Sunday, May 27: I’ve been an English Language Lecturer at the Foundation Institute of the University of Nizwa for two semesters. A lot of readers have written to me because either they have applied for a job, or are considering applying, at the university. They want information, and I can’t say I blame them. Before I came here I was desperate for information, as is anyone who is thinking of moving to and working in a foreign country. When I got a job offer, I just decided to dive in and take a gamble, despite having little to no information. I had a desire to work in the Middle East for various reasons and I figured this would be as good a place as any. Besides, one of my State Department friends told me that Oman is the most desirable post in the Middle East for foreign service officers, so it seemed like a dream come true.
I’m generally hesitant to answer questions from potential job applicants because this is my place of employment and I try to limit my posts about my job here. As you can imagine, I don’t want to jeopardize my job by putting into print every little thing I think about the environment here.
I hope people will not be offended if I choose not to answer their messages and questions about the university. My blog is meant to be a creative outlet for me. I like to focus on my travels and photography and mostly amusing or interesting anecdotes about my experience in Oman. So, I would like to request that readers who are interested in applying here, or have already accepted a job here, please read my posts on the university (see the menu at the top of my page). Other than that, I hope my dear readers will understand if I don’t respond to any further messages regarding work at the university.
That being said, there are several more appropriate forums to find out information. Most ESL teachers already know that there is an international job forum on Dave’s ESL Cafe where you can post questions and get answers. Also, I have a friend who started a website for Expats in Oman: Omani – Expats’ Portal. Though this website is relatively new, I still suggest that you post your questions there in hopes of getting answers from other like-minded expats.
On Dave’s ESL Cafe there are some very negative and bitter posts; there are also some positive posts. There is probably some truth to both the positives and negatives. Just keep in mind the source. Since Dave’s ESL Cafe is anonymous, anyone at all can post without giving any information about themselves. It is impossible to know whether the person who posted is rightfully bitter about the university itself or is just a bitter person to begin with. Anyone who has a grudge against the university for whatever reason can post. If a person posts a lot of negative things about every place he has worked, for instance, that person may just be an angry person in general. We don’t know. So, I advise that readers should take everything they read with a big grain of salt.
Here’s what I have to add. Each culture has its challenges. Everyone who has ever worked abroad knows this. Some cultures are worse, some better, than others. People take to cultures differently. For example, I worked in Korea for a year, but no matter how much I tried to love it, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Many other teachers absolutely loved it and have ended up staying for years.
As for workplaces: I’ve worked for excellent and horrible companies all over, including in the USA. The horrible workplaces are filled with negativity, infighting, low morale and high turnover. The excellent ones offer a positive, encouraging, inclusive and welcoming environment. Some workplace environments are simply better, or worse, than others. I think if you are a generally positive person who is resilient and flexible, you will be okay here. If not, you might be better off elsewhere. I enjoy my life in Oman and I try hard to make the best of the situation. I try to always remember why I’m here: to save money, to travel around the region, and to get more teaching and cultural experience. I love being with my students, despite the general challenges found anywhere in the Gulf.