By: Annum Soomro, Foster Undergraduate who participated in the Gulf Study Tour to Oman and Qatar
There were many eye-opening moments during the Gulf Study Tour in both Oman and Qatar, but one particular experience at the German University of Technology in Muscat, Oman still stays with me. I was thoroughly impressed and taken back by the students and faculty we met there during our visit. It almost seemed like we stepped into a different world when our group got a quick glance at Omani college students and observed that they were sincerely taking great strides to compete globally. Through the scope of the university, we were able to see the tremendous potential the country and in particular, its youth holds today which is often overlooked by western eyes.
During the visit, we got a student-led campus tour where we actually got to have one-on-one with Omani college students, most of them being women surprisingly. I found this time to be the most valuable in exchanging questions to learn more about the Omani student life, the college curriculum and if we shared similar concerns going into the workforce after graduation. Their answers were the same as any typical American college students, which helped me to realize that we were not as different as I had assumed initially. In fact, I found them to be quite diligent, sharp and hardworking individuals who interacted with the opposite gender comfortably and together they shared a strong passion to better their nation.
We later learned that the female to male student ratio was imbalanced because many male Omani students studied abroad for university. However, as a Muslim woman myself who was only one of the few graduates from my community to attend university – it was inspiring to see so many Muslim women pursuing male-dominated industries such as engineering or computer science. We all shared similar aspirations of studying diligently and attaining a scholarship to study abroad in the future. I was fortunate enough to study abroad through this trip and I only wished the best for Fatima and Nida, two of the girls I met that day. As my hero, Malala Yousafzai, states and I proudly stand for: education and women are the keys to success in moving a nation forward. I left GU Tech feeling inspired and hopeful for Oman, as the future lay in the hands of these powerful and empowering youth.