Disclaimer

The content of each post is solely written by that contributor and only expresses the contributor's personal views. Each post does not represent the views of all the contributors or Women of Color Living Abroad as an organization. Each contributor is speaking from their own person experiences and/or perspective.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Life in Oman: Is it the Right Choice for You?

by:  eternitysojourner

Mutrah Port in Muscat, Oman
Two years ago this week, marks the anniversary of my arrival to Oman.  I vividly remember exiting the airport, being smothered by Muscat’s humidity, and winding through curious and imposing mountains along the highway.  With time, what seemed strange and intriguing, then, has become comforting and familiar.  I’ve given birth here, explored various landscapes, and made lasting connections with both citizens and expatriates.  For me, Oman was the right choice but what about you? Our Sistas in Oman shed some light on life in the Sultanate but here are a few prerequisite questions to ask yourself before accepting an offer and making your move.

 
How do I feel about living amongst Muslims and Arabs?
Oman is a gentle introduction to the Muslim world.  There is no real political strife or unrest.  Yes, there were occasional protests in northern Oman at the tail end of the Arab Spring but nothing the likes of instability or revolution.  Additionally, Omanis tend to be very non-confrontational in their expression of faith; so more times than not, you won’t find yourself in aggressive or heated debates about religion, unless you disrespect their faith.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman
 
How conservative can I be?
Feel free to pack your tube skirts and tank tops, but keep in mind that they’re best worn in the privacy of your own home.  Generally, visitors and residents are advised to avoid sleeveless or low cut shirts, as well as skirts, pants, or shorts above the knee.  Even men are asked to skip the Speedos when out swimming.  More conservative attire would be warranted when visiting mosques or rural regions, but I don’t know of any legal penalty for dressing otherwise.

Muscat, Oman’s capital city, would be the hub for “nightlife”.  If you like to party or drink, there are selective places like hotels, clubs, etc. where both are allowed.  Outside of designated establishments, many expats choose to apply for a liquor license and drink in private gatherings.

During Ramadan, while Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, drinking or eating in public is discouraged and considered inconsiderate.  More practically, due to altered business hours, you may find that you’ve also adopted a “Ramadan schedule” for your outings and eating.

For the lovebirds amongst us, public displays of affection are uncommon, beyond holding hands or loving glares.  Who you choose to love is your business and, in Oman, where you choose to love them should also be your personal business.

 
How do I cope with heat?
Oman has a good deal of heat for you to enjoy.  Between May and September, temperatures are regularly above 100oF (38oC), so midday outings are discouraged.  Fortunately, just about every indoor environment is air conditioned and electricity supply is consistently delivered throughout most parts of Oman.  If that kind of heat is unfathomable to you, look for work in Salalah- a region in the far south of Oman that enjoys moderate weather year-round with a summer monsoon season.

 
Can I live in the desert?
Be of good cheer, friends!  Oman is not just one big desert!  There are beaches, mountains, waterfalls, and wadis (ravines) to discover throughout.  The greenest of times is from June to September, in the far south of Oman during the khareef or monsoon season.   You’ll be amazed to see rolling green hills and misty mornings that remind you of Ireland.
 
Misty Morning in Salalah, Oman
 
What will I eat?
Oman has a great variety of all types of food.  Delicious local and foreign produce, a variety of fresh meats and fish, veggie-friendly offerings, and imported comfort foods are all at your fingertips in the major cities and towns.  In the capital city, you can satisfy your craving for everything from Thai to Moroccan food.  Even major American fast food chains and restaurants have migrated to this part of Arabia!
Swahili food in Sohar, Oman
 
What will I do?
Other than work, there are all kinds of organizations to be involved with.  You can pick up a new language, take in a movie, enjoy the opera, ride a horse, scuba dive, and do your fair share of “tree hugging” here.  If all of what Oman has to offer still ranks low on your adventure-meter, you are perfectly situated for great travel options to the Middle East, East Africa, South Asia and Europe. 
Hiking in Sur, Oman
 
How will I get around?
Unless you want to rely on taxis and the occasional long distance bus, having your own ride is the way to go.  Car rentals are very easy with a foreign driver’s license but purchasing a car will require an Omani driver’s license.  Possessing a current foreign driver’s license from most countries for at least a year allows you to obtain an Omani driver’s license without a road or written examination.  Some jobs provide shuttle transportation, so you may not have to worry about commuting to work.

 
Can I save?
There are plenty of middle-aged professionals from the West that are living well and saving for retirement here.  Many find it easy to save without a penny-pinching budget.  If you live outside of Muscat, you may find more attractive salaries and packages that include housing, annual round-trip airfare for you and your family, and health insurance.  Add those perks to a lower cost of living, and you can make bank here!  As with most Gulf countries, the vision for the future is to reduce dependence on foreign workers and phase out expatriate employees.  Until then…come get your slice of the Omani pie while the pickings are good!

 
How will I communicate?
Oman is functionally bilingual: websites, road signs, official documents, shop names, etc. will almost always be in both English and Arabic.  Sometimes the English displayed on road signs may be inconsistent, but the government is working on it.  Outside of major cities and towns, you may find that many people are not fluent in English but you can usually get by with little to no Arabic.

 
Where should I live?
If you want to maximize your social life, try to stay in or near Muscat.  If you can stand the summer humidity, Muscat, Sohar, Sur, and Salalah are all coastal cities.  If you prefer a drier climate (both literally and figuratively!), consider Nizwa or Ibri.

 
Can I make an impact?
Oman is a wonderful nation that has progressed rapidly in the last few decades.  Previous generations left Oman in pursuit of quality education, health care, and a higher standard of living, but many have since returned.  Oman is catching up to the world, so to speak.  College enrollment is on the rise and you may have the opportunity to teach first generation university students--the majority of which are women.  Unlike other regions of the Gulf, not all citizens of Oman are wealthy and even if they lack the maturity of third or fourth generation academics, many are learning to appreciate the virtue of higher education and gaining greater access to the wider world as a result.

 
It can’t be all good in Oman, can it?
Every rose has its thorn and Omani roses are no different.  There are social problems that may not readily come to light, high incidences of traffic-related deaths, and biases that favor citizens over expats.  There is a general lack of environmental concern, outdated approaches to early education, and lacking accommodations for students with special needs, BUT Oman’s growth is in progress- steady but not stagnant.  Even if you decide that life in Oman is not right for you, you should at least consider a visit when you’re in the neighborhood.  J

Feel free to ask questions or add your experience of life in Oman in the comments.

 

15 comments:

  1. Awesome, factual information here by a brilliant writer. Thanks E.S. As an expat who lives here I can vouch for everything said here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Amanda! Your vote of approval means alot to me! :)

      Delete
  2. Awesome post! I'm off to China this year, but Oman is on my radar for next year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lovenia! I would love to live in China for a year or so but Oman takes the cake for a longer stay! ;)

      Delete
  3. Really appreciate this information, exactly what I needed! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. thank you so much for all the information about Oman. Tomorrow morning I have an interview with Ajial Bilingual School in Kuwait. I am both excited and terrified as I begin to test the waters of living/working overseas. It's a first interview and I may be a long way off from an actual job offer, if any, but I'm very excited about this start of a new journey in my life. Is anyone out there living/working in Kuwait? I would love to hear from you.
    Thanks again, eternitysojourner
    mbelton74@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! All the best for your interview! :)

      Delete
  5. I just see the post i am so happy the post of information's.So I have really enjoyed and reading your blogs for these posts.. web design muscat

    ReplyDelete
  6. Completely loved the way the assignment was done at this site https://oman.thesiswritingservice.com/report-writing-service/.
    Fast and neat. They're surely in touch with the customer (via support) and know what to do. I so highly recommend!

    ReplyDelete





  7. Do you need Personal Loan?
    Business Cash Loan?
    Unsecured Loan
    Fast and Simple Loan?
    Quick Application Process?
    Approvals within 24-72 Hours?
    No Hidden Fees Loan?
    Funding in less than 1 Week?
    Get unsecured working capital?
    Contact Us At :oceancashcapital@gmail.com
    Phone number :+16474864724 (Whatsapp Only)

    LOAN SERVICES AVAILABLE INCLUDE:
    ================================
    *Commercial Loans.
    *Personal Loans.
    *Business Loans.
    *Investments Loans.
    *Development Loans.
    *Acquisition Loans .
    *Construction loans.
    *Credit Card Clearance Loan
    *Debt Consolidation Loan
    *Business Loans And many More:

    LOAN APPLICATION FORM:
    =================
    Full Name:................
    Loan Amount Needed:.
    Purpose of loan:.......
    Loan Duration:..
    Gender:.............
    Marital status:....
    Location:..........
    Home Address:..
    City:............
    Country:......
    Phone:..........
    Mobile / Cell:....
    Occupation:......
    Monthly Income:....

    Contact Us At oceancashcapital@gmail.com
    Phone number :+16474864724 (Whatsapp Only)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dear Customers.

    We invite you all to participate in our new business and project funding program, We are currently funding for Business start-up Business developments, Business acquisition Business expansion, Project funding and Working capital etc.

    This Funding program allows a client to enjoy 3% low interest rate and payback period of 1 to 35 years. We can approve a loan/funding for up to $500,000,000.00 or more depending on the nature of business we are currently funding for and we satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed

    Application Available
    Apply via email: standardonlineinvestment@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of $250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of $250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius, call/whats-App Contact Number +918929509036 via email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com) Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Are you a business man or woman? Do you need funds to start up your own business? Do you need loan to settle your debt or pay off your bills or start a nice business? Do you need funds to finance your project? We Offers guaranteed loan services of any amount and to any part of the world for (Individuals, Companies, Realtor and Corporate Bodies) at our superb interest rate of 3%. For application and more information send replies to the following E-mail address: standardonlineinvestment@gmail.com
    Thanks and look forward to your prompt reply.
    Regards,
    Muqse

    ReplyDelete