6 Reasons To Choose Oman As Your Middle East Study Destination: Located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, on the south-eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula is Oman. Over the past 50 years, Oman has seen impressive growth and has become one of the most developed countries in the Arab world.
With nearly 50 years of Omani Renaissance, Oman has established a prestigious international and national position and has an open and welcoming culture.
It’s hardly surprising then, that the country is being seen as an up-and-coming study destination for international students looking to study in the Middle East.
Here are six reasons you should consider making Oman your study destination.
Oman has plenty of natural beauty
Oman is full of eye-catching natural landscapes, with the turquoise waters in Musandam Peninsula, the vast sands of the Empty Quarter and the Wahiba Sands; the beach paradise of Masirah Island and the historical city, Bahla.
Oman boasts warm, sunny weather throughout the year, particularly during the summer – known as the Khareef season.
Salalah is the second largest city of Oman, located in the Dhofar Governorate. The city is widely known for being a city of geographic beauty; with pristine beaches and lush green mountains which are perfect for camping and hiking. This makes it an excellent study destination for students looking to study in the Middle East.
Luckily for students, the area is home to one of the Middle East’s best universities: Dhofar University (DU).
Oman is home to one of the Middle East’s most prestigious universities
Oman is home to 13 of the world’s most prestigious universities and five of these are included in the QS Arab Region University Rankings 2021.
Amongst these top universities is Dhofar University, a private higher education institution that strives for excellence in every aspect of its teaching, learning and research. Dhofar University ranks 121-130 in the Arab rankings this year.
The university offers 55 programmes in total, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These programmes undergo regular reviews by the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation of Oman to ensure that they remain up to date and relevant.
Dhofar University also has an independent Department of Quality Assurance which constantly reviews and improves on university policies related to academic, academic support and non-academic services.
Student feedback is taken into account during these reviews to make sure the course is catering to the needs of its students.
These checks mean you can be certain you’re getting the best education for you.
Benefit from a high quality of life
Students in Oman enjoy an extremely high quality of life. Oman is widely acknowledged to be one of the safest countries in the Middle East – and the world. The area boasts a low crime rate and has friendly citizens.
Oman was also the top ranked location in Middle East in Internations’ recent Environment and Sustainability Ranking 2020, for which it placed 21st in the world. This high score is partly due to the government’s focus on creating policies to protect the environment.
As a result, Muscat, the capital city of Oman, is one among the top ten cleanest cities in the world.
Enjoy a mix of cultures from all over the world
Oman is celebrated for its strong international outlook. Years of immigration have left Oman with an exciting mixture of cultures from all over the Middle East.
This is particularly prominent in the area’s food, which has been heavily shaped by Indian influences. Students in Oman can enjoy plates of biryani – said to be Oman’s national dish – and deliciously rich tandoori masala. Students can also enjoy eastern Mediterranean style food, including barbecued meats covered in spices.
Oman is also considered to be one of the most liberal destinations in the Middle East. It’s worth remembering, however, that Oman is a Muslim country and students should be careful to respect the local customs.
The universities also reflect this mix of cultures. For example, Dhofar University’s students are taught by more than 200 faculty members from 26 different nationalities: one of the highest international faculty ratios of all the universities in the Middle East. Additionally, more than five percent of Dhofar University’s 5,000 students are from outside Oman.
An affordable study destination
According to the Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2020 Oman’s Muscat ranks 96th out of 209 cities, putting it more expensive than Toronto and Melbourne but less expensive than Jakarta and Madrid.
Accommodation is relatively affordable. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Salalah, for example, costs around £300 per month according to Numbeo. This is 75 percent cheaper than Dubai.
Similarly, a travel ticket in Salalah costs only £1.50 on average.
Another benefit of studying in Oman is that it is a particularly well-connected area, making it easy to travel around the country and to nearby countries.
The area has an extensive transport network, which can be tricky to navigate at first, but gets easier the more you use it.
Oman’s public bus service is probably the easiest way to get around and these link every part of the country, from Sohar in the north to Salalah in the south. These buses are extremely affordable and are an easy way to travel around different parts of Oman.
Connecting Oman’s many islands are ferries, offering students the opportunity to visit many different areas of Oman, such as Masirah Island.
Another way to get around Oman is by car. Many tourists choose to hire cars and car rental services are available all over the country, including airports. Bear in mind, you will need a driver’s license to hire one. Alternatively, there are plenty of taxies around Oman’s cities, although these can vary widely in price.
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