The Daily Gamecock

Omani Student Association celebrates country's national day

International organization showcases Oman's culture

Omani students reveled and rejoiced for the 41st annual Oman National Day Friday night at Gambrell Hall with food, music and cultural dancing.

The Omani Student Association invited students to join them in celebrating its country which, on Nov. 18, gained its independence from Portugal in 1650. The celebration also fell on the birthday of Oman’s sultan, Qaboos bin Said al Said.

“We just want to show our appreciation to the country who brought us here in the first place, and show appreciation for our leader [who] made all this change in the country the past 41 years,” said the association’s president Mazin al Masrouri.

He was also thankful of his country improving its education system since 1970.

“In Oman, they had two to three schools in 1970, but as you can see now there are students from Oman studying in the U.S.,” said al Masrouri, a third-yearwho has been at USC for three years studying chemical engineering student thanks to a full scholarship from the Omani government.

“So that’s just an example of how education has changed from 1970 to today.,” he added.

The Omani student population on campus remains minute with fewerless than 50 people, but al Masrouri said it’s great that more students are coming from the country.

“It’s really great to attract international students here, but it’s a different flavor when you have Omanis around you. It feels just like home,” he said.

Fourth-year international business and economics student Matthew Short, who has studied Arabic for six semesters, said that he thinks a lot of Omani citizens are attracted to come here and learn American business practices and take them back to Oman.

The United States’ education is indeed a key factor in attracting Omani students, according to al Masrouri.

“Coming to the U.S. is every Omani’s dream, because of the educational system here along with the opportunities that students have,.” he said.

The Omani Student Association not only wanted to celebrate the country but to expose other students to the culture.

Some of its members, draped in dishdashas, performed an Omani traditional performance called Alaazi. One person would lead with upbeat Arabic chants and the others would follow in unison.

Children wearing Omani clothing were escorted on display for Hawl Hawl, a cultural birthday celebration for Oman.

Other dancers performed Al-Barah, a choreographed routine with fake knives.

“They’re very interesting,” said Sandra Darden, a fourth-year exercise science student.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before. It was very entertaining. Very cultural.”

Short said going to this event is a good way to practice ArabicOmanitheir language and learn thetheir culture.

“It’s refreshing to hang out with them as one who studies Arabic,” he said.


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