Jonathan Bentham, Oxford University

Submitted by admin on 07/02/2017
Person Name: 
Jonathan Bentham

In summer 2015 I was lucky enough to spend a month at the Sultan Qaboos College for teaching Arabic to non-Native speakers. This month bettered by knowledge of the Arabic language, both in an academic capacity and on a colloquial speaking level. It also gave me an in-depth introduction to Oman, its culture and some of its most attractive features. I found the morning classes contributed extensively to my understanding of media Arabic, focusing on current affairs and topic-specific vocabulary. This was followed up by one on two speaking sessions in the afternoon, where, besides gaining an insight into the Omani Colloquial dialect, I made a number of Omani friendships with my speaking partners. One of the highlights was being able to develop these friendships through a number of social activities, some focusing on culture and others on sport. A very memorable occasion was a multi-sport tournament held towards the end of my stay, where a number of mixed British-Omani teams took to competing in a variety of events from table-football to volleyball in an attempt to win the coveted sports trophy. In addition to the thrills of winning the team competition and making it into the national newspaper, experiencing the other, more competitive half of our teachers and language partners was thoroughly enjoyable. Other highlights included visiting al-Jabal al-Akhdar and a turtle sanctuary at Ras al-Jinz, which are testaments to the natural delights Oman has to offer, both at sea level and way above it. Our group was even lucky enough to witness the egg-laying of a sea-turtle, and following that, some previously hatched baby sea-turtles running down to the shore – something I only thought I'd ever see on TV. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me by the Anglo-Omani Society and for the hospitality shown to be by my Omani friends. Having seen what Oman has to offer, and coming towards the end of my degree, I hope to return in the near future.