The University of Kentucky is one of America’s first universities to receive students from the southwest Asian state of Oman.

This is part of a five-year scholarship agreement with the nation’s Ministry of Higher Education. UK welcomed 50 undergraduate students to campus last week.

Most of the foreign students are expected to register in engineering, computer science and business courses in January 2012.

An intensive English language program at their respective universities preceded this development.

Our Center for English as a Second Language has increasingly become an integral part of the academic program at UK, as we seek to provide academic advising even before the students matriculate into credit-bearing courses.” – Susan Carvalho UK associate provost for international programs

Oman’s Ministry of Higher Education created a scholarship fund, sponsored by the Sultan, to provide 1,500 merit-based undergraduate scholarships to its 2011 high school graduates.

500 of these grants are for U.S. study.

The Ministry plans to offer 500 U.S. scholarships each year, with the goal of awarding 2,500 U.S. scholarships over the next five years. Students who are designated to receive scholarships to the U.S. are the top performers of all scholarship recipients, as determined by their high school exam results.

Some of the Omani students will be housed in UK’s Global Village living-learning residence hall, where they can live alongside U.S. students who have expressed an interest in global communities.

Other U.S. universities hosting Omani students include California State-Long Beach, University of South Carolina, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Washington State University, University of North Texas, University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of Tulsa, San Diego State University, Oregon State University, Ohio University and the University of Minnesota.