(Travel Pulse) I’ve been living in Oman for close to a decade as an English Lecturer by day and a travel writer by night. I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the GCC during this time and can appreciate not only the beauty and culture while venturing to places such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but also the hospitality of the locals.
During my time living and traveling throughout the region, I’ve learned about various myths about the Middle East which need to be debunked.
Myth: It’s Not Safe
The biggest misconception about traveling to the Middle East that I hear is that it’s not safe. People are extremely concerned when I tell them that I not only live in the Middle East as a single Black woman but that I travel throughout the region solo also.
However, people are even more surprised when I tell them that I live in one of the safest countries in the world. Oman is ranked the fifth safest country in the world by the Internations 2021 Expat Insider survey. Other countries that rank high on safety indexes include the UAE and Bahrain.
Myth: It Is Unaccepting of People From Different Cultures
While Islam is the main religious staple throughout the region, that does not mean that people from other walks of life are unwelcome in the GCC. For example, Dubai’s population is made up of over 80 percent expatriates and many are Christian, Buddhist, etc.
You will find a variety of ethnicities, religions and cultures blended throughout the UAE. You can also find communities of people with different cultural makeups in other areas of the MENA region including Qatar and Kuwait.
Myth: Women Have No Rights
People would be surprised to see just how many women in the Middle East are thriving, living full, and abundant lives. I’ve lived in the region for almost a decade and have had women in director roles at the university I work for, seen loads of women heading organizations, and in most of the classes I teach, there are more young women than men.