OTC students embark on a Noble mission

The Oman Tourism College recently dispatched 60 student volunteers on an international community development exchange programme as part of its goals to coalesce academics and learning with practical life experiences. Participating students volunteered through the college’s club called ‘Noble Oman’ – a volunteering and exchange network that was established to provide an avenue for students to enhance their studies through extra and co-curricular activities.The club’s international volunteer exercise commenced in July this year and includes a total of four trips to Sri Lanka, Japan, Thailand and The Philippines. The Sultanate’s national carrier sponsored the club’s flights to Sri Lanka.

Commenting on the significance of the Noble Club and its activities,Dr. Abdulkarim Al Mughairi, Dean, OTC, said, “One of the primary goals of this academic institution is creating a learning environment that draws on real life experience, one that cultivates a culture of discipline and respect for the community, the environment and people. These also form the founding principles of the ‘Noble Oman’. It is aptly named sincethe word ‘Noble’ carries the same meaning as its Arabic counterpart ‘Nabil’. We characterise any activity that inspires lifelong learning and the opportunity to effect positive as ‘noble’.While a considerable amount of the club’s initiatives are concentrated on local drives, we also periodically send its members on volunteering work overseas to expand their horizons by being part of international work camps.”

The activities outlined by the international work camps centered primarily around environment and habit conservation, engaging in sustainable economic ventures, fostering cultural exchanges that taught participants the way of life of the indigenous people and how to practice sustainable tourism.

The camps gave students an opportunity to delve into the heart of a country’s cultural ethos by adopting its way of life, such as in Sri Lanka where students worked on organic farms and visited families of the local community. In Thailand, member volunteers worked with the International Volunteers for Social Development Association (DaLaa) on marine life preservation and sustainable fishing.

“The way in which the club ‘Noble Oman’ is set up gives its student members invaluable insight on a multi-cultural level. Volunteers get the chance to learn lots of about themselves and how to live with limited resources. The club works in tandem with the objectives of the college to provide students with a learning experience that transcends academic accomplishments. The activities of the club are also important because they open up opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in hospitality and tourism,” emphasised Dr. Don Anton, Co-Curricular Activities Coordinator.

Since the commencement of the programme, there have been four groups that were chosen for the volunteer exchange expedition out of which the group sent to Japan has returned.