A change in climate: from Oman to “oh, man”

Nibras Al-MawaliNibras Al-Mawali
Age: 18
Home: Muscat, Oman
Major: Communication Studies
Hobbies: Drawing; playing piano and guitar
Favorite saying: “A bird in your hand is better than ten in the tree.”

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Nibras Al-Mawali looks out the windows of the Selleck Residence Hall, sighing as he notices the flurries still falling. He’s not used to this weather; it never snows in Oman.

A native of Muscat, the capital city, Al-Mawali says it rarely ever drops below 60 degrees and can get as hot as 120. Yet, here is Al-Mawali, in a black beanie, dark-wash jeans and leather jacket, preparing for the wrath of a Nebraska winter.

This is his second year attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an international student; he hopes to stay here until he finishes school, most likely in two years, but maybe more.

Al-Mawali is majoring in communication studies, but like many UNL students, he plans to change his major.

“I want to study architecture or mechanical engineering, but the system in Oman says you have to get certain grades to major in engineering, and I didn’t do well in math or physics, so they said if you want to study in the U.S. you have to do communications,” Al-Mawali said.

The self-described introvert admits that socializing was hard at first, but he has made a lot of long-lasting friendships since coming to Nebraska.

“I didn’t know anyone before I got here, but I came with 40 other Omani students, so we got to know each other on the plane and we’re all still friends,” Al-Mawali said.

Al-Mawali spends his free time playing the piano and drawing, but when he’s home in Oman, he finds comfort in just being with his family. With three brothers, a sister, and a mom who works two jobs, staying home and just catching up is his favorite pastime.

Many Omani students study abroad and pursue a college degree in the United States because they believe the education system is better here than back home.

Al-Mawali plans to apply for a job in the U.S. after he graduates — most likely in a city where it doesn’t snow.

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