We are reaching out to fellow OFWs and expats in Qatar who would like to share their stories about life in the Middle East. This helps give our readers and audience a better idea so that they can plan and decide for themselves, rather than wonder what it’s like to be working abroad. These experiences are based on stories from real people who are willing to share their insights. We hope you find them inspiring as you read about their challenges, struggles, and accomplishments!
Our first expat feature is about Luis, a call center representative working in a real estate company. Luis may have graduated with a Nursing degree, but he is currently working in a different industry. This goes to show that you may not end up with a job based on your course when you’re abroad. Right now, we are glad that Luis is with his wife and son in Qatar. Not many Filipinos have the capacity to be with their family abroad. Read about Luis and his experience in Qatar in our interview below!
Expat Feature: Luis, Call Center Representative in a Real Estate Company
Name: Luis Barrozo, Jr.
Current Profession: Call Center Representative
College Degree: BS Nursing
Years in Qatar: 3
1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Luis, 30 years old and working in a Real State Company as a Call Center Representative. I am a Nurse by profession, a graduate of Far Eastern University. I passed my board exam in 2010, the same year I graduated. I wasn’t able to practice my profession because my girlfriend (who is my wife now) got pregnant after we graduated from college. Since nurses in the Philippines are not given that much of importance and job priorities, I worked in BPOs in Manila after I graduated so I could provide for my family. I am also the breadwinner of my family in Pangasinan, so I also have to provide for my family while working in Manila. ( Maybe I can talk about my life in the Philippines as well, but I do not think that is necessary).
2. Why did you come to Qatar?
In 2011, I tried my luck going to Qatar using a business visa, which my brother-in-law used to enter the country; unfortunately, immigration did not let me enter the country. I tried to use the same visa twice but immigration said that I could not go, so I stayed in the Philippines and worked there instead. Despite the unfortunate circumstances that happened to me, I did not give up. In 2015, I tried going to Qatar again using a working visa, which allowed me to enter the country.
3. What were your previous jobs?
When I first stepped into Qatar, I looked for a job. While waiting for a possible company that would hire me, my brother-in-law enabled me to have a part-time job as a Teacher Assistant in an international school for 3 months. Since I had 2 days off, I worked during Friday and Saturday as a volleyball scorer so I can earn more for my family. My first months were really hard because I missed my family, most especially my son who was 4 years old at that time. To ease my sadness and homesickness, I looked for a church in Qatar so I can make myself busy and for me to find the right people around who can encourage me while I am away from my family.
I had lots of interviews, but unfortunately I was being offered a very minimal salary, which I refused to accept. On my third month, my sponsor wanted me to do all the necessary requirements so he can transfer me to his sponsorship. He was forcing me to work in his company if I could not find a job during the 3-month period. Three days before my first 3 months, I had not found any job yet, which left me with no choice but to be under his sponsorship.
On the first day, I was told to do finger printing so we went, but unfortunately we were late and we rescheduled it for the next day. On that same day, my brother-in-law took my CV and gave it to the company where he was working. On the second day, we went back to the finger printing area, but we were late again, so it was rescheduled for the next day for the second time. In the afternoon of the same day, I was called for any interview in my brother-in-law’s company. I thank God that they gave me an offer and agreed to transfer me under their sponsorship. That was in July 2015.
4. Are you able to save in Qatar? Why/How?
I can say that I am earning a decent amount to provide for my needs and for my family in Qatar. The first 2 years were really hard because I had to pay for all the debts I had incurred while applying for Qatar. This is the reason why I was not able to save that much. I was so blessed because my family (church mates) were really supportive and made me feel that I have a family in this country. I made a lot of friends and barkadas who were in the same church I am attending.
5. Is it difficult to live in Qatar? What are/were your struggles? What’s life like outside work?
While working in the company, I struggled in dealing with co-Filipinos who were working in our company. I had heard before that most of the people who will bring us down are our own kababayans, which I did not believe at first. I said to myself that it depends on how you treat them but I was wrong. No matter how good you are with them, if they see you as a threat — then they will treat you as an enemy and will do their best to bring you down. I would rather not go into details, but it was really hard for me to handle things because I was new in the company.
I just did the things that I knew were right, and I worked hard so I could stay with the company (during that time the company had decided to terminate people who were not needed). My co-workers had been working for quite a long time in the company, so I was scared that I might be the one who will be terminated. I thank God that of all the people who got terminated, I was not included!
6. What do you like about Qatar?
Compared to the stories that I have heard from my friends who are also working in the Middle East, I believe that Qatar is a great country to work in. It is not as strict as other countries in the region, which makes it easier for us to work comfortably. I can say that I enjoy staying here and I consider it as my second home!
7. You have any tips for Kabayans when working/finding work/living in Qatar?
To those who are already here and going through hard times, be optimistic and make sure that you look for people who can help you. Don’t stop and always look at the bright side, because I believe that in every struggle, God makes us stronger and will make a way for us to get out of whatever circumstances we are currently in. Don’t give up so that when you overcome, you can be an inspiration! Have faith and continue to move forward. Do your best and do good, no matter what happens, because giving up will not take you anywhere but lead to failure.
To those people who experience great favor and opportunity, make sure that you reach out to people who are in need. Make sure that you are a good example and know how to look back. Be an inspiration by sharing what you have and your experiences. You were blessed for a purpose!
Instead of looking at yourself and flaunting what you have, start pulling other people up. It might not be monetary but if you think that you have opportunities in your company, you can refer other kababayans who are fit and have the potential to help other people as well. Let us always humble ourselves and let every light in us shine towards other people. We all have this power to inspire people to achieve their dreams and we should use that to serve our purpose.
Connect with Luis on Social Media
To know more about Luis, you may get in touch with him through his social media pages:
*Photos provided by Luis
Are you an expat in Qatar? Do you want to be featured in the website? Send us an email telling us you want to be featured at ed@QatarOFW.com and we will send you the set of questions! Let’s help other expats who want to come to Qatar understand what life here is like through your story.