As a 4th-year business student in Bangladesh, Tamanna sought an internship that would be more than just crunching numbers. Discovering Al Amana Centre’s volunteer opportunities, she was drawn to their vision of fostering religious tolerance, a cause close to her heart in a country with diverse religious and ethnic communities.
Curiosity Sparks Connections
Traveling alone to Oman in January, Tamanna eagerly embraced her intern role. Interacting with a diverse group from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, she learned about African American culture and shared her perspectives as a Muslim. Climbing mountains together, they bonded over their cultural differences, opening Tamanna’s mind to patience and acceptance.
Through hosting the New Brunswick Theological Seminary group, Tamanna began to realize how people are shaped by their society and surroundings. The fears and customs that were normal to them seemed completely foreign to her and vice versa. This insight sparked a personal transformation, encouraging her to be more patient, open-minded, and appreciative of cultures different from her own.
Friendships that Transcend Boundaries
Tamanna’s friendship with her roommate, Debbie Jin, an inspiring individual with a passion for change, motivated her to explore other religions. The Al Amana Centre staff’s patience and understanding, especially Catherine Armstrong, provided practical experience and showed her the potential of a career in NGOs.
As for Oman itself, Tamanna found it to be much more than just a little country in the Middle East. The Omanis she encountered made her relationship with Allah more loving than fearful, and she felt a deep connection to Islam in a way different from her experiences in Bangladesh. Omanis served as living proof that religious tolerance could thrive even in a conservative atmosphere. The people’s friendliness and hospitality touched her heart, and she cherished the conversations she had with Omani men and women about their culture and country. The breathtaking landmarks of Oman further solidified her desire to return to the country.
Empowered and Equipped
Tamanna’s volunteering experience was truly eye-opening, and she was eager to utilize this newfound understanding to connect with more people, learn about diverse cultures, and contribute to building peaceful communities where everyone can coexist harmoniously.
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