An Expat Guide To Meetups And Social Clubs In Oman
Published Monday January 15, 2018 (10:54:14)
The Sultanate of Oman, historically a seafaring destination, is a land of rich culture, and its oldest human settlement is known to have originated in the stone age. It is located along the Arabian Peninsula, and even though the country has undergone considerable urban development, its stunning natural landscapes and age-old traditions still prevail.
In the capital city of Muscat, the sea serves as a source of livelihood for the local fishermen. The city is also an important seaport for vessels that voyage along the Strait of Hormuz. Salalah, another of Oman’s main cities, is known for its banana plantations and beaches. The inland city of Nizwa was once the capital of Oman, and is home to the country’s largest falaj, an irrigation system dating back to ancient times. Other popular cities of Oman include Sur, famed for its dhows (handmade wooden boats); Sohar, which legend says is the birthplace of Sindbad the Sailor, the fictional hero of Arabian literature; and Bahla, which is home to the grand Bahla Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Oman has largely embraced modernity, but retains a quaint charm that is evident in its old forts and busy souks, which sell everything from jewelry to frankincense. Vast petroleum reserves were found in Oman in 1964, and ever since then, the money derived from these resources has been utilized in developing the country’s infrastructure. Today, Oman plays a significant role in the world as an oil-producing country, and the petrochemical industry provides employment to a large portion of the population. Many parts of the Middle East are in a tumultuous state due to domestic and regional conflicts, but Oman remains a stable and secure destination.
Even though the government is making efforts to hire more local labor, a measure that has led to more visa restrictions in recent years, there is still a large expat community in Oman, and jobs continue to be available for expats. The expat community has established various support groups to help new arrivals to settle in, socialize and network with each other. The city of Muscat, in particular, is home to a thriving expat community, and many organizations and social clubs can be found here. Smaller towns may be limited in their entertainment options, but even these towns usually have an expat population that organizes social events on a regular basis.
Meetups In Oman
Meetup.com is a place for people to find others who share a particular interest. It helps individuals create local community groups and organize face-to-face meetings. The groups range from adventure-seekers to professionals looking to network. While some meetups may occur only a couple of times, there are others that are organized regularly. Many expats find such meetups an ideal way to make new friends, explore new experiences and discover new places. Through meetups, many expats have made personal and professional contacts that have turned into lasting relationships even after they have moved out of the country.
Sohar Expats Meetup
This meetup group is for expats living and working in the city of Sohar. It offers a chance for like-minded individuals to engage in social gatherings and activities in different locations. There are also events just for women, such as the ladies’ night out, and other activities such as yoga classes or coffee afternoons.
Expats who love an adventure will find this group interesting, as it organizes activities such as sailing, skydiving, rock climbing and kite surfing. It is run by Ub-Cool, an online adventure-booking platform which brings together people who share a love for adventure and want to challenge each other. This is a fun way to explore the city of Muscat and meet other expats and local people in the city.
The world of digital and social media is booming across the globe, and the Gulf region is no exception. Muscat Digital is a group for those who work in the digital and social media fields, and also for those who simply enjoy social media. It is especially beneficial for those who want to stay updated with the latest in digital marketing trends and new technologies. Professionals who work in digital marketing firms and those who are assigned with handling digital marketing for their companies will find this group a useful way to network and share experiences. The organizer of the group recently moved out of Muscat and was looking for a Muscat resident interested in acting as co-host to organize local events, which may be of interest to organized expats!
Muscat Adventures And Social Club
This is a looser, less strictly focused group, meant simply for all those living in Muscat who wish to socialize and explore new adventures.
Startup Grind Muscat
Startup Grind is a worldwide startup community that also meets in Muscat. It is aimed at providing a platform for entrepreneurs to connect and learn. There are monthly events open to anyone interested in startups.
Spanish In Muscat
Expats interested in the Spanish language will enjoy being part of this group, which organizes events where members can get together and practice their Spanish through fun and interesting methods such as reading poems and articles.
Non-native speaking expats and locals who want to improve their spoken English and practice their conversational skills will find value in this group, where members meet to share interesting stories in English.
Social Clubs In Oman
Oman has a number of societies and groups that play an important role in connecting expats in the country with one another. Some of these cater to nationals of specific countries, although most keep their membership open to all. Oman’s ministry of social affairs, labour and vocational training monitors all local and international community clubs functioning in the country, and establishes regulations that they must abide by in order to serve the purpose for which they were established.
American Women’s Group
Established in 1975 by the wife of the US Ambassador at the time, this group began with 20 American women as members, but has now grown into a much larger and more varied community of women from different nationalities. The American women’s group conducts charity activities and has a political-economic department. Members work to promote interaction between communities and cultures in an effort to gain a better understanding of local Omani traditions.
Australians And New Zealanders In Oman
This group serves the important purpose of bringing together Australians and New Zealanders living in Oman, and is especially beneficial as neither of these countries have embassies in the country. The association promotes social interaction through events unique to both Australia and New Zealand, such as Australia Day and Waitangi Day. They also organize events that include the broader community in Muscat, including the annual ANZO Ball, where people of various nationalities get together with Aussies and New Zealanders for a celebration.
Caledonian Society Of Oman
This is the oldest expat society in Oman, and was established in 1976 to provide a sense of home to the Scottish community in the country, a role it continues to fulfil. The society is now open to those who are simply interested in the Scottish life – membership is available to people of all nationalities.
Environmental Society Of Oman
Formed in 2004, the Environmental Society of Oman brings together Omanis from different parts of the country and from various professional fields. Expats with an interest in environmental conservation and the preservation of the local natural heritage are encouraged to become members.
Indian Social Club Goan Wing
This society is affiliated to the Indian Social Club, which is at the forefront of organizing social and cultural activities in Oman involving the Indian community. The Goan wing enables the community of Goan people in Oman to connect with each other, and puts the interests of this community before official organizations to find solutions to commonly faced issues. The wing also aims to encourage young people to explore Goan culture and the Konkani language while away from their native land.
Serving as a support forum for families based in Muscat, this group provides various useful services, such as support groups, playgroups and social events. It is tied up with a range of shops, restaurants, relocation services and health facilities across Muscat, and offers its members discounts at these enterprises.
A choral group that performs twice a year in the city, this group is open to anyone interested in singing, and holds rehearsals on Sunday evenings.
Oman Irish Society
The Oman Irish Society was formed to promote Irish culture through social, cultural and educational events. It aims to connect the present and future generations of Irish people in the country and bring them together as a community. It also serves as an important source of information for expats thinking about relocating to Oman. The Oman Irish Society welcomes all new expats to the country.
South African Group Oman
The South African Group Oman or SAGO is open to South Africans and others in the region, and organizes monthly social events for the community, ranging from casual get-togethers to outdoor excursions and festive celebrations.
Latin Dance Muscat
Expats with a love for dance can join Latin dance Muscat, a group dedicated to Latin dance forms. It organizes classes in Latin dance such as salsa, bachata and tango, and also stages social gatherings.
Muscat Arabian Foxes Hockey Club
Located in Madinat Qaboos in Muscat, this friendly field hockey club has members of different nationalities, ages and skill levels. Men and women can join the club and partake in hockey events played against various other expat and local clubs.
Muscat Diving And Adventure Centre
Novice and professional divers can join the Muscat diving and adventure centre, which conducts activities such as sea kayaking, sailing, canyoning and scuba diving. The club is open to all, and provides all the necessary equipment for its activities.
Bangladesh Social Club
Catering to the ever-growing Bangladeshi expat community in Oman, the Bangladesh social club has branches in Muscat, Salalah, Sohar, Barka and Sur. The club has played an active role in facilitating the cultural needs of the Bangladeshi community and exploring solutions to various issues it faces. The club also provides aid to the needy and to victims of traffic accidents.
Pakistan Social Club
Formed in 1992 as a non-profit institution, the Pakistan social club was created to encourage cultural and social camaraderie within the Pakistani community in Oman. It organizes sporting events and welfare, educational and religious awareness activities. Members can seek financial help from the club in case of any mishap, and can also receive support for visa issues.
Sri Lankan Community Social Club
Founded in 1997, this club aims to meet the cultural and sporting needs of Sri Lankan expats living in Oman. The club owns a spacious ground at the Oman automobile association in Seeb, where it has various facilities, such as a volleyball court, a children’s playground and a performance stage.
The Filipino Community Social Club
A social club dedicated to Filipino expats residing in Oman, this social club serves the purpose of strengthening the relationship between the Filipino and local Omani communities. It caters to its members’ recreational, social and cultural needs.
Golf Clubs In Oman
Golf has recently become popular in Oman, and the country is already gaining a reputation as a leading golfing destination. The Challenge Tour and the MENA Golf Tour both have their finals in Oman. The winter months, from September to May, offer the best golfing conditions, and expats interested in the sport can choose from three 18-hole championship courses in the country, each providing a unique golfing experience. Here are two of the top golf clubs in Oman.
Ghala Valley Golf Club
The Ghala Valley golf club offers individual, family and corporate membership, and houses an 18-hole course set against the panoramic Al-Hajar mountains. Featuring narrow fairways, the course offers challenges for golfers of all levels. The clubhouse, overlooking the course, is open to members only, and is a great place to relax with food and drink after a bout of golfing.
Muscat Hills Golf Course
This is the first 18-hole grass course to be created in Oman, and spans 45 hectares of land that offer stunning sea views. The clubhouse is comfortable and spacious, with practice facilities that include a putting green for members and guests.
Have you lived in Oman? How did you make friends there? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!
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