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Students follow Oman's ancient trade route on study trip

The tree that most Americans associate with the Christmas season is actually an integral part of the Sultanate of Oman's ancient history of trade. The aromatic fragrance of frankincense, obtained from the Boswellia tree's bark, has been used in perfume and incense for millennia. Oman is known for producing the world's finest frankincense, once rivaling gold and silk in value and spawning a vital trade route that for centuries extended from Southern Arabia into West Africa and India.

Eleven University of Houston-Clear Lake students traveled to Oman earlier in January to study food and environmental security as well as learn more about Oman's culture and history. Their two-week trip, which ended Jan. 16, included a visit to the Museum of the Land of Frankincense in Salalah, the capital of Oman's Dhofar province. The museum, part of the Al Balid Archaeological Site, explores the city's maritime history in the spice trade.

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Studies Maria Curtis has led students on international study trips to Oman numerous times. Assistant Professor of Psychology Georgina Moreno and Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management Kathy Garland also accompanied Curtis and the students on the trip.

UH-Clear Lake's Education Abroad program offers students the opportunity to expand their view of the world, learn about other cultures firsthand, and gain invaluable interpersonal and communication skills.