I had just began my new life in Oman (a one year contract at an advertising agency and a shared villa living with other young professionals). I came into office one day and sat on my desk. My fellow colleague (one of very few staff in her mid twenties) walked right up to my desk. She had just found out after I had come from Canada. ” I just found out you have come all the way from Canada” she said. Excited that she had found out about my unique trait of being Canadian I replied with joy saying “Yes I have I am from Canada”. ” So why did you choose here? I mean you are coming from Canada of all places…to Muscat?” she replied with a very confused expression.
I was quite surprised by her comment although a part of me had seen this forth coming. Over the next few weeks I continued to be asked the same question by other colleagues and often friends of friends “why here?”.
I don’t know whether in the case of my colleague it was her age, her upbringing in Oman and perhaps her perception that Oman was not a thriving society for young people. Due to its small size there are limited number of nightclubs and bars. In her eyes and also many others I felt the western world particularly a country such as Canada was perceived as a utopia where the lifestyle and culture was more open upbeat and capitalistic.
Being an expat whose origins were from the developing world, I could see her point of view because life for expats in Oman is not as easy as it would be should they live in Canada. But I also came to a greater conclusion
Seeing home as ordinary
Flash back to 3 years ago, I was interning in Toronto. I met and befriended my fellow colleague, an international student from Paris, France.
She was living in downtown Toronto and loved her life and experience abroad. She developed a strong attachment to Toronto and Canada. My sister and I who were both close with her could not understand her admiration for the city. We had grown up in Toronto suburbs and our life was nothing out of the ordinary. She had came all the way from the romantic global city of Paris. Neither one of us had been to Paris but based on our experiences growing up in Toronto and our perceptions of Paris based on the media we were puzzled how anyone could trade in a life in Paris for one in Toronto.
The truth is anywhere you live that differs from your home will appeal to you. Unless the standards of living make it very difficult to appreciate life and your experiences there. The differences can be fascinating. The new experiences become far more meaningful. You grow much closer to the friends you make abroad. You turn to them for support and find yourself in great company. Having friends from a completely new culture can be eye opening and very rewarding.
In my first few days in Oman I could not answer this question with clarity. However, after residing there for one year and loving so many aspects of life there I can truly say I made a great choice in choosing to live in Oman.
Here are a few of many reasons you why I am glad I did and why if you can, you should choose Oman:
- If you have yet to go somewhere where people value community over individuality then choose Oman. People are friendly, welcoming and full of energy. You will make friends easily, you will easily get invited into peoples homes for dinner, and you will always feel like you are being taken care of.
- If your home country lacks pleasant weather then choose Oman. Gas is cheap. Weather is pleasant from October through April. There are plenty of places to see, all within easy driving distance from Muscat. Sun, sand, mountains, beaches, valleys, caves and more.
- If in your home country, you don’t get many opportunities to explore the native culture then choose Oman. One of the oldest civilizations in the Arabian peninsula, Oman has plenty to offer culture enthusiasts. Step inside a village, visit a local market, interact with an Omani local and you’ll learn just how rich the country’s culture is, just how diverse it’s local population is and just how many places have a historical past.
- If you prefer a more laid back lifestyle where you are not expected to work day and night, where you receive 30 days of vacation, and some 4 day long weekends then choose Oman.
The above mentioned are only a few of many comforts you will experience if you choose to move to Oman. I am not mentioning many other benefits of this beautiful country.
I will be posting many more pictures and posts about Oman. Stay tuned to discover more about this beautiful under-rated country.