Waiting for the start of World Cup Qatar 2022, the Middle Eastern country has the eyes of the world on it. Beyond the sporting aspect, there was discussion about social and religious customs that exist in the territory. Many Argentines live under these rules, including Ludmila Magnellia 22-year-old girl who He went to try his luck as a chef. In a chat with THE NATIONrecounted his story, showed his joy for the life he leads and revealed the difficulties he faced in adapting to this new culture.
Ludmila is a native of Quilmes and grew up in Argentina. Long ago, she discovered that gastronomy is his passion. Nevertheless, she was not happy with the opportunities for young people in the field. That and her desire to travel and see the world were part of an ideal combination to apply to the vacancy that she found out about thanks to a newscast.
While working from his home in Buenos Aires, heard on television that a Qatari company hired Argentines to work during the World Cup. Despite the fact that she was denied her chance at first because there were no more vacancies, the young woman was convinced that her future was in the Asian country: “I was very determined that I was not going to give up and that in 2022 I was going to be in Qatar no matter what”. After eight applications and several interviews, Ludmila advanced in the process and she was hired as a chef in a hotel in Doha, where he has been working since July this year.
During her first two months, in general terms, the adaptation to her new life away from Argentina was not as difficult because of the excitement she had from working as there because of what she is passionate about. However, the following weeks were more complicated: “I began to feel that I needed my people, on roast Sundays, the gatherings”. In this regard, the company of the people he met in the Qatari country was key, especially the many Argentines who settled there.
Beyond the emotional issue and how the adaptation period went through, Ludmila confided that it was not easy for him to adopt the routine of six days of work and one of rest, which he currently maintains. “Most of the hoteliers have this working day and it is a hoot because one ends up so tired from the whole week that a day off is not enough to tour the city, go for a walk and rest,” he said.
On the other hand, and in terms of culture, the young woman was shocked to see women wearing the Hijabwhich covers the hair, and the burqa, which literally covers the entire body. This was not only “shocking” for not having seen it in person before, but also because of the strong heat that Qatar hits during the summer. “The women here wear black and walk behind the men.while they wear white and can walk wherever they want,” he described.
Faced with this scenario, he assured that initially I was worried about the clothes when it’s time to go out:At first I was a little scared to go out with bare shoulders and legs, because they had told me that this was prohibited”. To this fear linked to the culture of this country was added a complicated one experience in a mall. “A friend was wearing a jumpsuit and at the entrance a local woman told her she was going to call the police because she was so provocative”, he recalled. Despite the fact that the situation did not escalate later and, finally, the police did not come, it was undoubtedly a moment that had an impact on him.
Beyond the first sensations, over time Ludmila managed to get used to this question: “Little by little I was seeing that one can dress comfortably and continue to respect the culture. After all, we are the outsiders”. The requirement on clothing is stronger in public places such as mosques, hospitals and embassies. “One out of respect covers oneself and you end up adapting”, he expressed.
Along the same lines, he also pointed out that in Doha he had to try to have a “lower profile” than that implied by her personality and that she tried to focus on not drawing too much attention to this fear linked to the strict rules that women must comply with in this Middle Eastern country.
Despite all the cultural differences and what she misses about Argentina, Ludmila stood out at all times living in Qatar as a positive experience. In his experience, the host country of the World Cup has a “cultural exchange” that he defined as “incredible”especially in the hotel industry: “In hotels there are employees of many different nationalities, this allows you to meet many people, many cultures, other languages and it’s beautiful.”
In his work as a chef, had the chance to create your own dish for the restaurant menu. “This is something that in Argentina would have taken me years to achieve. With effort and perseverance, here in Qatar everything is possible”, he counted. As an advantage of the Asian country as well stressed safety and the possibility of being on the street at any time without problems.
In summarizing your experience, Ludmila highlighted the possibility of saving and growing economically, although he assured that he would not like to stay for long. “Although Qatar is one of the most expensive countries, the reality is that I can save a lot and I don’t deprive myself of giving myself the tastes I want”, he described about the first item. The hotel provides transportation from work to home and vice versa and that allows you to save a good amount of money.
The panorama is different at a cultural level, where despite getting used to social norms, the young woman does not feel comfortable: “On a social level I still can’t adapt as I would like, I don’t feel at home. It’s all very different, the culture, the religion, all this is very impressive and I’m not used to living like this”.
In the balance, Argentina made it clear that would not settle in the Middle Eastern countrybut that it is also a good opportunity for growth: “I firmly believe that Qatar is not the country where someone with a young and free mind can settle downbut in turn one here is going to meet many people and this opens many doors”.
In the future, he intends to travel to see other parts of the world and to increase his experience throughout the planet. “This is the first time that I leave Argentina to work and for me this was an awakening. I still have a lot to know and Qatar is just the beginning of my adventurehe mused.
Ludmila also addressed the compatriots who are about to arrive in the Middle East to follow the participation of the Argentine team in the World Cup. For them, she focused on the issue of culture shock and stated that Argentines can accommodate without problems: “Come without fear, it is an extremely safe country”.
On the other hand, he also encouraged those who think about moving and working outside the country: “There are a huge number of job offers, than you can imagine, so If you want to try your luck, this is the time and the place. no one is alone here”. “There is nothing more beautiful than jumping into the unknown and being surprised every day. Emigrating is an opportunity to meet and get to know each other, wherever they go”, he concluded.