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Nizwa and ELS

 
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Hass



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 25
Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:08 pm    Post subject: Nizwa and ELS Reply with quote

Hi All

I have just accepted a position at the ELS Nizwa and was wondering if any of you old timers in the Middle East, especially those who have worked for ELS or in Nizwa, could tell me more about the place.

I've read the threads on ELS but everything seems to be negative bar a couple of exceptions. Surely this can't be the case, can it?

About Nizwa itself, I know it's a small place and entertainment is going to difficult but nt too fussed about that. What I would really like to know is what are the people there like? I am of Indian origin but have spent my childhood and more in the UK. I read that they would treat Indian workers differently? Is this still the case?

Thanks for any information that you can give me.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16124
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2004 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Hass,

If you have been reading on the board, you probably know that I wouldn't choose to live in the Omani hinterlands. Smile I always enjoyed visiting Nizwa - it was a common weekend jaunt to visit the old traditional market. Hopefully, someone with actual Nizwa experience will come on, but until then I will put my two cents in.

As to how you may be treated differently because you are of Indian ancestry, it is rather difficult for me to gauge. I would say yes. But the different treatment may have pros and cons for you. Workers from the sub-continent have long filled the least desireable jobs around the Gulf, but also they have filled the schools and universities and management offices. For the most part Omanis are traditional people who treat everyone with respect.

That said, I had an Omani student at SQU who was bemoaning his low English level - and blamed it on the fact that they always skipped their English classes - not feeling that they needed to go because the teacher was Indian, not Omani. I have watched university managements show that they felt free to demand more from non-Western teachers than Western. Where you will fit into this situation is impossible for me to predict.

As a positive - and in particular if you are Muslim - the people may be more open and friendly to you because you are not 'Western.' Although we are normally treated politely, relationships are normally very formal.

All rather speculative I fear Smile

VS
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princessofquitealot



Joined: 05 Nov 2003
Posts: 38
Location: Malaysia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 7:54 am    Post subject: ELS at Nizwa University Reply with quote

After teaching summer school in Muscat from the middle of June to the middle of September I was moved to Nizwa to join the teaching staff of the new university in Nizwa. As might be expected, there have been a fair number of kinks involved but the amount of good faith shown by ELS is quite incredible. Today, Saturday, is orientation day for the students -- twice postponed, but now actually happening. Tomorrow -- Sunday is the placement testing for all students. The number of students doesn't appear to be actually known, but about 1000-1100 is the estimate, and yes, it is anticipated that 85-90% will be young women. In my view, this is very good news as women appear to be more serious about their studies.

I have been provided excellent accommodation. So far, transportation has been furnished for all teachers without their own vehicles. The contract includes an allowance of OMR50 a month for transportation, so ELS is not really obliged to provide this. However, the university campus is 15-25 km. away from the various teacher accommodations. Teachers have been billeted in various apartment buildings -- some close to the souq, some in areas towards the university. Every apartment that I have seen is better than any provided-accommodation I have had in the past. ELS is also providing the basic packet of sheets, cutlery, etc. and it is all brand new.

So I have been living in Nizwa for almost a month (and being paid, although I haven't been actually teaching). The teachers have all been doing tasks designed to keep us busy and lay some groundwork for the first few months of actually teaching.

Nizwa is about 150 km. from Muscat. The highway is excellent and the distance is easily covered in an hour and a half by car. For those without their own vehicles, there are shared taxis which are incredibly cheap.

Many people in Nizwa speak at least some English. I have experienced some extreme helpfulness during my short time here, and overall the people have been very friendly. You can get pretty much anything you might need in Nizwa, but there are some things you would want to shop in Muscat for. There are no big stores here but there are lots and lots of small stores. The cost of goods seems quite inexpensive.

I can't respond to your question about your Indian heritage, but I think VS covered that for you. Please PM me if you have any specific questions you think I might be able to answer.

PoQaL
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16124
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Princess!!

Thanks a lot for the great information. It all sounds pretty good so far. I hope you will update us regularly and let all of us know the good and bad.

That is quite a long commute. I wonder why they put the campus so far away?? Of course, I wondered the same thing about SQU - which was in the middle of nowhere for a long time - though Muscat seems to be sprawling its way out there slowly. Smile

We await more info when you can pass it on to us.

VS
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Hass



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 25
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 7:11 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the Info Reply with quote

Hi princessofquitealot,

Thanks for the information that you provided about Nizwa and ELS to me and I am looking forward to being in Nizwa a little bit more now and re-assured.

Thanks again.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16124
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hass,

Please do share your experience there with us too!!

Good Luck - to both of you.

VS
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