The Faculty of Business and Economics at the German University of Technology in Oman partnered this year with Outward Bound Oman to run the annual International Business and Service Management students’ excursion. The International Business and Service Management programme is a four-year business degree focusing on the tourism sector. In the first year students study a module on Tourism Geography of Oman; the module includes a mandatory field trip to one of Oman’s many tourism destinations.
“In the previous years we only focused on familiarizing the students with Oman’s many tourism assets and encourage them to critically assess it; we did not focus on capacity building or character building specifically. Our collaboration with Outward Bound Oman has managed to combine our academic goals with the great programme of character building and life skills development, enabling the students to not only discover Oman, but also discover themselves, GUtech is privileged to have established this partnership with Outward Bound Oman”. Said Dr. Heba Aziz head of the department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management.
Outward Bound Oman uses the outdoor environment to physically and mentally challenge the young participants, and to help them develop the key life skills sought by employers, thus helping bridge the gap between educational environments and the workplace. The Outward Bound/Tahaddi initiative is a first for the Middle East region, and recognises the importance of training and development for local people, and supports the commitment by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, to develop the nation’s human resources in accordance with Oman’s Vision 2020.
This year’s trip took place between the 2nd and 5th January 2017 to Wadi Al Abyad. Thirty-eight students studying in their first year participated; during the trip the students carried all the supplies including water and sleeping equipment, prepared their own food, and had to draw on qualities like teamwork, initiative, communication and perseverance to solve a series of problems and challenges.
Taif Al Kindi, a student studying international business and tourism commented:
“This excursion is an experience that I will never forget, it taught me a lot about myself that I didn’t know. How to work with a team and most importantly to stick as a team at the end of the day. To test my limits, even when I think that I can’t go anymore. I realize that nothing can stop me and that I am my only competitor”. The students were accompanied by a number of leaders from Outward Bound, and Ms. Amjaad Al Hinai a GUtech Alumni and currently a lecturer at the department: “I was able to see the student develop and grow in the four days – the change was almost instant, we are committed to continue exposing the student to out of the classroom experiences” said Ms. Hinai.