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You would never have guessed the band of more than 20 Omani students had just spent the last day traveling half way around the world. They chatted with their University of Wisconsin Oshkosh hosts. They lined up for a quick photo with Chancellor Richard Wells after his welcome remarks. They wielded camera phones, busily documenting the refreshments spread out on a Pollock Alumni House table.

Each moment, each detail represented a new experience in a new country on a new campus.

“We should take every chance to benefit from what we are doing, whether it’s in the classroom or in Oshkosh or in the state,” said Aflah Khalfan Al-Hadhrami, the students’ faculty escort.

Energetic and eager to learn, the student delegation from Oman’s University of Nizwa seemed ready to dive head first into the six-week academic and cultural experience the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh had in store for them.

Wells and a contingent of UW Oshkosh faculty and staff representatives welcomed the more than 20 students from the flourishing University of Nizwa on June 4. A day-long campus tour and a brief welcome reception kicked off their multi-week summer exchange program, “Global Horizons.”

Last summer, the first wave of Nizwa students participated in the program – a program borne out of a long-lasting partnership and friendship that has existed between the two academic communities and schools since the mid-1990s. Into July, the students will take classes taught by UW Oshkosh College of Business Professor Jeff LaVake and will participate in off-campus cultural excursions, including a trip to Washington D.C.

Global Horizons’ seeds were first planted when UW Oshkosh Chancellor Emeritus John Kerrigan first visited Oman as an academic consultant on behalf of the U.S. State Department in the mid 1990s. Collaborations in the development of a higher educational system in Oman led to the creation of the University of Nizwa – a university that has flourished since its 2004 birth, growing from about 1,000 students to more than 8,000 in just eight short years.

“We just really, really admire what the leadership – the chancellor, others, the students and everyone – have done to put together this phenomenal University,” Wells told students during their welcome reception.

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An entirely new, from-the-ground-up University of Nizwa is being constructing about five miles outside the city of Nizwa.

Meanwhile, with the support of the institution and the Omani government, Nizwa students have enjoyed the educational and cultural opportunities Global Horizons has provided.

Last summer, in addition to their high-impact business and marketing classes, students learned about Wisconsin culture and commerce through visits to modern dairy farming operations, trips to area museums and behind-the-scenes peeks at corporate and family-owned Fox Valley manufacturing businesses.

The educational and cultural exchange that is the foundation of Global Horizons has tremendous benefit for UW Oshkosh learners, too, Wells stressed during the June 4 reception.

“As much as we hope to help with your continuing education in broadening your education, you must understand just your presence here at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh – and hopefully you’ll have an opportunity to engage other faculty staff and students – enhances our education as well.”

Read more – University of Nizwa students at UW Oshkosh in 2011:

 

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