By Kevin Stoda
This past 30 May 2016, 7 students from our Foundation Program were escorted by the English Language Forum to visit the campus of our neighboring Dhofar University, which is located only 3 to 4 kilometers from our Salalah College of Technology campus on the road to Thamriet in the Sa’ada section of Salalah.
Prior to this date, only one of the seven students from SCT had ever visited that DU campus–even though many of these same students live close nearby. (Over the past 3 years the English Language Forum has offered educational excursions to local museums, to the Port of Salalah, local factories, and even to visit colleges and schools around Salalah and as far away as Muscat.)
Field trips are exciting and engage all ages. Excursions like the one to DU bring participants out of their routines and give them the opportunity for meaningful educational experiences. Such educational excursions provide students opportunities for “hands-on learning.” For example, instead of just reading about how places are different and then possibly comparing them in writing class, students who visit another location can actually make their own observations and ask questions onsite, and/or even get to opportunity to try out some new activities for themselves while they are there.
NOTE: As students go on field trips or educational tours, they are taught by more people than their regular teachers. They can observe different ways of seeing and doing. The students are brought out into the community to interact with others–including, possibly, experts in their fields. By visiting a macaroni factory, by riding around the Port of Salalah, by hitting a local museum, and by speaking to a real persons who lives, works, or studies at a site or location, students are provided inspiring experiences that could not otherwise experience in the confines of the classroom.
Four female students and three male students from SCT’s Level 2 Foundation’s program courses were those who took part in this educational tour, organized by the English Club of Dhofar University Foundation program this last Monday morning in May. The group arrived on the DU campus at 9:30 and began a cross-campus tour shortly thereafter.
Student class leaders from Level 2 at Dhofar University met and escorted the SCT visitors around the campus, whereby the SCT students were actually invited into classrooms and attended a variety of different sessions. These included visits to IT classes, English classes, and Math classrooms in the Foundation program building. SCT students were encouraged to interact with staff and students whom they encountered at each stop.
The seven SCT students also visited the large campus library, which serves many other purposes, such as it operates the learning support centers, where students can get one-to-one tutoring upon demand for the many major areas of study on campus. It is also home to a large number of internet stations, study halls, and other research assistance for DU students and faculty.
Sucharitha Gopalan, the English Club coordinator at DU, was also a great help in sharing and introducing the SCT students to a great many facets of the campus–facets which they would not have learnt about otherwise from the tour. For example, she shared about how majors and degrees there are on the campus and about how many different countries students who attend Dhofar, come from. She also ordered the visitors food and refreshments to keep them going en route.
Near the end of SCT students’ visit, Sabiha Janjua, another coordinator of English Club activities at DU joined them with a group of male and female Level 1 students. They invited the SCT visitors to participate in a fun game of academic English competition. (The seven SCT students would have enjoyed playing longer and visiting more with the DU students, but the bus was waiting outside and it was time to return back to the SCT campus.)
A survey of the students who went on the trip was overwhelmingly positive. More than one student stated that the trip was “Impressive”. Most students also stated that the trip was well-organized, informative, and educative. They encourage other SCT students to take part in such activities in the future.