A hard worker in the Middle East.

Ramón Ramirez has been working in Qatar for three years and a half, in the company Qatar Airways as a pilot, he mostly rides on middle or high distance routes, traveling mainly to Europe and Asia, Ramón lives in Doha (Qatar) and has a wife and two children.

So, we first started asking him about how his life is, and if passing from living in Spain to a place with such a different culture was difficult or not, he argued that for him the change wasn’t so much of a big deal, since he had leaved the 3 previous years in Nigeria, he also stated, that passing from Lagos to Qatar has been of great advantage for him, and he has won in every sense. He says: “The difference between Nigeria, one of the worst African countries and Qatar is very significant , I left winning in every way, in Nigeria , there were conditions like malalaria , etc .. that after all , can complicate your life . In Nigeria , I was alone, without family and sons , so the fact of going to Qatar and to take my family with me has been pretty good on a personal level.

But it hasn’t been a path of roses, and several of his colleagues have left, since they couldn’t handle some of the country’s aspects, that can make life completely different from an european point of view.  Regarding the labour conditions that they have in a middle eastern country in comparison with Europe, he states that they are very different, having no syndicates, no workers associations, and there is a lack of places you can ask help for if you’re in this kind of trouble.

So, passing to the aspect of how is it for an european to create a family in a country with such different conditions, such as culture, religion, etc…, he says that it is not easy at all, he needed a great period of adaptation, and

it has been hard sometimes. He is grateful that his kids are able to live in other countries, and get an international perspective of what live is, getting to relate with people from other cultures, and learn the values of respect in a completely globalized world. The hardest aspect for him in the terms of cultural differences, is the one related to the role of the women, he explains: “The ones that definitely pass it worst when adapting themselves to this countries are women,  it’s not nice to come back from a long trip, and having your wife telling you that in your absence se has felt intimidated by wearing a dress that was “too short”, this happens sometimes.”

The last question of this first part, which is mainly focused on a personal level,  is the one of asking him, where does he see himself in 10 years time. He responded that almost 100% in Doha, since he doesn’t see no company in Spain which can offer him similar conditions regarding his salary, his family accommodations, etc. He looks quite happy with his life in the Middle  East, but he also points out the difficulty of  being already 6 and a half years out of his native Madrid (Spain), not seeing some of his family members.

And,  passing to an economic aspect of his country, we asked Ramón about some topics that are of common interest worldwide, regarding the region where he lives, the Middle East.

First of all, we talked about the image that europeans have about Qatar, to what he answered that its absolutely wrong, claiming that every time he returns to Spain on a holiday, he gets asked about either terrorism , or how much money is he earning, since here, according to him, we have the impression that everyone that goes to Qatar is becoming a millionaire. But life is not that easy, even if the salaries are much higher than in Spanish companies, the life in Doha is very expensive, a single-bedroom flat in the center of Doha can cost up to 2.500 Euros per month.

Finally, the question was if the enormous presence of the energies, such as oil and natural gas have a great impact in the country’s economy, to which he responded, absolutely yes, and he set a very good example: “A liter of fuel here costs 0.26$, while in Spain its 1.48$, so filling up my car here costs me about 18 Euros, while in Madrid it will cost me 104 Euros approximately.” So, obviously, there is a great impact regarding energies in our daily life here.

In the end,, by talking to a person like Ramón, we were able to acquire a much bigger perspective of what the day to day life in this countries consists of, and how the life of an expatriate is in the Middle East.

Jaime Furci Estrella.


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