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Northwestern College, in conjunction with the Al Amana Centre of Muscat, Oman, is pleased to offer a unique semester experience which provides participants an opportunity to  engage in experiential dialogue about Islam and Christian-Muslim relations in a hospitable environment. 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 Straight of Hormuz to the north and the Arabian Sea to the east. Muscat, where the program is located,  is the capital of Oman and is also Oman’s financial and trade center.

Program Directors

The Rev. Doug Leonard, the director of the Oman Semester, is an ordained pastor in the Reformed Church in America. He earned an M. Div. degree at Princeton Theological Seminary and has studied Arabic at the Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan.  He is joined by the Rev. Justin Meyers who is also an ordained RCA pastor.  Together they administer the program with Rev. Meyers taking most of the responsibility for the care and education of the students.   Both are committed to ensuring that the students thrive in a safe, well supervised environment.

Safety & Oman

This Times Of Oman publication addresses the discussion of safety in Oman:

Course and Credit

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 an important ingredient of the NWC Oman semester, essential for cross-cultural communication and for appreciating Omani culture, history, and society. This course offers two hours of Arabic instruction four days each week combined with conversational practice. Students often begin the course with little or no previous knowledge of Arabic. By the end of the course students will have acquired a variety of skills such as reading and listening comprehension, written and oral expression, as well as an insight into the Omani and Gulf Arab dialect. One semester of Arabic at the Al Amana Centre is equal to one year of university level Arabic. The Centre uses Al Kitaab curriculum supplemented by materials from our instructors.  Al Kitaab is the standard Arabic textbook used in most US universities. This enables students to continue their second year of Arabic in any US university program. Students with previous instruction in Arabic will be placed in the Arabic class that corresponds to the appropriate level of their oral and written proficiency.


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 or via a per diem.  Specific travel instructions will be communicated to non-NWC students in a timely manner.

Housing and Meals

Up until 2015 students were housed at the Al Amana Centre located in Muttrah, the historic section of Muscat where a resident director (much like an RD at NWC) was present to take care of the students’ needs.  Starting in 2016, at least temporarily, students will be housed and educated at the Center for International Learning on the outskirts of the capital ( even while remaining under the supervision and guidance of Revs. Leonard and Meyers.  

Excursions and Day Trips

During the semester, participants will take four weekend trips to discover the diversity within 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.

Program Costs

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 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.

Financial Aid

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. 

Passport and Visa

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

Vaccinations and Health Information

The Centers for Disease Control ( 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 ( for more information and complete details.


International Insurance

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.

Pre-Departure Orientation

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.


Accepted Students

Accepted students, please click on this link to access your acceptance packet and pre-departure materials. You will need to log in with your NWC User ID and password.