Building Skyscrapers in Doha, Qatar

By Pilar Llamas, API Director for Overseas Operations

API students in Doha

It has been a week since I landed in Doha for the first time. As I navigated in a new culture feeling at times like an elephant in a pottery shop, I was reminded what stepping into a culture other than your own means.

We feel limited as our taken-for-granted cultural values and codes are not necessarily appropriate. At the same time, we experience a feeling of freedom that comes from stepping away from our own cultural determinants.

I was fortunate to share my experience, questions, observations, joy, and, at times, cultural clumsiness with seven young adults who have consciously decided to start an adventure that takes them away from their comfort zone. They will be studying at Qatar University for one term or an academic year. They have the unique opportunity to witness and experience a society that is in the process of building itself.

Construction in Doha is today an inherent part of the city as it shapes not only buildings but also a society consisting of a myriad of diverse nationalities and cultures. People from very different backgrounds are contributing to the growth and wealth of Qatar today. They are forging the change and are changed by it.

As our wonderful on-site staff unveiled aspects of the culture to us, I was reminded that accessing the precious jewel of communication with people from cultures other than ours is life transforming.

Stepping out of our comfort zone is challenging, hard, fascinating and one of the richest learning experiences one can have. Jen, Christine, Erin, Thalia, Brandon, JT and Nicholas will, as the Doha skyscrapers, raise up to as far as they can see themselves reaching.

Pilar has been with API for over a decade, first as an on-site director in Granada, Spain, and then as managing director of overseas operations and logistics. She lives in Madrid, Spain.

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Comments

  1. It is a nice article.

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Apr 29, 2021 @ 18:30
👋 Hi everyone! I'm Eryn Fleener a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, studying Early Childhood Education. I studied abroad with API Summer 2019 in Florence, Italy! I will be taking over API Instagram tomorrow, make sure you follow along!
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