Over the next several months, I intend to share my process in manifesting an international job change in what is now four and a half months. I am calling this series "Countdown to Qatar."
Information About Qatar
Let me first start with some information about Qatar.
According to one guide for expats, the King and his administration seek to make Qatar "the Middle Eastern flagship for social development and intellectualism." "[I]t has worked hard to create a 'knowledge economy,' and to promote ventures like the Museum of Islamic Art and a massive Education City."
The country extends into the Arabian Gulf off the Arabian Peninsula. It shares a border with Saudi Arabia.
Qatar is one of the smallest countries in the world ranking 164 out of 234 countries, by area. But, it has the highest per capita income in the world at about $101,000 per person.
This wealth is largely generated by a well-developed petroleum industry that contributes about 70 percent of government revenues, 85 percent of export earnings, and 60 percent of GDP.
That industry mostly focuses on natural gas production. The third largest natural gas reserve in the world lays under Qatar and extends offshore under the Persian Gulf in Qatar's waters. Experts estimate that the reserve should produce natural gas for another 157 years.
It exports the gas as liquefied natural gas, in specially designed ships. Recent reports suggest that, in 2006, it became the leader in these exports, having surpassed the volume exported by Indonesia.
As a former energy lawyer, I find this geology fascinating.
As an employee of the state university, I am pleased to see that the government has significant resources to devote to education. More about that in a later post.
The country comprises 2 million people, most of whom live in the capital of Doha. Only 278,000 people are native Qataris. The vast majority of residents are expatriates from all over the world. Many people from poorer countries come to work in low paying construction and other labor-related jobs.
Expatriates from former British colonies often hold positions in education, banking, finance, and commerce, although the Qatar government is quickly trying to fill all these better jobs with educated Qataris.