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Orienting newcomers to Qatari culture.

Embrace Doha Qatar is first of its kind platform to provide orientation on Qatari culture in the country.

By Umer Nangiana

New place often means new people, new culture and a different language. In this new setting, it becomes difficult to truly get rid of your 'alien' character unless you mix up with the host society.

The language barrier and the lack of awareness with the local traditions and customs would complicate any effort at learning the same through random interactions or mingling with the locals.

This stands particularly true for the expatriates arriving in Qatar from outside the region. They find it difficult to engage with the local Qatari community in an expressive relationship.

However, there are avenues available that help such expatriates to get better acquainted with the Qatari culture and learn about their lifestyles and customs directly from them.

If you are a female, Qatar Expat Women (QEW) is a community group run by volunteers who are willing to share their experiences and are ready to lend a helping hand to you.

They are often supported by groups like Embrace Doha, a company specialised in providing incoming expatriate community with engaging and highly informative Qatari cultural orientation, the first of its kind in Qatar.

They are once again joining hands to give the QEW members an orientation on Qatari life and culture.

"A team of Embrace Doha will give a talk to QEW members about the Qatari culture and lifestyle and will answer any questions that they might have," Ashok Chaudhary, Communications Coordinator Embrace Doha tells Community.

The event will take place on August 15 at 9.30am at Warwick Doha Hotel. QEW regularly invites newcomers for friendship, cafe chats, volunteering and cultural events. Each gathering brings a new mix of diverse women, who come together for companionship and mutual support.

QEW is an informal group and they welcome women to be involved as little or as much as they would like. "If you have ideas for outings and would like to suggest them or help to organise a gathering, that is very welcome. We are interested in partnering with other community groups and businesses to promote Qatar and build positive cross-cultural relationships," states QEW in its web introduction.

There is no registration fee for QEW, though attendees cover the cost for their food and drink, and sometime there is a fee to cover the cost of entertainment.

Every year, more and more expatriates arrive in Qatar for work or study, and become an integral part of the society. Many of them are living in an Arab and Muslim society for the first time and would like to know more about the culture in which they are living.

The Embrace Doha sessions help these expatriates to form better, more meaningful relationships with their Qatari colleagues by promoting honest and stimulating discussion while breaking down stereotypes and encouraging mutual understanding and respect.

They aim to provide residents, newcomers, and visitors with sufficient cultural awareness to understand and effectively interact with Qatari society.

Their objective is to introduce their clients to the values, principles, customs and traditions of Qatar and the Gulf region.

The organisation aims to create healthy cross-cultural dialogue between Qataris and non-Qataris based on mutual respect and understanding besides reducing misunderstandings, faux pas, and embarrassment when interacting with Qataris.

It further aims to encourage tourism in Qatar by familiarising clients with the country's landmarks, history, and future ambitions and the initiative is also aimed at supporting the realisation of the Qatar National Vision 2030.

During the sessions, people are invited to sit in a majlis and have a presentation of general aspects of life in Qatar, punctuated by small interactive exercises such as wearing the traditional Qatari outfit, tasting different types of drinks popular in Qatari society and learning how to do the nose salute, etcetera.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Jul 12, 2016
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