The Black Expat: ‘I Met My Boyfriend 15 Days After Moving Abroad’
By DeAnna Taylor
Ranata Davis is from York, South Carolina. She worked as an athletic director and vice principal for 11 years, before moving abroad. She now works as a physical health and education teacher in Doha, Qatar.
We spoke with her via email about her life in Qatar.
Travel Noire: Why did you make the move abroad initially?
Ranata: About ten years ago I thought about pursuing a career abroad, but I don’t believe I was mentally ready. God was most likely not ready for me to make that transition. I worked for an amazing charter school district, but I wasn’t chasing the principalship. I also found myself slightly bored in my position. I was at a point in my career where change needed to happen. I knew that change involved me shaking up my life and career. I also had this deep, burning desire to travel. The amount of hours and days I was required to work as an administrator didn’t allow me to travel the way I desired to during school breaks.
TN: Why did you choose Doha, Qatar?
Ranata: I received job offers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt and Qatar. The final decision for me came down to a few things. I wanted to maintain my same salary after taxes, I needed my family to know that I would be in a safe country, I wanted my choice to remind me of Arizona where I had resided since 2006, a Christian place to worship, and a reputable hair salon.
Qatar really seemed to have it together the more and more read about the country. I am very happy that I did the research on the front end of the process. The offer for Qatar was made 10 minutes after my interview. They gave me 24 hours to sign my contract. I requested 48 hours, which they honored so that I could complete another interview the next day.
TN: What has life been like abroad, thus far?Ranata: In addition to learning how to be in the classroom again, digesting the curriculum, trying to understand the culture and settling into my new home, I met my current boyfriend about 15 days after getting here. Crazy, right? We had the Eid holiday between pre-service and school starting. Because I was still waiting for clearance (they collect your passport during this time), I was stuck in the country. I decided to see what was up with Tinder. I matched with quite a few people, including him. He immediately spoke and carried on a conversation. I finally gave him my phone number, which extended to quite a few text messages. We agreed to meet in person, which went well. In all transparency, it took some time for me adjust to a man pursuing me, treating me with respect, and genuinely desiring to know me. But there came a point where I had to make a decision. Am I going to pursue this equally, if not more, or am I going to keep looking around? It just became really apparent that this was my match.TN: How are you treated as a Black woman in Qatar?
Ranata: As a Black woman in Qatar, I have not encountered any type of mistreatment. I believe there is a sense of thankfulness among the Arab community that expats are here to educate their children. The nationals do not have the population to support the education workforce. I make sure to treat everyone with kindness and they always smile in return. My students have been complimentary of me in their reflection assignments. I feel happy. I know that I belong here and made the right choice.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.