What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
How long have you lived there?
What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?
If there is an American Women's Group (AWG), or other English-speaking group of women, join them, even if it doesn't sound like your thing. You will find a vast amount of knowledge, experience and advice, as well as new friends there. Although it sounds exclusive, our AWG has members from all over the world, including our host country, so you will make new contacts from a variety of locations. Also, if you have school-age children, immediately get involved in the school's parent volunteer or PTA program and volunteer for a committee...you will make friends faster, and that will be your saving grace on those days you feel homesick.
In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.
The Omanis are actually a small percentage of the people in this city, as labor is mostly imported from other countries such as India, the Phillipines, Sri Lanka and others. In addition, many of the technical experts here are imported from Europe and the United States. The Omanis appear to be very friendly and tolerant and even interested in the differences of the Europeans and Americans; however, the laborer tend to be looked down upon.
What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?
Petroleum development is the main industry here, with many of the expat jobs revolving around that.
In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?
The Omani citizens appear to be very family oriented, with God (Allah) playing a major role in their lives. Although Islam is the main religion, there are other houses of worship in this country, including Protestant, Catholic, Hindi and others. We are asked to respect the Muslim holidays. However, we are not expected to fast during Ramadan, just to be respectful of their culture and eat in private, etc. The country has moved into the modern age, with cell phones, email and other modern technology and services.
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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.
Oman is a very nice place to live. The houses are extremely large and beautiful and the climate here is safe and friendly. I would want to point out, however, that the temperatures are not as friendly. From March through October temperatures in the city appear to range from 98 F. to 125 F. plus a humidity factor of about 75-84%, or more. For the serious sports enthusiast, this means moving to indoor activities or swimming in pools that get so hot they have to be cooled for swimming. Houses are equipped with numerous air conditioners, as are all restaurants in the city, so it is not a hardship when indoors. It is even hotter if you are working in the desert! However, in November through February, the temperatures moderate and trees and flowers are planted everywhere. Driving here can be treacherous, as the drivers drive fast and very recklessly. The international schools here are excellent and there are many groups and activities available for everyone. All in all, this is a very nice place to live.