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Gaining a New Perspective

a picture of the countryside in Oman. There is a mountain in the foreground with the sea and buildings in the back

By Rachel Berry

When Joshua Brown stepped on a plane headed to Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he didn’t know what to expect.

Brown knew very little about either country when he decided to study abroad there. Rather, he chose the program because it fit with his comparative religion major, and the course students took as part of the program would count towards his degree.

“I just decided to go for it,” Brown said. “It’s somewhere different from most other programs.”

After the trip, Brown has learned not just about what life is like in both countries but also about the history, culture and religion of the region.

 

a group of students poses for a picture at a sporting event

In his course, the students discussed development patterns, oil trade and how Islam plays a role in the culture of the Middle East.

“It was really a holistic view of the two countries, looking at pretty much everything,” Brown said.

Another theme of the course centered around tourism and its effect on the countries.

“I think one of the most important things I learned is when we do go out of the country, it is very important to do your research and be mindful of the effect that you’re having in these different places,” Brown said.

Brown was able to experience what he was learning in class on a more personal level while living in the two countries and seeing the culture for himself. He said exploring the city of Muscat, Oman, was his favorite part of the program.

In Oman he discovered a new favorite food: a super sharook, which consists of lamb, french fries and garlic paste wrapped in bread. Brown liked this so much that he and his friends returned to the same restaurant multiple days to eat the sharook.

These experiences supplemented the material the students were learning in class and helped to paint a fuller picture of what life is like in each of the countries.

“[Studying abroad allows us to] step outside of our own culture and our own habits,” Brown said.

Read the full winter term article to hear the stories of two more students.

Interested in studying abroad this summer?

While applications are closed for many programs, the following are still accepting students: