A Lesson In Patience

Madi Alexander is a a student at Oklahoma City University and an official API Student Blogger. Madi is studying abroad with API this spring in Doha, Qatar.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting Qatar’s Medical Commission as a part of the process to obtain my residence visa for the semester.  The process sounds like it would be quick – a blood test and a chest x-ray. However, the academic year students told us to prepare for hours of waiting and dealing with government bureaucracy. Moreover, they had to go by themselves last semester, whereas our group had the nurse from housing to help us since most of the Medical Commission staff doesn’t speak English.

Compared to what I heard about last semester, our visit to the Medical Commission was fairly easy. There was a decent amount of waiting, but the nurse did a great job of negotiating with the staff to get us in ahead of long lines because we were “missing very important lectures.”

After a few bumps that slowed down the process, everyone was done by about one in the afternoon – except me.

In the midst of changing for the x-ray, another woman mistakenly picked up my paper that had been stamped by the Medical Commission saying that I had been registered properly and that my blood had been drawn. I searched all over for that darned piece of paper and the lady who took it, but no luck. The registration supervisor wasn’t able to print me another paper, so they told me I’d have to come back another day. Joy.

In the words of a fellow API Doha student, this whole debacle with the Medical Commission is probably a representation of what my semester in Doha will be – a lesson in patience.

Qatar moves at a slower pace than the United States. For once in my life, I don’t have constant commitments to studying, working, participating in organization, etc. Living in Doha is teaching me to slow life down and to not worry about every little bump in the road, like the issue with the health commission. I love that Doha is so relaxed and it definitely contrasts to my life in the United States. Yes, it is a bit frustrating at times, but I am learning to worry less and relax more.

Patience is something that we seem to forget in America. Instant gratification is a thing of the past (at least for the next semester). Studying abroad in Doha is not only about academics; it is about learning to live a new, easygoing life.

Speaking of relaxing more, there’s nothing quite like a camel ride on the beach or walking along the Arabian Gulf.


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  1. […] Read my post about immigrating to Qatar and learning to be very patient in this country. […]

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