A country built largely on trade from the countries in and around the Indian Ocean, Oman has a rich history that has been largely influenced by both the British and the Islamic religion. Oman is part of the Arabian Peninsula, holding a strategic spot on the mouth of the Persian Gulf. To the northwest sits the United Arab Emirates and to the west is Saudi Arabia.
Throughout its history, Oman was a powerful empire, able to maintain independence from British control throughout the colonial period. It is a high-income economy and is known for being one of the world's most peaceful countries, in spite of the fact that the country has only moderate natural resources. It is known for its diverse economy, strong oil exports and a growing tourism industry.
Living in Oman
Oman has a climate similar to other parts of the Persian Gulf, with hot, dry weather most of the year. Most of the rain falls in January, although in the Dhofar Mountains a more tropical climate means more rains. Snow in the mountains may occur every few years, but is rare. Some areas will go an entire year without any rain.
The culture of Oman is decidedly Arabic, with some cultural distinctions that come from the influence of Africa and the UK throughout its history. The people are friendly and welcoming, but a distinction between male and female roles is common due to the influence of Islam on the people of the country. The people of Oman are well educated and enjoy a good quality of life.
When traveling to Oman for school, students will need to apply for a student visa long before they intend to arrive in the country. Student visas do not allow students to work in the country.
Study in Oman
Higher education in Oman take place at one of the country's universities. While the university system is relatively new, with the first university opening in the 1980s, it has proven to offer a solid educational experience for those who choose to study within the country
Studying in Oman gives students the chance to experience life in a thriving Arab culture. Students enjoy more freedom of religion and commerce in Oman than they may experience in other Arabic countries, which adds to the appeal of studying in this country. Also, most degree programs are taught in English, making it easier for many International students to attend school and understand what is being taught.
Because Oman is an Islamic state, the academic calendar follows the Islamic calendar, with time off for major Islamic holidays. Many schools break the year into three trimesters, with the first beginning in August or September and running until December or January, followed by a semester that starts in late February and runs through late April, and a short semester beginning in June and running through July or August.
The cost for tuition in Oman is not set by the state, and as such will vary depending on the program of study and the university chosen. As an example, the annual fee for a Bachelor degree at one of Omar's colleges is 1800 ORM, in addition to a 100 OMR caution deposit. Cost of living is cheaper in Oman than in other Middle Eastern countries in most instances.
Because Oman has several universities, study opportunities for international students are quite varied. A strong focus on business, technology and engineering is found in many of the schools in Oman. Undergraduate degree applicants must pass a Higher Secondary or Equivalent Examination before applying, and some schools have a maximum age for expatriates entering fulltime programs. Each program will have its own unique requirements, including testing and minimum scores, for international students who are entering the program.
After graduation, students who have studied in Oman are uniquely prepared for working in Arabic countries or businesses that work with Arabic countries. The impressive nature of the education experience in Oman makes it easier for students to interact with Arabic businesses after graduation.
Students will want to ensure that they have insurance coverage before traveling. The country has a quality healthcare system and free healthcare for citizens, but this free healthcare does not extend to international students. Private clinics and hospitals are available if needed.
For students traveling to Oman to study, finding the right place to live is important. One of the most important tips is to ensure that the dwelling has air conditioning, which is a necessity in the hot climate. Crime is a rare problem in Oman, but international students should learn their way around town, travel in groups and avoid carrying large amounts of cash to protect their safety.