Central College Abroad announces its collaboration with Northwestern College to send students to Muscat, Oman, during the spring semester.
Central will facilitate the application process for Central students wanting to study with Northwestern. The Oman semester is operated with the Al Amana Centre in Muscat and partnered with the Reformed Church in America.
The program will require students to take courses in Christian-Muslim relations, introduction to Arabic and Oman culture and society, as well as an independent study with an Omani scholar.
Brian Zylstra, manager of on campus operations for Central College Abroad, explained the college’s interest in joining the program. “Northwestern approached us with this opportunity,” he said. “It was very intriguing to us because we have no locations in the Middle East, and the theme of the program is unique.”
Lyn Isaacson, associate dean for global education, is excited for Central students to broaden their global experiences.
“Student interest in the Middle East and in Islam continues to grow, and many are eager to participate in interfaith and intercultural dialog,” she said. “This program aims to build bridges of understanding and cooperation between cultures through its academic content and cultural immersion activities. Students who are selected will be able to achieve Central’s goals for global experiential learning in a part of the world where we do not have our own programs.”
Although located in the Middle East, Oman is known as one the most peaceful countries in the area. Zylstra affirmed that fear of traveling to the site is unnecessary. “Oman is a very calm and safe country with no threats to Americans, historically,” he said. “We did our own research, along with the reassurance of the program in Oman, as well as Northwestern.”
The program is only open to Central students, piloting a group with two students in spring 2013. In addition to classes, program participants will take excursions outside the city to hike Oman’s Grand Canyon, ride camels in the desert and swim in the region’s wadis.