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Living in Qatar

UCL Qatar students at Zekreet

Doha is an ever-evolving and diverse city home to people from all over the world. Whilst the many glistening towers that form the city's skyline indicate a city looking to the future, Qatari's retain a strong sense of identity to their traditions and heritage.

Museum of Islamic Art

Life as a student at UCL Qatar means taking advantage of the numerous cultural attractions, international events and festivals that the city plays host to. The rapidly developing museums infrastructure is capped by the magnificent Museum of Islamic Art. Doha's most iconic landmark houses a collection of Islamic objects and artefacts from North Africa to Central Asia, spanning 1400 years. Regular local and international exhibitions run at the Museum of Islamic Art in parallel to the permanent collection.

Souq Waqif

Doha's favourable weather between September and May means that outdoor activities are popular, with parks and beaches within easy reach. Doha Corniche, an extensive promenade along Doha Bay, is where residents spend their afternoons and evenings walking and exercising. At the heart of Doha is Souq Waqif, where the many restaurants and cafes provide a relaxing setting in which to socialise and watch the world go by.  

Al Zubara


Outside of the city limits, plentiful adventure activities are available including dune bashing in the desert to the south of Doha. Most residents will be sure to visit Al-Zubarah, an abandoned town and archaeological fort in the north of the country. Camel racing and falcon watching are among the other unique activities available. 

Doha is a suitable city in which to pursue postgraduate studies. It is safe, modern and relaxing, with all essential amenities catered for.

Quick Facts and Cultural Customs

Doha Topographic Map
  • The population is 2.5 million, of which more than half reside in the capital, Doha.
  • The official language is Arabic. English is widely spoken.
  • Qatar is one of six member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
  • The currency in Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (QAR). £1 = QAR 4.7

    Qatar Desert
  • Qatar has a desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. Humidity levels are high between May and September. Occasional rain fall takes place between November and April.
  • Qatar's economy today is focused on natural gas and petroleum, along with education, health, sport and increasingly, tourism.
  • Qatar boasts being one the safest places in the world and is very tolerant towards visitors and tourists.
  • The working week in Qatar is Sunday to Thursday. Friday is the holy day for Muslims.
  • Qatar is an Islamic country. Visitors and expatriates are expected to be respectful of the traditions of the state.
  • Dress should be conservative, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. Female visitors and expatriate residents should avoid skirts above the knee or exposing the shoulders, cleavage and stomach. Tight or revealing clothing should be avoided. Women are not required to cover their hair.
  • Public displays of affection between men and women are discouraged and behaviour that is considered immoral can result in prosecution.

    Gallery
  • The national population always wear traditional dress in public. For men this is the Thobe - a white full length attire worn with a white or red headdress called a Gutra. The Gutra is secured with a black rope called an Agal. Women wear a black Abaya which is a loose, long black robe and a headscarf called a Hijab.
  • It is highly recommended that you exercise discretion when photographing nearby local residents and always ask for permission before doing so.
  • Alcohol consumption is tightly regulated in Qatar. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence that could lead to prosecution.
  • Alcohol is served only in limited places. You should never be drunk openly in public. There is a zero tolerance approach for illegal drugs.
  • You should always exercise caution on the roads, whether you are the driver, a passenger or a pedestrian. Road accidents are not unusual. Always wear a seatbelt and always check that the road is clear before crossing.
  • For information related to Qatar customs, please view the Qatar e-government website Hukoomi at www.gov.qa