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NWC partners with the Al Amana Centre of Muscat, Oman to offer a unique semester experience that provides participants an opportunity to learn Arabic and develop intercultural competencies through a dialogical encounter with Omani Muslims in a country that international travelers have identified as the "seventh friendliest country in the world." Combining cultural immersion with academic rigor, students gain an understanding of some of the important questions facing a traditional culture that is establishing a model for development that other nations seek to emulate.
The Al Amana Centre represents over a century of relational ministry in this unique country. This legacy opens doors to people and experiences not available to others. Aside from time spent in Muscat, participants will venture beyond the capital city to discover the geographical and cultural diversity of Oman. The modern city gives way to small oasis villages, date palm farms and Bedouin lifestyles. To experience these elements of life in Oman, participants will be given ample opportunities to engage and observe more traditional Omani life through various excursions and activities (including camel rides in the desert!).
Oman is one of the small Persian (Arabian) Gulf states occupying the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula whose economies have been lubricated with oil. It borders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to the west, Yemen to the south, the Strait of Hormuz to the north and the Arabian Sea to the east. Muscat, where the program is centered, is the capital of Oman and is also Oman’s cosmopolitan financial and trade center. The interior city of Ibri, where students do their Arabic studies, represents more traditional Omani society.
The director of the Oman Semester is the Rev. Justin Meyers, an ordained pastor in the Reformed Church in America. He is also presently the acting director of the Al Amana Center, an ecumenical center dedicated to fostering a relationship of understanding and cooperation between religions which builds on a century of positive relations between the Reformed Church and the Omani government and its hospitable people.
The country of Oman, like most of the other small Arabian Gulf states, is a peaceful society where violent crime is almost non-existent (far less prevalent than even smaller sized American cities). It should not be confused with other states in the region, like Syria or Iraq where violent upheavals have unfortunately colored peoples' perceptions of the whole region.
Here is an article that describes the situation in Oman:
All participants will take four courses: Modern Arabic, Christian-Muslim Relations, Oman Culture and Society, and Integrative Experiential Learning. Northwestern College will grant 16 credits upon completion of the program. The credits from the Oman semester fulfill Northwestern’s General Education cross-cultural requirement and the foreign language requirement and can also be used toward completing a minor in Middle East Studies and Cultural Studies at Northwestern. Please see Boryana Dobreva for more information.
Christian - Muslim Relations – 4 credits
Explores what it means to be a person of faith in a multi-faith world, and how to enter confidently into relationships with people of another faith. Academic application: Cross-cultural General Education requirement; Equivalent for REL 385 (Religion majors)
Modern Arabic – 6 credits
Arabic is a critical ingredient of the NWC Oman semester, essential for cross-cultural communication and for appreciating Omani culture, history, and society. Centered at the regional city of Ibri three hours outside the capital city of Muscat, the center at which students study offers not only high level Arabic instruction from Omani teachers, but the opportunity for conversational practice in a place where English is not as widely spoken as Muscat. No previous Arabic study is required, although students who have had basic level studies can continue their studies at higher levels. One semester of Arabic through this program is equal to one year ouniversity-levelel Arabic.
This course provides a strong foundation for students preparing for careers in foreign service in Arab countries, with corporations who do business in Arab nations, post-graduate degrees in Middle Eastern studies, Islamic studies, and Christian-Muslim Relations.
Academic application: General Education Language requirement
Oman Culture & Society – 4 credits
Readings, lectures and cultural field trips designed to provide a survey of the history, social structure, politics, religion, economy and culture of Oman, a microcosm of the Arab world, taught by a prominent Omani official. Academic application: Elective credit towards graduation
Integrated Experiential Learning – 2 credits
A course designed to guide students in processing their intercultural experiences enabling them to integrate their discoveries with their sense of identity, their faith, their understanding of Islam and the value system of Arab culture in Oman, as well as their own culture and its place in a global context.
Academic application: Sociology elective credit
NWC will assist students in arranging their tickets to Muscat, Oman. Generally, all in-country transportation costs will be covered by the program.
Participants live and study in Muscat, the capital city of Oman with Arabic studies in the interior city of Ibri. From these two sites they make excursions around the country, accompanied by Omani friends to ride camels, climb sand dunes, swim in the refreshing blue-green water of mountain pools and watch sea turtles laying eggs.
During the semester, participants will take four weekend trips to discover the beauty and diversity of Oman. Included will be excursions into the interior via the coastal road. There will also be opportunities to hear guest lecturers, attend lectures at the Grand Mosque and hear presentations at the Historical Association of Oman. In students’ free time, they will be able to visit local museums, go snorkeling, dolphin watching, trek in the mountains, and more.
The program fee will be the same as Northwestern College on-campus tuition/room/board plus airfare. It includes tuition for 16 credits, in-country transportation, housing, most meals or meal per diem, orientation, and all program excursions and retreats. Visit www.nwciowa.edu/tuition for current rates. All participants will need to cover airfare, books (est. $100-$150), passport and pictures, immunizations/vaccines, international insurance and individual travel and spending money, among other items.
All applicable Northwestern College financial aid applies for Northwestern College Students. Contact the NWC Financial Aid Office for more information. Non-Northwestern College students should contact their own college’s financial aid offices.
Northwestern and non-Northwestern sophomores, juniors and seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.5 are eligible to apply.
For U.S. Citizens, a passport and travel visa are required for travel to Oman. Participants are responsible for applying for and obtaining their own passport. NWC will assist with obtaining visas which is currently done through CIL. For more information, please contact Dr. John Hubers or Nancy Landhuis. Complete information on entry/exit requirements for Oman is also available at www.travel.state.gov.
The Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) recommends that all travelers to Oman be up to date on routine immunizations. The program requires that participants have up-to-date tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccinations and receive Hepatitis A vaccinations. Other immunization decisions should be made in consultation with your personal physician. Please plan ahead and visit your doctor at least six weeks prior to departure as certain immunizations require several visits or need several weeks to take effect. For specific health threats for visitors to Oman, please visit the Centers for Disease Control website (http://www.cdc.gov) for more information and complete details.
All program participants must purchase separate international travel insurance that will provide basic medical, medical evacuation and repatriation coverage (approximately $200). The Global Education Center will make the actual purchase when all payments are in. Insurance will cover from day left to day returned. International Student Identification Cards are also available for purchase from NWC Global Education Center.
Upon acceptance into the program, a $250.00 deposit (cash or check made payable to NWC) will be required to hold a participant’s spot. This deposit will be applied to the final program fee and is due on or around October 1.
All students who are accepted into the program are expected to attend a pre-departure seminar which will either be offered as a one credit course, or an intensive orientation session offered the second half of the fall semester preceding the Oman semester. Further information and dates will be provided and confirmed in early September. View course poster.
Students who are accepted in the program should click here: www.nwciowa.edu/global-students to access your acceptance packet and pre-departure materials. You will need to log in with your NWC User ID and password.
The Oman Semester Program application is online and consists of a study abroad application form, three recommendations (two from faculty members, one from a resident director), and an academic transcript. Non-NWC students must fill out a guest application to NWC and be accepted before applying to Oman Semester. Scroll down for more information.
For NWC students the application deadline is February 10. The deadline for non-NWC students is determined by the study abroad offices at their home institution but cannot be later than October of the semester preceding the spring semester in Oman.
Dr. John Hubers Global Education Center Director firstname.lastname@example.org Ramaker Center Office 126 Nancy Landhuis Program Coordinator email@example.com Ramaker Center Office 116