By Nicole Brewer
Hello globe-trotters! So I’ve been inundated with inquiries about living in Oman as of late with plenty of people uber excited at the prospect of coming here to teach abroad. While I sat upon my rooftop I felt inclined to write this piece while I pondered this life of living abroad the past few months in the Middle East. I must say that I feel like I’ve handled the culture shock of leaving Busan, South Korea with a population of 4 million to come to small town Nizwa, Oman like a trooper!! I’ve noticed that many of the veterans that are working here with me in these parts are just that, years deep in veterans of the ESL game.
Working in a Muslim country where you hear the call of prayer 5 times a day, having to be totally covered out of respect to said culture and essentially assimilating into one of the most foreign lands I’ve seen is NOT a task for the faint of heart. Yes, the pay is fantastic in comparison to some other English as Second Language jobs across the globe, but again you have to consider some of the “luxuries” one may have to give up depending upon your placement.
I’ve found myself missing the little things that helped me keep my sanity living in Busan such as long walks on the beach, art exhibitions and the massive amount of festivals that helped me pass the time. Not to mention the ridiculously fast internet that they had in Asia where I could Kakao talk with friends back in USA while on the train!! (Ohhh, how I miss the metro Big time as well). 4D movies (heck movie theaters in general) are a thing of the past in small town Nizwa, le sigh.
For a big time out on the town, we frequent Lulu’s hypermarket since the nearest shopping mall is an hour and half away in Muscat. Yeahp, you read that right no malls in Nizwa. So, I just felt inclined to give my fellow globe-trotters the real of my current situation here. Yes, I’m overall having a making it work Year and most of you see me post about the awesome trips and whatnot, but just wanted to give you all a few things to consider before you make that leap to the Middle East or rather small town life in Oman, Saudi or elsewhere.
I’m beyond grateful for the amazing friendships and relationship I’ve been able to form with the expats and locals here. The gorgeous scenery and fab sunsets that I take in for sure give me an unprecedented peace of mind on the daily from the harsh life of educating young minds ;-). I’m even more grateful that most of the young minds here are open to learning from me and eager at that. The Omani students for sure make it all worthwhile with their big hearts. Nonetheless, you have to mentally prepare yourself to teach in a classroom segregated by sex (boys on left, girls on the right). In the end, make sure you do your research, a little bit of soul searching and alot of meditating before making your decision to trot the globe to live in the Middle East. Peace and love.
Thanks for sharing a slice of your life from Oman. Oman is one of my top five choices for my next country to visit. I lived in a small town without internet cafes, karaoke bars, nightclubs, or even bowling alleys for two months. It was very difficult to adjust to after having access to “the world.” Are you more inclined to learn the language more or are you able to join cultural events since you don’t have the festivals or other activities that are more accessible?
It’s for sure a big adjustment right! I’ve managed to get around fine without knowing the language but it would truly be beneficial to study it. I find alot of expats here are traveling/hiking about for free time activities as the festivals are few and far between.
I’m glad to hear you are finding some peace of mind in the sunsets of Oman! Stay strong, I know you can do it!
*Deep breath in*. As I read this, I can’t help but think,’can i really deal with not having a shopping mall?!’ Nonetheless, if God permits, that will be something I will learn to do without. Sunsets on a rooftop sound much more inexpensive and long-lasting, anyway 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome. Yes, you can do it… as we used to say in Korea Fighting! lol
I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve had a love affair with the middle east for a while now. I guess I’d better visit rather than live there, for me.
Certain cities in UAE aren’t that bad at all… just do your research :-). My door is open if you do come.
This is so funny to read because I live next door to you in Abu Dhabi, UAE where there are shopping malls on every corner and that is the favorite past time of locals (go to the mall). I for one was never a mall person in the states and was forced into it moving here almost 2 years ago. I taught boys grade 4 boys my first year (major psychotic fail). This year I am teaching grade 4 girls (huge improvement). Without you incriminating yourself, I am interested to know if the behaviors of the male students are anything close to the UAE?
Ha yeah, I remember in Korea some of the girls had “I think I’m grown” attitude so I actually had more fun in my boys classes lol. I’m teaching at a College here though and the students are sweethearts, the boys and girls so feel fortunate :-).
[…] A few co-workers and myself decided to venture out to this paradise for a little R&R away from my home of Nizwa, Oman. Jebel Sifah is home to the most stunning white, milky cream designed architectural masterpiece […]
hey this blog is brilliant. I am karthik, from India, moved to Muscat recently. I have traveled wide across the globe but this is my first time in the Middle East.
🙂 will be haunting ur site to read all about ur travel experiences. I love traveling, music, movies and road trips.
Maybe we can meet up one of these days over coffee and share some jokes 🙂
Thanks! That would be cool :-). Like your blog too!
Hi Nicole. I just got an offer for the Nizwa college of technology for a September start. Are you there now?
Hi Ryan! I’m at the College of Applied Sciences which is right up the street from the Tech College. I’m only here another 2 weeks before departing Oman but I have a few friends at the Tech college who seem to be happy there :-).
[…] Notes from an expat in Nizwa (crazy! why on earth would you move to Nizwa?). When I talk about Life in Oman I actually mean MUSCAT! Be warned anywhere else in Oman could be extremely boring for a western expat. […]
We lived in Muscat Oman for five years, 1997-2000 and it was one of the best experiences of living abroad.It is a beautiful country
Yes, yes it is. Thanks for feedback!
Well written honest piece. I was in Nizwa a year or two ago and it is very small. I also had experience of living in Saudi so I know the difference of working in an Arab country. I am male though so it does make things a bit easier. I loved Oman on my time there so I hope you will too.
Thanks Ross! Yes overall I’m glad I lived in and experienced Oman. Beautiful place and people.
Are you still in Nizwa? I might be getting a job at the Uni of Nizwa, so I would love to get some insight and tips on living there. Would you be able to send me an email to my personal email?
Hi Ruth, sorry I’m no longer in Oman. I’m in Germany now for graduate school. You can email at email@example.com. Thanks for dropping by!
I am seriously considering taking up a teaching position at United Private School. I’ve seen very mixed reviews about the school. Can you provide me with any information on school…are they a ‘good’ what is morale like for staff working there. I believe I’m to be place at the AlHail branch. I’m planning on coming to Muscat on my own initially my husband will join me for visits when he can get away…I believe Muscat is safe for woman on their own..is this correct? Any feedback that you can give me would be great! Best wishes Anita.
Hi. Yes Muscat is safe for women no worries. Sorry however I’m not familiar with this school in particular. I was located in Nizwa about an hour away from Muscat but do check out our online travel community and pose your question there as I know we have other expats in Oman in the group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/iluv2globetrot/
[…] Omani Living, the Truest Test of Expat Live […]
Thanks for this blog! I like it that you’ve chosen to speak about the things that actually matter – the small things.
I’m planning to visit Muscat in late August to search for a job in the Learning and Development sector. Any specific advice for me? I have a ton of relatives who’ve been there for years so I will be well supported. But my line of work is not very familiar for them (They’re all highly placed in large construction firms.)
I think what I’m going to enjoy the most is the space! I grew up in Dubai and sometimes it does suffocate. But I’m sure too much open spaces is not a great thing as well haha.. But since Dubai is just a few hours drive away, I’m sure I can satisfy my craving for crowded weekends every now and then.
Thanks again and looking forward to more of your articles!
You’re most welcome! Glad I could help. I think that’s an excellent sector to work in and am sure you’ll find something great. Make sure you check out our travel community https://www.facebook.com/groups/iluv2globetrot/ to meet with others as well as myself in the education sector. We have a lot of expats in the group and useful research tools/files that would assist you greatly. Best of luck and thanks for dropping by!
Sounds like you’ve had an excellent time in Oman. I’ve been in Korea for the past 10 years and have decided to return home. If I were to keep doing this gig, Oman would have been my choice for next destination.
Am about to move to Nizwa in few days, going my first job out of India. What I learned now, now few malls have cropped up in Nizwa including Cinemas. Hoping to get adjusted soon and enjoy my time here.