Today I celebrate my two week anniversary with Doha and what better way to mark the occasion than to write a blog post on my first 2 weeks here! I really should be studying but procrastination has taken over.
I honestly had no idea what to expect when I departed Melbourne for Doha. The airline weren’t exactly forthcoming with information. After I landed and queued in the immigration line, I was pleased to see other young girls dressed in business attire… I knew these were my people and I was not alone! A representative from Qatar Airways met us at the baggage collection area and escorted us to the bus that would take us to our designated accommodation in Doha. I was the only Australian but my flight landed around the same time as a flight from Singapore, China, Romania, India and a few other countries so there were about 20 of us on the bus. They first dropped us off at headquarters so we could receive our welcome bonus (no, I’m not rolling in dough just yet :P) before dropping us at our new home.
The housing officer greeted us on arrival and briefed us on the housing rules. For those that aren’t aware, the airline provides cabin crew with rent-free full furnished apartments in Doha, however they don’t just allow you to come and go as you please! We have a security ID pass that we need to use to scan in and out of the building every time we leave and enter. For the first 2 months while we undergo our initial training, we have a curfew of 11pm. However, this curfew only applies when we don’t have training the following day. As we have training 6 days a week from Saturday until Thursday, this curfew only applies on Thursday nights. For the rest of the week (when we have training the following day) we need to be back inside the accommodation 12 hours before class starts the next morning. At the moment my training commences at 7.30am, therefore my curfew is 7.30pm everyday except Thursday. The 12-hour rule continues even when we start flying – you need to be back at your accommodation 12 hours before reporting for duty. However, once we finish the 2 months training our curfew for days off will extend to 4am instead of 11pm. And for those wondering what happens if you break your curfew… it’s bye-bye Qatar!
I have to thank the almighty gods, the universe and the lucky star that I was born under because not only was I allocated the master bedroom in my apartment (I got an en-suite and a large room woot woot) but I was also allocated the best housemate. My housemate is from Romania, she loves to clean and cook like me (both slightly OCD with cleaning) and we both seem to be nice happy people who like to coexist in a nice and happy environment (which is of course clean!) She also is a re-joiner and worked for the airline for several years so she has taken me under her wing, introduced me to her friends and she answers all my questions! I am also fortunate that my accommodation is brand new and we are the first occupiers. The downside to this, is that we are located in a developing area so outside is literally a construction zone. The furthest I have walked is to the nearest grocery store that requires you to walk along the side of the highway in order to get there. There is currently no walk way for pedestrians so I just have to hope that I don’t get run over on one of my grocery runs. We also have 2 gyms located in the building (yay) and soon we will have 2 indoor swimming pools as well (yay x2). One of my new South African friends does water aerobics and is going to teach me once we have access to the pools!
As I mentioned earlier I have training 6 days a week from Saturday (Saturday went from my favourite day of the week to my least favourite day of the week!) until Thursday and Friday is our only day off. The bus picks us up from our apartment at 6.30am every morning and takes us to the QA Towers for training. We commence class each day at 7.30am and finish up at 2.30pm. We aren’t allowed to use our phones from the time we are picked up from the accomodation until we are home from training (not even on lunch breaks). I am having constant withdrawals everyday after training! In regards to the actual content of the training, for me personally, I haven’t found it to be particularly hard (mind you I am only in week 2), however they provide A LOT of information in a short period of time so it’s crucial to pay attention everyday in class and go home and revise what you learnt that day. At the moment I am undergoing the SEP training that consists of 5 intense weeks of aircraft safety and security, terminology, procedures and drills, safety equipment, and first aid for the majority of aircraft types. I’ve already had 2 exams this week, which I got 100% on both! #StarOfQatar
My life pretty much consists of school, study, sleep, repeat… And clean/cook when I have any spare time. Therefore, I haven’t had much time to explore Doha or have proper fun, so I am going to save my thoughts on living in Doha for another blog post, after I have lived here for a while and properly experienced all that this city has to offer. But, I will tell you my top 5 things that I am missing from home…
Things I am missing from Australia (other than people)
1. Fresh Produce – Literally everything here is imported and tastes like it! It’s ok though, for those that know about my weird eating habits, I’m still eating my pumpkin smoothies every morning, my Zoats (zucchini oats) and of course… soup, soup, SOUP!! However, once we start flying we are allowed to bring whatever we like back into the country. I met a flight attendant the other day who brought her eggs in Norway. This makes me happy. I too will soon become an international grocery shopper.
2. My car – It’s annoying having to either taxi/walk/bus everywhere but such is life. I just have to do regular trips to the grocery store because there is only so much I can carry. Actually, come to think of it, I should invest in a nana trolley.
3. Greenery – I miss stepping outside my house and being surrounded by trees and actually being able to go for a walk or run outside. In the location where I am staying, it is not possible to go for a walk/run outside … as mentioned earlier – construction zone!
4. Vacuum Cleaner – We were only given a little broom and dust pan for our flats so I am having OCD issues with the hair on the white tiles all over the apartment. I feel like I have spent a large portion of my time in Doha sweeping the floor. Once I get a proper salary (start flying), I am investing in a vacuum cleaner!<<<<
but not least…
5. Tap Water – we can’t drink the tap water here …wahhhh 😦
One thing Qatar Airways is very big on, is grooming. They literally have a grooming department that walk around the towers and inspect your physical appearance. Every day we are checked for grooming. We have to stand in a line and one by one show our instructor or the grooming officer our nails to ensure they are manicured, we then need to twirl around so they have inspect us from head to toe and front to back. On my first day I got told off because I had the tiniest chip in one of my nails. I also have been told to fix my baby hairs/apply more hairspray as they are very strict about all your hair being slicked back. If anyone has any suggestions for taming baby hair, please let me know (preferable natural solutions)! On our first week they measured us in weight and height and they will check us again in a few weeks time. You have to look immaculate at all times as you never know when the grooming officers will strike. Everyday, after lunch I have to run to the bathroom to touch up my lipstick (red lipstick is hard work). I’ve had to learn to eat without the food actually touching my lips (Kim k style). But seriously, grooming is major here. If you have a grooming issue, they take down your staff number and you may not be allowed to fly or they can even terminate you from the company if it’s severe.
In order to work as cabin crew for the airline, you also have to complete a series of medical tests. I had to do a fair bit prior to joining but on my first day at training I found out that there are still so many hurdles to jump through before you can actually fly. I had to undergo government medical tests which consists of a blood test and x-ray followed by an airline specific medical test where they conduct a hearing, vision and phycological test. If you fail the exams, you get sent home… simple as that. Thankfully, I have received the all clear regarding my medicals! They also looked at our skin to see if we had any scars, tattoos, birth marks, etc. Clumsy me has to be so careful from now on not to burn or cut myself when cooking. If your burn/scar/cut is visible, you may not be permitted to fly.
So far my favourite thing about coming here is the amount of girls I have met from all around the world! My training batch consists of 19 girls from 9 different nationalities including India, France, South Africa, Thailand, Botswana, Philippines, Morocco, Brazil and of course Australia… REPRESENT! Outside of my training batch, I have met girls from Ukraine, Romania, Russia, Moldova, Bucharest, China, Serbia, Costa Rica, Colombia, just to name a few. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to make such a wide network of friends from all around the world. I am loving to get to know so many different cultures. I have also received some really great travel tips for my layovers now that I have access to so much local knowledge (hit me up people!) Since I have arrived, I have felt like the only Australian in Doha. That was until yesterday, I was having lunch in the cafeteria when a random girl came up to me after recognising my accent and guess what, it was another Australian girl… finally, I am not alone! It turned out that this girl is not only from Australia, but she is from MELBOURNE and lives about 15 minutes from my home in Melbourne… Howboudat
I think the 2 of us will be friends soon.. I’ll let you know in my next blog post.
I have now completed 2 weeks of training and I have another 5 weeks to go until I get my “wings” and start flying (Tuesday 9 January if I pass everything). I am so excited to get our uniforms, I believe we will have fittings soon and receive them not long after that. We get to wear them to training, once we commence the service component about 2 weeks before we start flying. Our instructor also mentioned that he has seen our first rosters. For your first month of flying you are mainly allocated turn around flights which isn’t too exciting (this means you fly to a location but you don’t actually step outside the airport), but I did hear one story about a newby getting a layover in Toronto for their first roster and another Ukraine girl I spoke to told me she has an upcoming layover in Armenia, so you never know, maybe my lucky star will give me an exciting layover for my first month in the air … I’ll keep you posted😉
Now I am off to study because I really can’t procrastinate any longer. Until next time.
Me being a loser at the medical centre🤦♀️ this is how I have to dress for training everyday except for the pants (We usually have to wear a black skirt but I had to wear pants to the Medicals that day)
Batch 1427 ❤️ 9 countries
First night out in Doha at the Hilton Hotel for my flat mate’s bday🎉🎉🎉