- Internship destination:
- Doha - Qatar
Ariana did a Law-Legal Internship in Doha-Qatar!
What was your main reason for doing an internship abroad?
I have been a professional handball athlete almost all my life and as such I have been fortunate to represent my country Serbia in European and World Championships. I have lived in countries all over the world, like France, Germany, Spain, France, Norway, Hungary, wherever they would offer me a contract. Because of this I am well-traveled, but the flipside is that I don’t have a lot of work experience. In the final phase of my Masters I felt the need to gain more practical knowledge and experience in the legal work field.
So I applied at Buitenlandsestage.nl and I was happy that I was offered an opportunity to do a Legal internship in Qatar. The internship offer suited my interest: As an Intern my task would be to develop, edit, manage and coordinate all legal / not-legal documents, contracts and agreements within the company. But as their trust in my work grew I also got other marketing work, which gave me opportunity to learn new skills, not just in field of Law, which I study, but also in marketing, about which I had no knowledge before.
Now, after three months, I can say this was a good choice because I gained more knowledge about the complexity of doing business in Qatar, the huge market potential and it has put some more weight on my resume. I am now getting offers from companies in the Middle East and I am even offered a job here in Qatar, but they were apparently satisfied with the way I work. Next to that, I really had the opportunity to broaden my horizon and build new relationships.
"They offered me a job and a Qatar passport!"
Why did you want to do an internship in Qatar?
I specifically opted for Qatar, because of the big opportunities to find employment after my internship is over. I was also intrigued by the stories of great wealth and prosperity that surrounds Qatar. Beside the desire to do an internship, I also had desire to stay in Qatar after the internship was over and work for a while. Qatar is a place full of new chances, it is a safe place to work and live, the standard of living is high due to the rapid development of the economy and Qatar seeks and need skilled workers in all fields.
So all this helped me to make decision to do an internship in the richest country in the world. Most importantly, it turns out that my estimates were good, just after one month of internship I received a job offer from a contact I made via my internship company. I would recommend everybody to go for an Internship in Qatar.
How did you experience our service and the placement process?
I am extremely satisfied with all support I got from Team Buitenlandsestage. To be honest at times I didn’t think that they would be able to deliver. Because of the gap in my resume, caused by my sport career it wasn’t easy to place me, but they kept trying and motivating me to keep believing that it would turn out right and eventually it did.
In retrospect I must say they have provided high quality service and administrative support from the very first day, including clear and accurate information about the Internship Program, straightforward and timely enquire and application, responsive and readily assessable support and guidance during the whole internship. I highly recommend Team Buitenlandsestage, to all students and encourage them to apply for Internship with them.
"Just after one month I received a job offer!"
What have you learned from doing an internship in Qatar?
I have learned during my internship a lot of skills, which I could impossibly learn at home in the Serbia or during my study time. Because of my background Qatar is a big step out of my comfort zone and I really needed to work hard to find my way.
I have seen a glimpse of the tremendous opportunities to make it in Qatar and I certainly pan to stay here for a while and capitalize on it. If you are an open minded person who sees chances and you are willing to work hard, this is really a good place to make a start. With the experience you gain you can go back to your country and step in higher or you can stay like I plan to.
Furthermore, I learned much about myself and how I position myself and function in a professional team. I became more aware of my own strengths and weaknesses. My confidence has grown. Qatar business style is direct and hard. They are either satisfied and then you get more favor or they are not happy with your performance and then they are very hard and direct. I have seen several people got fired, so I feel fortunate that they are satisfied with my work and I even could land long term employment.
I also learned practical things like basic work in Word and Excel. This sounds silly perhaps but almost all my life was about my sports career. I also learned to do serious work such as: how to write contracts, simple offers and agreements, terms and conditions and I have improved my resourcefulness and skills as well.
Apart from the actual work experience I acquired during this internship, I also learned a great deal from interaction with clients and colleagues. Dealing with people from the middle east is different and if you are not sensitive to this subtle little things it can be the difference between getting or not getting the contract.
All in all I think that the experience of internship will prepare me better in the labor market and make my CV more attractive to the future employers.
"Qatar business style is direct and hard!"
Please describe the typical workplace and office culture in Qatar?
I can’t speak for all Qatar businesses, only share my experience. Still in Qatar, the principle of doing an internship is not as developed as it is in Europe, USA, Australia, etc. in my opinion. In other places an internship is more like kindergarten where you can learn and play. Here they expect you to perform.
My advice to students, is to work very hard, bosses here expect from you a lot of hard work, and nothing but that. Specially, if you have an Arabic chief, as I did. So in short, just work hard, communicate with your mentor, and you will don’t have problems.
Speaking of communicating with your mentor, you sometimes may experience that you are treated the same as a full time professional employee. When I say this I mean that once you have established trust, they will sometimes expect from you to perform tasks as an experience worker and give you the responsibility to deliver final documents, without any single guidance from a senior in the process.
"Bosses here expect hard work and nothing but that."
What did you do in your spare time?
I have traveled a lot during my sports career, but still when I came to Qatar I was a bit nervous that I would end up isolated all alone in my room. I mean I have been around, but I didn't really know that much about Qatar accept for that the country is filty rich and such. Well the good news is, that the last thing you will feel here is that you are isolated, people are very social compared to any European country and I can tell. During my sport career I was fortunate to have lived in 6 European countries. I had a lot of fun in Doha, much more then in some European cities I lived.
I like sports, so usually in my spare time I am going to watch handball, basketball or football. In fact the internship in Doha opened many doors for me. Not only did I receive job offers, they also offered me a contract to play handball professionally in Doha and join one club. They even offered me a Qatar passport with it, so I could play for their National team and bring the woman Qatar handball to a higher level. Note that this is a temporary Qatar passport, which you can use whilst you are competing for them, after you are finished you need to return the passport. I still haven’t decide if I will join since, in my head I stopped to think of handball as I wanted to focus on my career after sports, but it’s good that I have more options, and of course that I can earn money from it.
There are really a lot of places to go out in Doha, I would recommend people to see: Museum of Islamic Art, Katara (Culturall Village), Al Corniche, The Perl (lot of beautiful restaurants and also a beautiful beach), Souq Waqif Bazar where you can find some of the best fruit cocktails ever. I also recommend Souq Waqif Bazar area for the night out. Qatar is actually a man-made civilization, so keep in mind that the natural state of things would be that Qatar is more or less a desert. So with that in mind, places like Aspire Park are that more impressive with an artificial lake and a lot of green, where you can come to do some jogging or some exercise in the nature.
There are also five big shopping malls, the best one is Villaggio in my opinion. Even if you don’t like shopping, I expect you will want to spend time there, because the air-conditioning will become best friend in Qatar. You can meet most people from Europe in bars and restaurants or in the big five star hotels.
People from the company where I am working are very friendly also, so we often go to take a cafe or tea together after the job. Last, what I would like to mention, that Doha is very safe place to live.
"They even offered me a Qatar passport!"
Everybody thinks that Qatar is terribly expensive. Is is true?
Well, most expensive in Qatar is accommodation. But I didn’t have this problem, because my company offered me free accommodation. What I have heard is that most of the companies , especially the bigger ones, offer free accommodation to the employees, interns, etc.
All other items are much cheaper than in Europe, or same prices. If you have paid accommodation, you don’t need more than 400eur monthly, even 300eur is enough, to cover life expenses here such as: quality food, usage of taxy, night life, visiting places… Of course you should be careful not to go to the same places David Beckham goes, because in Qatar you have extremely rich like the sheiks and people from the west who come because they pay no tax and then you have the rest of us who are trying to make one big jump ahead.
Also what I would like to mention is that Doha is not a walkable city at all, it is too hot, especially when it starts to be very warm ( 50 degrees) during summer, so you need to find someone to drives you. Please note that in Doha the only possible transport is by car, transportation by bicycles, bus, metro does not exist. You can rent a car. To rent a cheap car you will need to pay 350eur minimum, but fuel is almost as cheap as water : ). You can take a cab, but the cheapest way is to use cheap drivers. They are not official taxi’s but they provide the same service. To find a cheap driver, my advice is to try interact with people from the Philippine’s (many of them are working in Doha) and ask to help you to get in touch with some driver. Many people here have a personal driver, it is very common here, and they are much cheaper than the taxi.
So in short, if you want to save money, do try to get free accommodation from your internship company, than you can breathe easier.☺
As-salamu alaykum - salutation on Arabic ;-)
"Don't go shopping where David Beckham does!"