- What should we do about travel insurance?
Your delegation needs to purchase travel insurance for your trip to Doha. This can not be purchased by us in Doha because it must be purchased in the country where the trip originates. Please arrange travel insurance for the entire group before you depart.
- What will happen when we arrive at the airport?
When you land at new the Doha airport, please follow the signs for “Doha Immigration/Arrivals,” not transit. Don't be alarmed if there is a long line - it usually moves pretty quickly. Please have a printed copy of your Qatari visa ready to show to the immigration officer. This is all you need to do! (If you are a citizen of the GCC, you do not need a visa and can pass through in the quick line for GCC citizens only).
After immigration, you will collect your bags and pass through an x-ray scan and then you will exit the doors into the arrivals hall. You will be great by your shuttle bus driver, who will be holding a sign for Georgetown University. Please follow the driver to the shuttle bus which will bring you to the Marriott Marquis, the official hotel for the Georgetown MUN.
- How will we get from the airport to the hotel?
You will ride shuttle buses to our conference hotel, the Marriott Marquis City Center. There will be a welcome team of Georgetown University students and staff at the hotel as well.
(If you arriving early please make sure you have contacted our MUN staff regarding your hotel stay.)
When you enter the hotel, we'll ask your chaperone to collect all of your passports because the hotel needs a copy of each guest's passport. The hotel staff will coordinate with your chaperone to check your group in. Please note that if you are arriving on a morning flight, your hotel rooms may not be ready until noon. The hotel staff will do their best to get you into your rooms as soon as possible.
While your chaperone is checking the group in, the students are welcome to come over to the Georgetown MUN Information area - we will also give each of you a welcome packet with conference information, schedule, and emergency contact numbers.
- How can someone get in touch with me in Qatar?
If you have a laptop, it is a good idea to bring it to the conference. Internet at the hotel and the conference site is free of charge. If you have a mobile phone, you can enact roaming service that will allow the phone to work in Qatar. Please check with your mobile service provider if this is possible for your phone.
Our staff is more than happy to test your chaperone's phone to see if it is working in Qatar. We are no longer providing longer mobile phones to international schools, but the hotel and conference center have wifi that should be compatible with all international phones.
Additionally, your family can contact Marriott Marquis at +974 4419 5000 and contact your room or leave a message for you. Keep in mind that if you use the hotel phone to call abroad, it will be very expensive, and your delegation will be responsible for these charges.
- What is the currency in Qatar?
The currency in Qatar is the Qatari Riyal. The Riyal is set at a fixed rate to the U.S. Dollar - the exchange rate is 3.65 QR per US Dollar. There is an ATM at the airport in the baggage claim area, after immigration. There is an ATM at the Marriott Marquis, and the front desk can also exchange money. Here are some typical prices in Qatar: Water 5 QR, Big Mac Meal 20 QR, Movie ticket 40 QR.
- What is the time zone in Qatar?
Qatar is on GMT + 3 time. This is the same time zone as Saudi Arabia. Qatar is 2 hours ahead of London, 1 hour ahead of Paris and Cairo, and 8 hours ahead of Washington D.C. (during daylight savings time in the US). Qatar is 1 hour behind Dubai, and 7 hours behind Beijing.
- What is the weather going to be like during the conference?
Weather in Doha in February can be unpredictable. It is often cool and windy, especially at night. It occasionally rains in February as well. Please note that Cultural Night is an outdoor evening event. Average temperatures range from 7 to 25 degrees Celsius, or 45 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring layers!
- What will we do until the conference starts?
Most schools will arrive at some point during the day on Thursday, in time for the Opening Ceremony at 5 pm. If you arrive on Thursday, your time is your own until 3 pm, when shuttles from the hotel will depart to the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC). We encourage you to rest because it's going to be a busy weekend. If you arrive on Wednesday night or very early in the morning on Thursday, then feel free to explore the city - our favorites include the Museum of Islamic Art and the Souq!
- What time does the conference end each night?
The conference schedule is a little different each day. On Thursday night, your committee will wrap up by 9:00 pm. On Friday, committee sessions will end at 4:00 pm, so you have time to explore Doha that evening, if you’d like. On Saturday, committee ends at 4:00 pm. You are then invited to participate in Cultural Night at 8:00 pm. On Sunday, the conference will conclude by 1:30 pm.
- Will we visit the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar campus?
Yes! Cultural Night occurs at Georgetown’s campus in Education City. Shuttles leave Saturday evening at 7:30pm for the event, which starts at 8:00pm.
- Can we purchase any Georgetown University items?
Yes. There will be a small booth set up at Cultural Night on Saturday, where you can purchase various Georgetown items. There will be a range of items from keychains and pens to t-shirts and sweatshirts.
- When will we have free time?
While the conference schedule is busy, you will have chances for free time. Thursday before 3 pm and after 9 pm is free. Friday after 4 pm is free and Saturday between 4 pm and 7:30 pm is free. Depending on when your flight leaves, you may also have free time on Sunday after 2 pm. Some schools must spend the night an extra night due to flight schedules - which means you are on your own to explore the city!
- How can we use the internet at the hotel?
Internet access will be provided at the hotel you’re going to be staying in. The lobby has internet access and wireless internet will be provided in the hotel rooms- for free!
- How will we be able to print and copy during the conference?
As our conference is trying to be as eco-friendly as possible, printing and copying services are no longer offered. All resolutions, etc. are displayed electronically via projector in all committee rooms. Participants that would like to print can print at home or at the hotel, but they will have to cover all printing costs.
- How much do taxis cost?
The main taxi company in Doha is Karwa and the taxis operate on a meter system. The minimum charge is 18 QR, and you rarely pay over 50 QR to go anywhere in Doha. Another company is Fox. These taxis are more expensive, usually 35 QR minimum, up to 75 QR. Your welcome packet will have the taxi cab numbers in it. The hotel can also call you a cab - make sure you specify what kind of cab you would like, otherwise you may end up in a fancy hotel sedan.
- What should we wear during the conference?
During the conference, all delegates are expected to wear business attire. You may also wear the formal dress of your home country or the country that you are representing in the conference. This means suit and tie for men; and formal pants/skirt and top for women. Jackets are optional. It is a good idea to dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees.
- What should we wear in our free time?
You are more than welcome to wear casual clothes on all the excursions. Not many people in Doha wear shorts, but they are an option. Try to keep them past your knees and remember it might be cool outside. If you are wearing short sleeves, it's a good idea to use a shawl or scarf. There are many people living in Doha from all around the world, so you will see all styles of dress. However, it's a good idea to dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees.
- How will we get back to the airport?
Your chaperone will coordinate with conference staff to catch a shuttle back to the airport. Your group must arrive at the airport 2 hours ahead of the flight, so you may need to leave 2.5 hours ahead of your flight. Even though the airport is close, traffic can be very heavy. If you are leaving Sunday night, you will have to check out of the hotel Sunday morning and store your luggage in the hotel storage room until time to leave. If you decide to go out into the city, you will have to return to the hotel in plenty of time to collect your belongings and catch the shuttle. Please remember you may be sharing the shuttle with other schools, so it's important not to be late.
(Please note that if your school is staying late by choice, then you are responsible for your own hotel stay and your own transportation to the airport. There are many taxis in Doha and the hotel can also assist you.)
- What else can we do in Doha?
Qatar is a small country, but there are many things to do, including:
- Museum of Islamic Art
- Qatar National Museum
- Souq Waqif (a traditional outdoor market with stalls selling a wide range of fabrics, spices, souvenirs, with many indoor and outdoor cafes, an art gallery, falcon stores, and live music on the weekends)
- City Center (a large mall with two food courts, an ice-skating rink, a bowling alley, banks, and shopping)
- Villagio (a large mall with a food court, ice rink, various dining options, and extensive shopping options)
- Landmark (a large mall with a food court, cinemas, and extensive shopping options)
- Dhow Cruise (A traditional boat trip along the Corniche (the main sea area of Doha). These do not need reservation, can be hailed at various locations along the Corniche (next to the Sheraton hotel for instance), and vary in length (usually last from 20 minutes to an hour)
- City Tours – experienced guides provide commentary while touring around the camel market, the Weaponry Museum, Doha’s Corniche, the dhow building yard, the falconry market and the souqs.
- Desert Safari Tours
To arrange a tour, visit one of the websites below:
- Where can we eat in Doha?
Doha has many great dining options, so feel free to explore the city if you have free time. You'll find fast food, regional and cultural cuisine, and fine dining in the top-end hotels.
Connected to the Marriott Marquis is City Centre Mall, which has a wide variety of shopping and dining options, including Pizza Express, Nando’s, Noodle House, and many other.
Katara Cultural Village, a 10-15 minute drive from the hotel, has a variety of nicer restaurants including Khan Farouk (Egyptian), Mamig (Armenian), and Vesuvio (Italian), as well as stalls where you can eat chapatti and drink karak, a local favorite snack and drink.
For a more cultural experience, there are many good restaurants and coffee shops in Souq Waqif, located 10-15 minutes via car. Some good options at the Souq include Tajine (Moroccan), Le Gourmet (International), Al Bandar (Seafood/Arab), Al-Adhamiyya (Iraqi), Isfahan Gardens (Persian), and more. A local favorite are the many shwarma restaurants found all over town.
Doha has very good Indian food, with some favorites including the fancier Chingari (located in the Ramada hotel), the Garden (vegetarian downstairs, buffet upstairs), Bukhara (at the Khalifa Tennis Compound), and Asha's (Contemporary Indian, located at Villagio Mall). Another favorite experience is the busy Merqab (also known as Al Nasr) Street - filled with small bookstores, rug shops, tailors, pet shops, and several excellent, cheap restaurants. These include Turkey Central, a Turkish restaurant serving excellent mezze (Arabic style appetizers), sandwiches, and grilled meats.
- Are there any cultural differences that we need to be aware of?
While Qataris are usually very friendly and welcoming, it would be best to avoid any possible awkward situations by taking heed of the following:
- Use greetings and formalities. It is considered impolite to start a conversation without at least saying “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon.”
- Dress modestly.
- You can bargain with local shopkeepers at locations such as Souq Waqif.
- Watch out for separate section for women in banks and other utilities.
- Do not look or stare at people closely.
- Avoid asking a veiled lady for information or directions if you are a man. Some covered ladies tend to be very private in public.
- Do not be offended if your handshake is refused by a Muslim. According to some Muslims, it is a religious prohibition to shake hands with members of the opposite gender.
- Do not be annoyed if your contact is late, especially in informal meetings. Time is a little more elastic in Qatar.
- Do not take photographs without asking permission first. Some women and older people tend to strongly object to being photographed.
- Qatar is very safe, so if permissible, feel free to explore the country at night.
- Drinking is illegal in unless you are over 21. Nonetheless, there is zero tolerance for any drunk or rowdy behavior.
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