Enlightened Encounters

Oman and UAE

Duration 11 days
Suggested group size 12 - 20 students / 2 Envoys Field Staff
Suggested ages 15 - 18
Experience Islam & From Desert to Dynamo


Enlightened Encounters: Understanding Islamic Context in Oman and the UAE

Oman & UAE

The Arabian Peninsula boasts diverse landscapes, rich history, and unique cultures. Oman is home to historical and cultural sites, with Jebel Akhdar mountains and Musandam Peninsula beaches offering natural beauty, while Dubai blends modern and traditional culture, and dazzles visitors with modern architecture and luxury shopping. This program dives headfirst into comparing and contrasting these locations in the Middle East and allowing students to deeper their understanding of these cultures.

“Desert whispers tales of ancient trade routes, modernity meets tradition in a dance of innovation.“


“Beneath the skyline of Burj Khalifa and amidst Oman's serene landscapes, the Arabian Peninsula unfolds as a realm where history and ambition converge.“


Impact Statement Everywhere we go, we carry a promise – to engage with respect, act with purpose, and leave a positive imprint. As envoys of our journey is more than travel; Our footprint is light, but our impact is profound, creating bridges of cooperation and mutual growth across the globe.

Day 1

Students fly to Dubai and then to the enchanting city of Muscat. After a safety briefing, we take an early “exploratory walk” in the area. We return to our accommodations and begin our discussion of the programmatic lenses of inquiry, collaborating to build a set of guiding questions together.

Day 2

We visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, where we engage with the conservative Ibadism community to understand how they balance austerity and peace amidst modernization. Additionally, we immerse ourselves in Omani culinary traditions, learning to cook and savor the diverse flavors of Omani cuisine.

Day 3

We visit the Bait Al Zubair Museum, and stroll along the Mutrah Corniche’ vibrant shops, mosques, and homes. Our destination is the famous Muttrah Souq, known as the "Market of Darkness" for its dense alleys, where students engage with locals and explore the bustling marketplace. We discuss the souk

Day 4

We depart early for Sur, stopping along the way to enjoy fishing village of Quriyat and the Bimah sinkhole. We arrive at the desert oasis of Wadi Arbayeen, and discuss environmental sustainability, relating it to Oman's governance. In Sur, known for its Dhow building, we visit a local shipbuilder.

Day 5

Midway through the program, we reflect on our travel journey. We journey through eastern Oman, arriving at the breathtaking landscape of Sharqiya Sands, where the Bedouin and their camels roam amidst the copper-colored sands stretching endlessly across the horizon.

Day 6

We wake early for a full day of adventure in the Sharqiya Sands: sand boarding, camel rides, learning from local Bedouin tribes members, and playing in the beautiful dunes. We head back to Muscat early evening to prepare for our flight in the morning to Dubai.

Day 7

We fly to Dubai and explore the city's architecture and engineering feats. Our visit includes the Miracle Garden, a project spanning 775,000 square feet and featuring 45 million flowers arranged in elaborate designs, a testament to Dubai's innovative spirit amidst its harsh desert environment.

Day 8

Students explore Dubai's diverse museums in small groups, each accompanied by a chaperone. Options include the Museum of the Future, Dubai Museum, Women’s Museum, and more. Later, we gather at the Burj Khalifa to learn about its innovative design and cultural significance, and have dinner there.

Day 9

On our last day, we visit the Falcon Hospital followed by the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. After lunch, students explore the global village, visiting Old Dubai, and tasting date coffee at local markets. We end the day with a program debrief and reflection workshop.

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Lenses of Inquiry



We seek to build a better comprehension of the faith of Islam, practiced by one-fifth of the world, its contributions to history and civilizations, the issues that affect the development of contemporary Muslim society, and the factors that shape and determine international politics and relations.



The Basic Law of Oman considers the protection of the environment and prevention of pollution a social principle and responsibility of the State. We study how this principle is carried out, and the degree to which the nation is succeeding at preserving biodiversity, natural reserves, and ecosystems.



The discovery of oil reserves has transformed the region, resulting in high per capita income but also stark societal inequalities. Students explore cultural differences between the US and the Arab world and analyze its human geography to grasp varying living conditions and societal dynamics.


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