Muscat: The United Kingdom is still popular with Omani students seeking higher education, participants of a reception held by the University of Kent said.
The University of Kent officials had paid a short visit to the Sultanate to reach out to prospective students, government organisations and other universities.
“We are looking to increase our engagement with the Middle East in general and Oman in particular. Not only to draw new students to our university, but also to make sure our research is known here and to look for possible partnerships with other universities,” Dr. Anthony Manning, dean for Internationalisation, said.
The University admits about 40 Omani students a year. Popular courses are Business, Law, Biosciences and Architecture, Manning told the Times of Oman.
He added that the University is also interested in starting exchange programmes with Oman. While Omani students could come to the UK to study, British students could spend some time at an Omani university. “We have a growing Arabic section at our university, so there might be opportunities here,” he said.
Khalid Al Raisi, who earned a Masters in Business Administration from the UK last year, said the country is still attractive to Omanis seeking to develop themselves.
“The level of education and competence of the staff is of a high standard. In Oman, we have an excellent schooling system, but the experience of the staff in the UK allows them to have the upper hand,” he stated.
Asked what he missed most from Oman while staying in the UK, Al Raisi said he had missed his family the most. “But fortunately, you start meeting new people, which makes it very interesting,” he said.
He said when he studied Mechanical Engineering in the UK in the 80s, it was much more difficult to stay in contact with his family in Oman. “Nowadays, we have social media, which make things much easier. Back then, when I arrived in the UK, it was so much different from Oman these days. It was a culture shock.”
Mubarak Al Balushi, who hopes to pursue a Masters degree in Broadband in the UK, said he is looking forward to studying there. “The advantage of spending time there is that my English language skills will improve. Contact with people from different nationalities will enhance my knowledge of other cultures,”