Wednesday, August 24: On July 5, 2011, after a phone interview with three Omani men on America’s Independence Day, I received an offer letter to teach English as a Second Language at the Foundation Institute of the University of Nizwa in the Sultanate of Oman. During that same week, I also received a job offer to teach at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The salary offered by the Saudis was about $700/month higher, but after reading about Oman and learning about the pleasant life I could have there, I accepted the offer from the University of Nizwa.
On July 16, I sent the requested documents to the university and the university sent those on to the Ministry of Higher Education for its approval. After more back and forth and more requests for “experience certificates,” I was apparently approved by the Ministry of Higher Education at the end of July. On the morning of August 20, I received my work permit! I guess I really am going to live and work in Nizwa, Oman in mid-September!
To put on the final touches, on August 22, I received my plane ticket. I had told the Human Resources Department that my nearest airport was Dulles International Airport (IAD) near Washington, D.C. The ticket, however, had me flying out of Dallas/Forth Worth (DFW)! Dallas/Dulles ~ only two vowels off! Ah, the perils of communication when working and living abroad… 🙂 Two days later, I got the corrected ticket. I leave from IAD late on Thursday, September 15, arriving in Muscat, Oman late Friday night, September 16. I’m told that “someone” will meet me at the airport! Hooray!!
The University of Nizwa was established in 2002 by the Decree of His Majesty the Sultan Qaboos as the first non-profit university in the Sultanate of Oman; it remains the only institution of its kind in the nation. On October 16, 2004, the University of Nizwa opened the doors to its inaugural class of 1,200 students, 88% of whom were Omani women. The current campus is located near the base of the famous Jebal al-Akhdhar in Birkat al-Mouz, 20 km NW of Nizwa. The construction of a new campus, located near the new Farq-Hail highway began in March of 2010.
Though the student body comprises native Arabic speakers, the official language of academic instruction is English, making the university a bilingual institution. English language proficiency is achieved in a year-long intensive course as part of the academic General Foundation Program.
The Foundation Program is the University preparatory program for entering students. According to the guidelines established by the Ministry of Higher Education, it offers English Language, Computer Literacy, Mathematics, and General Study Skills.