|   May 10, 2021

 

 Foundation Institute

University of Nizwa

About Oman

Oman is a peaceful country in the Middle East inhabited by an ethnically diverse population of around 2.5 million citizens, plus about 2 million expatriate workers from a number of countries. Omani people are welcoming and friendly, and the country has a great variety of tourist attractions, rich local traditions and vibrant city life in Muscat and Salalah. It boasts unique natural places such as pristine beaches, remote islands, mountain ranges, wadis (valleys), deserts, salt plains, and wildlife natural reserves. The country’s landscape is interspaced with clay and brick watch towers, remnants of ancient settlements, as well as forts and castles. A particular noteworthy feature is the ancient irrigation system (afalaj) which turns swathes of barren desert into lush palm groves and farms. The country has two seasons and, in general, six months are very pleasant, four are hot and two can be truly scorching. Fortunately for most teachers, they are able to leave during the hottest time for the summer holidays (up to 48 days).

Oman fact file

Capital city

Muscat

Official language

Arabic

Currency

OMR - Omani Rial (one rial 2.60 USD) 

Religion

Islam 

Climate

Generally hot

Preparing to Come to Oman

Oman is a Muslim country with a conservative culture. Expatriates are advised by the university to dress modestly. Men should wear shirts and pants. Women should keep shoulders covered with long or mid sleeve tops and loose fitting slacks/pants, long skirts or dresses. All clothing should be loose, not form-fitting. Exposed knees and low-cut necklines are not acceptable. The weather for 6 months of the year is very hot, so light, but opaque, fabrics are advisable. Weather during the winter months is lovely, with warm, sunny days and cool nights. You will need a light wrap/jacket for evenings.

At the university

University representatives will take you to your level coordinator or the administrative director who will introduce you to the Director of the FI, his assistants and other staff members.

Check List

Here’s a check list that you’ll be able to complete with the help of your level coordinator and the Administrative Director:

  1. The Foundation Institute Policies and Procedures Booklet (FI P&P).
  2. A copy of the Message from the FI Director to all teachers.
  3. An e-copy of all staff names, emails, phones and offices.
  4. A list of useful contacts for utilities and emergencies.
  5. A copy of the Campus map.
  6. A copy of the Academic Calendar.
  7. Your office location and cabinet keys.
  8. Finding a flat/apartment
  9. Location of office or cubicle
  10. User name, password for your email address and Eduwave account. 
  11. Classroom cabinet key and CD player.
  12. Arrange transport to and from uni.
  13. Introduction to the teachers and to the program in general.
  14. Whereabouts of HR, PR, canteen, library, photocopy rooms, printing centre, main classroom buildings, TOEFL labs, etc.
  15. University email address. Please check your emails several times a day.

Your address

You can receive personal mail through the university address:

The University of Nizwa

Foundation Institute

P.O. Box 33 Birkat Al Mouz

Sultanate of Oman P.C. 616

 

 

Teaching hours

There are 20 contact hours per week, plus 6 office hours. Two of the six office hours must be spent in either Anjiz or Voice (see below).

Teaching materials

There are in-house-produced materials for all 4 levels in the FI. These include Student’s Book, Workbook and Teacher’s Book. Any deviation from the material contained in these books must be approved by the Level Coordinator first, to ensure suitability and that the stated outcomes are met.

 

Anjiz Self-study Centre

Here, students have access to computers, graded readers, language-learning materials, and one-to-one help when required. Facilities include two tutorial rooms with smart-boards, PCs and projectors. Special workshops such as Poetry and Book Club are always on offer, too.

Voice

Most hours of the day, FI students and major students can drop into the Voice room for casual conversation. Teachers are facilitators in this activity.

The first day in class

Make sure that you have your schedule, the semester syllabus, the students’ list and the materials for the level you will be teaching. If you don’t have any of these, contact your level coordinator immediately. 

When you first meet your students

Greeting people is very important in Arab culture. As you will notice in many aspects of life, local people engage in elaborate greeting exchanges before many daily activities. Thus, start the class by greeting your students and introducing yourself. Then ask the students to introduce themselves to you and each other.

Next, explain the attendance policy and circulate the attendance sheet and explain that they should sign in front of their names every class they attend. Do not expect to have a full attendance in the first week but you should start teaching as per the semester syllabi. If there are students in your class who are not on your list, please send them to Building 5 or contact your level coordinator unless they present you with a timetable with the Foundation’s blue stamp.

Breaks

A teaching session is 50 minutes. Usually, double sessions are timetabled. The students can take a 10 minute break after every 50 minutes, or a twenty-minute break after every 100 minutes. When to break is at the teacher’s discretion.

Essential requirements

1. Be in the classroom at least 5 minutes early.

2. Have a lesson plan in the classroom and outline it on the board for students.

3. Update your attendance records every day.

4. Check your email throughout the day.

5. Check your students’ list on Eduwave at least twice a week.

6. Be available for your students during your office hours.

7. Attend the weekly meetings or any other mandatory meetings.

8. Read the Policies and Procedures document for full details of requirements and procedures.

 

Driving tips

Type of vehicle

If you intend exploring the mountains and desert areas you will need a 4X4. If, however, you want a vehicle to get you to work, do the shopping or just drive around generally, then a normal two-wheel drive is sufficient.

Speed Limits and Cameras

The speed limit on all roads outside built-up areas is 120kph, although this is reduced to 100 for some stretches, so keep an eye on the road signs. In built-up areas, the limit may be 40 to 100. Most major roads are monitored by speed cameras, whether fixed or mobile. Cameras are also fixed to traffic lights. Check for fines on the ROP website, http://www.rop.gov.om/english.

 

Drive defensively

For example, when approaching a junction look in both mirrors as drivers may try to undertake you and turn off in the same direction as you. Another general rule for animals grazing on the roadside is that as long as they have their heads down they are eating and are not likely to dash across the road in front of you, but be cautious anyway.

Car Wash

It is illegal in Oman to drive a dirty car and you can be given an on-the-spot fine of 50 OR. There are carwash facilities at most major service stations in and around the Nizwa area.

Accidents

If you are involved in a traffic accident, it is best to contact the police immediately on 9999. Don’t move the vehicle until the police arrive to ensure that an accurate report is given, or they may fine you for moving it.

 

More information

For further, detailed information about settling-in procedures, please see the HR Handbook at

http://www.unizwa.edu.om/content_files/a3278989.pdf

Local Area map

FI Campus map

http://www.unizwa.edu.om/index.php?contentid=24