One of the hardest things for me to do when moving to Qatar was quit my jobs. I LOVED working at Mesa Art Center and Central Arizona College. I loved teaching. I loved the regular studio time (hard to come by as a new mom) that came with having a job (outside of my home). I wanted SO badly to be able to find something similar in Qatar. Odds seemed slim, being that Doha is not a very big city and there is really only one place where jewelry classes are offered. That one place is a small campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. They offer 1 jewelry class per semester as an elective in their fashion design department. I had my heart set on getting a job teaching for VCUQ before we moved here, even though I knew chances that they would have an opening were small. But, I got lucky! Someone who had been teaching got another job and had to leave. I was hired at the end of this semester. CRAZY. I finished out the last month of class and had such a good time.
One thing that has been really strange for me (but is actually really common here) is that I had not yet met any native Qataris since moving to Doha. I actually hadn't even really met any Muslims, which is so strange since I live in a Muslim country! One of the reasons for this is because we live in a stand alone villa as opposed to a compound like most expats. Also, because I didn't have a job, I was staying home with Ellie, I just wasn't exposed to a lot of different types of people. I see Muslims everywhere (here it is very obvious who most of the Muslims are because of the way they dress, and they are the vast majority of the population), but I had yet to actually meet or talk to any. My jewelry class had 8 students, 7 females and 1 male. All but 2 of the students were Qatari and Muslim. The 2 other students were Filipino and Sudanese. Besides helping them finish their jewelry projects, I absolutely LOVED being able to talk with them about their culture. I asked them all my burning questions and we had wonderful conversations about American culture vs. Qatari/Islamic/Arabic culture. It was great:)
Another great thing about the class is that I am actually team teaching with another jeweler whose experience/knowledge is vastly different from my own. He is from Afghanistan/Tajikistan and owns a jewelry shop here (in the Gold Souq). He makes very high end, gold, blingy, stone encrusted, shiny jewelry. I love that I get to work with him and will hopefully get to learn from him as well. The timing of my hiring is unfortunate in that I only was able to work the last month of this semester, and then I will start next semester but am due to have a baby about a month after school starts. Hopefully I can continue on after I have the baby and experience more of what it is like to teach jewelry in this part of the world. So far, even though it is an American University, the program is much different than I have experienced in Arizona. I loved teaching in Arizona but change is also good and I am so happy to have been given this opportunity at VCUQ. I can't wait to see where it leads.
I wish I had taken more pictures of the studio and the students, but these are all I have.
Nerdy badge photo.
Areial view of campus. (photo credit)
(above and below images taken from VCUQ's website)
The jewelry studio workroom. There is also a torch/kiln/casting room, office, and polishing room.
I am seriously SO EXCITED about teaching here, I can't even tell you how happy I am!