Each year we fund two groups of four students to go and volunteer at the prestigious Sultan's School in Muscat, Oman, for three months (between September - December and January - March). The Gap Year Scheme offers these young people an excellent opportunity to learn about and explore Oman while gaining practical work experience and life skills.
The scheme now in its 12th year of operation, is open to British nationals who are either school leavers or who plan to take time to out between graduation and first employment. This post offers you an update on the impressions and experiences of our current scheme participants, who arrived in Oman this September.
Meet our current volunteers:
Rafe Burfield: has just finished his A-Level studies in History, English Literature and Geography. He has never previously visited the Middle East but first became interested in the region because members of his family had worked and lived there. After further study, he is interested in a career in the Foreign Office with a Middle East focus.
Manon Fraser: applied for the scheme after completing her undergraduate degree in International Relations at Durham University, where she was told about the opportunity by one of her professors. She visited Oman once with family and wanted the opportunity to explore the country in more depth and begin to learn Arabic. She is interested in pursuing a career in international relations with a Middle East focus.
Araminta Lyne: recently completed her A-Level studies in Classics, History and Religious studies. She is interested in a career in international development following University, and has applied to study at York. She has not previously visited Oman but was particularly interested in the country's 2040 Vision.
Elizabeth Steel: applied for the scheme after completing her undergraduate degree in Human, Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge. Her interest in Oman was piqued during her university studies and she wanted to use the scheme to develop this interest and experience the country's culture herself. She would like to pursue a career in foreign policy making.
Impressions from our students so far...
We have been overwhelmed by the warm welcome we have received at The Sultan’s School. During the weekdays we have loved meeting the children from all different years and learning more about Oman from them. The school has such a wide of range of extra-curricular activities available. Helping out in activities such as sports tournaments, setting up the International Award and the school production of Mary Poppins has been extremely good fun. We’ve especially loved meeting the scholars and have appreciated the cultural and linguistic exchange (as well as their patience in teaching us table football!). The bilingual nature of the school has given us a renewed appreciation for language learning and has inspired us to develop our Arabic.
On the weekends, and during half term, we have been lucky enough to travel around Oman, taking in some of the most incredible scenery. From camping on the beach near Tiwi, to wading through Wadi Al Arbeieen, as well as seeing camels and turtles for the first time, the experience has already massively exceeded our expectations. Over the next month, we have lots more planned, such as a trip to the Daymaniyat Islands and returning to the Nizwa Souq. We will be so sad to leave at the end of this term!
Our Gap Year Scheme is now taking final applications for January scheme participants (deadline 5 November 2023). Find out more here.