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Interview with Anika – a South African expat living in Oman

Updated 17 Sep 2019

Anika is a South African expat living in Oman. After living in the Netherlands and South Korea, she was ready for a new life in the Arabian Peninsula. She now lives in Muscat with her husband and works as a teacher.

Read more about expat life in Oman in our Expat Arrivals Oman country guide.

About Anika

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I am originally from South Africa.

Q: Where are you currently living?
A: Muscat, Oman.

Q: When did you move here?
A: I moved to Muscat in August of 2018.

Q: Is this your first expat experience?
A: No, it isn't. I lived in the Netherlands for one year as an au pair back in 2012. I then moved to South Korea where I was an ESL teacher for three years. 

Q: Did you move here alone or with a spouse/family?
A: I moved here with my husband.

Q: Why did you move; what do you do?
A: I am a teacher. It's sad to say – but in my home country the challenges for teachers are way more than the rewards.

Living in Oman

Q: What do you enjoy most about Muscat? How would you rate the quality of life compared to your home country?
A: I love how safe it is! The people are friendly and really helpful. Also a big bonus, most people speak English fluently, which really makes day-to-day living easy.

Q: Any negative experiences? What do you miss most about home?
A: The heat. I love winter and here the lowest temperature is never below 20°C. I adapted quite quickly though.  

Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life here? Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
A: Lucky for me I have been around quite a lot, so the culture shock was not really a challenge. Oman is a very relaxed country.

Q: What’s the cost of living compared to home? Is there anything particularly expensive or particularly cheap in Oman?
A: I earn in Omani rial, so the cost of living is not that high for me. One thing I have learned is not to convert. The Omani rial is a very strong currency, which makes travelling quite cheap. Bonus!

Q: How would you rate the public transport in Muscat?
A: I have never used any public transport. I have seen buses, but have no clue what the routes are or how frequent they are. All of the expats here rent cars as soon as they set foot in the country (well, that is what we did).

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Muscat? Have you had any particularly good/bad experiences with regards to doctors and hospitals?
A: To be honest, I have never had to go to any healthcare facilities, but from what I have heard they are quite good.

Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in Muscat? What different options are available for expats?
A: There are many different housing options available depending on your budget. You can rent anything from a room, an apartment (furnished/unfurnished) to entire villas – it all depends on what you want to spend. However, because of the heat you do spend a lot of time indoors. So, a nice cosy home is definitely recommended.  

Meeting people and making friends

Q: How tolerant are the locals of foreigners? Is there obvious discrimination against any particular groups? Have you ever experienced discrimination in Muscat?
A: Not that I know of. In general the locals seem to like foreigners.

Q: Was meeting people and making friends easy? How did you go about meeting new people?
A: Yes it was easy, the school that I work at are mostly foreigners and there are a lot of South Africans. And if all else fails, Facebook has loads of groups that one can join.

Q: Have you made friends with locals or do you mix mainly with other expats? What advice would you give to new expats looking to make friends with the locals? 
A: I have not really made friends with the local people. On nights out you do see a lot of them and they are mostly nice. I’d say just go talk to them. They like expats and speaking English.

Working in Oman

Q: Was getting a work permit or visa a relatively easy process? Did you tackle the visa process yourself, or did you enlist the services of an immigration consultant?
A: My employer did all of that for me. I had to have a few things ready, but it was really quite easy.

Q: What is the economic climate in Muscat? Do you have any tips for expats looking to find a job? Which resources did you find most useful?
A: The easiest way to get a job is through an agent. They will guide you with absolutely everything. However, we got our job through a friend of a friend – so we sent our CVs directly to the school. We were lucky though, I would rather recommend working through an agency.

Final thoughts

Q: Is there any advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals to Oman?
A: My advice to anyone looking to work in Oman – COME!!  It is very rewarding and a very relaxed lifestyle. The people are helpful and kind. As long as you have an open mind and are willing to stick to a few basic rules, you will love it.

► Interviewed September 2019

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