A group of students and two professors of the Department of Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development of GUtech recently attended a course in Tourism Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Stralsund and conducted field trips to different cities in Germany. The course and the tourism field trips were a compulsory part of the STRD studies at GUtech. “We visited the city of Aachen and GUtech’s parent university, RWTH Aachen University. Besides, from Aachen we did a number of day-trips to Bonn, Brussels and to Maastricht,” said Khalid al Wardi, 4th year STRD GUtech student. In the North German city of Stralsund the students attended a class in Strategic Tourism Marketing. GUtech and the University of Applied Sciences of Stralsund recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that includes student and academic exchange and co-operation in various fields. “We found that the teaching-style of the professors is very similar to GUtech. The best was to interact with the group of international students, who were from France, Russia and other countries,” said Lovelyn Aranha. The students feel that they have learnt a lot from the studies in Stralsund and the different trips. “There are certain lessons we can learn from Germany. The city of Aachen is one of the most modern cities we have seen. We saw, that it is possible to combine heritage and culture with the modern aspects of life in one city,” said Amjad al Hinai, 4th year STRD GUtech student. In her view, for example traditional Omani handicraft needs to be promoted with new ideas. “The Omani handicraft is not interpreted in an interesting way to the tourist. It needs to be used in an innovative way. We saw museums in Germany with a lot of interaction. In some German cities the tourist learns a lot while walking through the city,” said Amjad. Besides, the students visited a Technology and Innovation Park in Aachen. “If a student has a product idea, they would like to realise, they contact the incubator in the city of Aachen, where the students are taught how to realise the idea and how to start the business idea,” said Amjad al Hinai. In such a way many ideas, for example in alternative energy, were realised. During sightseeing-trips to different German cities, the students visited a number of museums, among them the Beethoven Haus in Bonn and the Oceanum in Stralsund. In Berlin the students visited the well-known district of Kreuzberg and they travelled by boat along the Spree. “In each city one or two of us had to be a tour-guide and inform the rest of the group about the different sites,” said Lovelyn. The students, who most of them travelled for the first time to Germany, are looking forward to more such visits and staying in contact with the international students they have met in Germany. According to their professors, the excursion will be held on a regular basis for all 4th year students of the Department of Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development at GUtech. “The international excursion enables them to gain first-hand experience with the travelling as well as transferring the acquired knowledge during their studies to real situations; eg not only organising a guided tour or using different modes of transportation, but learning how various tourism concepts and practices work in different geographical regions, cultures and societies; and how Oman could benefit from these. Students had to prepare for this trip as there were clear objectives to achieve,” said Professor Dr Adrijana Car, Associate Professor of the Department of Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development at GUtech. The university offers a four year BSc programme that combines business modules with tourism and geography.