Standard time in Doha, Qatar is 3 hours ahead of UCT (Universal Coordinated Time, formerly known as GMT) and 8 hours ahead of EST (Eastern Standard Time). During Daylight Savings Time in the U.S., Qatar is 7 hours ahead of EST.
Qatar has a desert climate, with hot summers and generally mild winters. Winter temperatures vary but rarely drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 7 degrees Celsius). However, it can feel quite cold because most buildings are not centrally heated. The summer months are very humid and hot, with temperatures sometimes exceeding 110 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 45 degrees Celsius). Rainfall is scarce and occurs mainly between October and March.
According to the Ministry of Development, Planning, and Statistics, there were 2.7 million residents in Qatar in August 2020. Almost a million people live in the capital city of Doha.
The official language of Qatar is Arabic. However, English is widely spoken and practically all businesses are capable of accommodating transactions and services using English. Classes at Education City universities are taught in English.
Religion and Ramadan
The official religion of Qatar is Islam. A monotheistic religion, Islam’s holy book is the Qur’an, and Friday is the holy day. This means that working week in GU-Q starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday. Mosques may be found throughout the city of Doha. Christian churches are located in the area called Religious Complex near Abu Hamour.
Ramadan is Islam’s holiest month and is based on the lunar calendar, so the actual dates of Ramadan change annually, typically 8 to 10 days earlier than the previous year. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours, and will work a shortened schedule to accommodate evening “break” fasts (“iftar” in Arabic). During Ramadan it is illegal to eat, drink, or smoke in public during daylight hours. Most restaurants will be closed during the day but open at sunset (large hotel restaurants usually remain open). Alcohol sales are prohibited during Ramadan.Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and Eid Al-Adha marks the conclusion of the pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca.
Services of domestic helpers (such as nannies or cleaners) can be obtained through local agencies who hire and sponsor their personnel. However, many expatriates decide to employ domestic staff directly by become their visa sponsors. You have a choice of hiring from abroad or locally and GU-Q’s Immigration and Government Relations Manager can provide more information about the formalities involved in each of these instances.