relax on the beach. For Christmas we are going to Thailand. February and April travel plans are in the making. What more could a couple of travel addicts want??
• Skype, Facebook, and Gmail. If I have a free hour at night and I have to choose between writing a blog post or chatting with my BFF’s or family, you bet I’m going to ditch the blog post. Joey is even better at skyping his fam than me. It’s fairly normal for me to hear him shouting, “YOU’RE a monkey!” at the computer, then hear the adorable reply screech of our niece, “No, YOU’RE a monkey!” (Monkey = term of endearment in the Kaufhold house.)”
I love the one about having your “travel dreams come true.” Coming from the heart of an international school teacher. Traveling to me is a dream as well. Luckily, the lifestyle of an international educator affords us the opportunity to make this dream become a reality. Where are you traveling to this year??!
Check out the Qatar Academy profile page on International School Community. Currently, there are 20 international schools listed in Doha area on our website, with 11 of them being schools that have had information and comments submitted on them. Check out the submitted comments about these schools here.