Samia Sohail Azim
Sister2Sister Exchange Program
I was selected for an 8-week undergraduate research program at Purdue University through the Sister2Sister Exchange program. It was a fully funded program where they took care of our travel, living expense, food etc. Here's the link for the S2S page: https://www.sister2sister.pk/
My research project was titled "Aiding farm operations with artificial intelligence chatbot" and my work was done in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department.
My summer at Purdue was a once in a lifetime experience where I made tons of memories and friends from across the world. It was also my first time doing research where I learnt how to conduct research, how to write technical papers and how to present your work to the general audience. I learnt a great deal from my professors, my graduate mentors and my peers and went through a lot of personal growth as well.
UGRAD Spring 2022 | Millikin University
I had always wanted to experience life in a peaceful city and a small college. Global UGRAD-Pakistan not only granted me this wish but also let me experience the college and dorm life as I never had much of that in IBA. By the end of these 4.5 months, Decatur and Millikin started feeling like home to me. It wasn’t about the place as much as it was about the people. The professors, the friends, the friendly faces that I had started to recognize and smile at even if I hadn’t ever talked to them. It was nice to go out and strike a conversation with literally anyone and everyone. Everyone loved to know where I was from and the culture of Pakistan which would result in a conversation about how Pakistan and America are similar and different in many ways.
This past semester was full of thrill and experiences either it be travelling through the United States, making last minute Uno night plans with friends or visiting historic places and music events. However, it would be fair to say that the thing I will miss the most about my whole experience will always be the professors and how normal it was to form a bond with them and talk to them about anything.
I was 1 of the 260 students selected for this program out of a pool of 20,000 applicants throughout Pakistan and I am happy to say that I graduated my Spring semester at Millikin with a 3.94 GPA.
All the credit goes to USEFP, IREX and US Department of State for letting me have this once in a lifetime opportunity and make some lifelong bonds with some individuals. And also thankyou to IBA and IRC for accepting relevant courses and making sure that my semester spent abroad doesn’t go to waste.
Muhammad Jaffar Abbas
UGRAD 2022 | University of Utah
“People generally are good all over the world, it is just the media and politics which divides us.”
So this is my learning from my journey as a semester exchange journey under the Global UGRAD Program. I was placed at the University of Utah which is among the top 250 universities in the world with one of the best computing schools in the United States and has great alumni like John Warnock who founded Adobe. I hail from Sukkur, a city in interior Sindh, but have been living in Karachi since 2012 and privileged to be studying in top educational institutions like IBA in all stages of my life. Since childhood, I always wanted to get a chance to represent Pakistan in some way but had never thought that Allah will bless me with a wonderful chance like this where I would serve as a Cultural Ambassador of Pakistan and meet people from different countries around the world to present myself and my country.
As a student, I always had a dream to enjoy hostel life at some point in my life and live in an area surrounded by mountains. My Global UGRAD journey fulfilled both of these wishes as I got to live in the dorms there, and Salt Lake City, Utah is kind of a city surrounded by beautiful mountains and the city stands in the mountainous region. Utah is one of the most beautiful states in the U.S. and is famous for tourism, I would always be thankful to Allah for giving me the chance to spend my exchange journey at such a beautiful and nature-surrounded place.
As part of my journey, I interacted with people from different countries, religions, and colours. I worked for a local community church to organize different religious events and community gatherings and prepared sack lunches for the poor and homeless people as part of my community service. I also got a chance to explore different parts of the United States as I visited New York and went to different tourist attractions in New York City and the state. Moreover, I also visited beautiful places in Utah like Moab, State Capitol, Skiing points like Nordic Valley and Brighton, and adventurous hiking trails.
As part of our exchange journey, we had to conduct a country presentation for which I organized a food stall with my fellow UGRAD mate with help of my community service supervisor on the eve of Pakistan Day i.e. 23rd March. I conducted another presentation at the local church where I briefed the community members about Pakistan and its geography, culture, lifestyle, diversity, food, and tourism and entertained their questions, tried to portray my country in a positive and friendly way and cleared many of their misconceptions. For my digital cultural passport, I had to engage in many interesting activities and I visited Utah Fine Arts Museum, Local Football (Rugby) and Cricket Match, met a local community leader and took part in various holiday and diversity events like Black History Month.
This exchange journey has taught me a lot and cleared many of the misconceptions that I had about life. It also taught me that people of different countries are similar to us, Pakistanis, but the reason behind their country’s progress is strict implementation of law and a transparent system of justice. These are the basic building blocks of the smooth lifestyle of the progressive countries in the world and I think as students, it is our responsibility to strive for a system which ensures basic human rights because we are the future of Pakistan. Lastly, I would like to thank everyone involved in this wonderful journey of my life like the U.S. Department of State, USEFP, IREX, IBA and IRC for helping me out in different phases of the exchange period and I would urge every student to utilize these kinds of life-changing opportunities and be in close touch with IRC for such opportunities.
Hassan Mir - BSAF
UGRAD 2022 | University of Kentucky
‘Take your comfort zone and throw it out of the window’
My experience as a semester exchange in the University of Kentucky, U.S. was phenomenal to say the least! Being a cultural ambassador for Pakistan was a thrilling experience where I got the opportunity to represent my country on a global stage, and forge better ties with my American peers and colleagues.
I tried a plethora of new activities in my host community including skiing (I was not very good at it!), an electric live concert by imagine dragons, and several multicultural and interfaith events. Exploring different cities around my host community including Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Nashville, and Louisville was a defining part of my journey as I immersed myself in different subcultures in the U.S. and grew as a person by embracing diversity and inclusivity.
Exploring the U.S. via the digital cultural passport provided by IREX, which included activities revolving around music, art, sport, leisure, community leadership, volunteer work and cultural presentation was an exhilarating experience as well and had a very steep learning curve!
I was also one of the four students nominated to speak at the exit workshop where I had the opportunity to reflect on my leadership journey and deliver my personal leadership statement before representatives of the U.S. Department of State, IREX, and fellow UGRAD colleagues.
I believe this semester exchange was a transformative experience for myself which helped me grow as a person and as a leader, made me more considerate about others and their causes, and made me a more even handed and an open minded individual. To the future batches I will say, go out there, make full use of different exchange programs offered by the International Resource Center, and carpe diem!
Afaq Ahmed - 17020
Semester Exchange (Fall 2021) | Bilkent University, Turkey
They say that there are certain things which you can only experience once in your life, and this exchange, in simple words, was one of that experience. I still remember the day when I got shortlisted for the Fall 2021 exchange semester at Bilkent University. It was a happy moment and the excitement I felt was indescribable. For someone who was traveling outside the country for the very first time, it was an overwhelming feeling. All I knew was that I must make sure nothing goes wrong before I land in Istanbul.
From Istanbul to traveling across all the corners of Turkey, it was like a dream come true. I never thought I would be able to explore a country in such a way where I would be able to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds, colour, nationality, and profession. I met some amazing individuals, with whom I created lifelong friendships. The kind of friendships where you may not meet each other ever again, but the memory of them will last forever, and if you ever cross each other’s path, you know they will be there for you.
Bilkent will always be a beautiful experience which I will cherish forever. Room 254, Dorm 78. I can never forget the memories associated with this room and the dormitory I was living in. I can never forget the runs we used to make every morning just so we could reach the management building on time. I can never forget waiting for the shuttles to drop us off at the city centre and spending the night out with friends. I can never forget the amazing teachers with whom I got the chance to study and learn from. I will never forget the people who made these 5 months worthwhile.
From flying over different shades of the Mediterranean Sea, to diving deep into it; from viewing out of the bus window, to driving on the same roads, and from dreams to making it happen; Turkey allowed me to do things more than I ever imagined to. If I am given a choice to travel back in time, I will travel back to the day I got selected for this exchange program.
I am grateful to International Office at IBA for accommodating us with all the issues throughout the process and it wouldn’t be possible without their effort. If you ever get such an opportunity, take it without thinking twice. Nothing ever replaces home, but while you are there make sure you make the best out of it. Exchange is all about adaptability and humility; these qualities will last with you forever.
Maazullah Memon - 19223 (BBA)
Semester Exchange (Fall 2021) | Bilkent University, Turkey
In my experience, I wonder how I would even be able to put my feelings in words, how to make other people feel what I am feeling right now with all those pretty (some blurred, some clear as crystal) memories or what I felt in those few months. Liberty, Freedom, new life, new place, new people? The list will go on and will never end.
Do you know what this average young boy from a small town has dreamt from his childhood? To look, to explore, to experience the world out there, to listen to different people's stories so that when I grow old, I have uncountable stories to tell the young generation. This exchange to Turkey was exactly the start of my big dream and my journey out there, and I didn't even realize it. When you go there, and you meet people from all around the world, and every person has a different story to tell, different problems to share, that's the moment when you actually grow. When I went there, I thought we will be the only people going for the exchange there, but there were people all around Europe, Asia, and Africa. We converted every bit of time into an unforgettable memory. We travelled almost all parts of Turkey and has seen stunning landscapes, from the Romantic place of Cappadocia to those Ottoman mosques of Istanbul, from the mountains of the Black Sea region to the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea region, from the Rumi's tomb to the border of Georgia and Armenia, every bit of moment was beautiful. I won't forget the university though; the professors were extremely helpful and cooperative, the university itself has every facility regarding Education, sports, Health, Market etc.
If I start to write on my journey, it will take me months, but the only thing that I can say in the last is that this once in a lifetime experience has changed me.
In the end, A big shoutout to the IBA International Resource Centre; without them, it would not have been possible. At first, I was hesitant due to my financial issues, but the IRC has helped me out from the issue and was always checking us out throughout those months.
Waniya Suhail - 16871 (BBA)
Bilkent University, Turkey
I got short-listed for an opportunity of a lifetime, the Spring Semester Exchange Program 2021 for Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. It was unexpected but highly treasured. I will never not value my time there. My experience was amazing. I got to interact with such diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Our exchange group had students from France, Spain, Tunisia, Poland, South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Czech Republic too. It was a great mix of people Asians and Europeans all landed together. Because of Covid, we relied on each other more and ended up being far closer friends then one could imagine in this short span of time.
Things I got to do in Turkey: I travelled a lot. Every off was effectively used to explore a new city or town. We travelled via every possible means of transport like the airplane, train, buses and even cruises. The north of turkey, far west of it, eastern Turkey, and the South Coast of Turkey. I experienced every weather; -18° was the highlight I swear. Ankara, the city of my university is a mountainous area, it felt like living in a spacious and a more developed version of Murree.
Come to think of it, all of Turkey has hilly and mountainous topography. It was new for a potato like me, who's only known straight land. Hikes were a norm. Never would I have considered the slope of the road or the elevation of the walkway before. Your legs would feel every step, muscles burned, add the load of winter jackets and, Voila! You have a walking full body workout. For me, travelling alone, using public transport was so new and empowering. I could go to any place I liked. Google maps was a loyal and consistent friend, and so was Google Translate. Shukar Alhumdullillah.
I spent my Eid there; all the exchange kids got together and arranged an Eid lunch. Everyone prepared their traditional home foods. It was a vibrant and a very comforting day. Coincidentally, there were a lot of Muslim kids in our exchange, the ones who were not wanted to explore and learn about Ramadan and Eid and all the festivities that go along with it. We volunteered for the Sehri shifts during Ramadan. We reached the cafeteria at 1:00am and left at 6:30am, always after Fajr.
My entire experience included of a lot of firsts and a lot of thrill. One experience was when we were at a fuel station and the stop shop person recognized me as a Pakistan, to which he said "Pakistan ve Turkiye arkadaş" (Translation: Pakistan and Turkey are friends"). I was a foreigner there, yet I still got to interact with so many people, it was a blessing and an honor. The best part was that my birthday is a national holiday there so I just love it.
An exchange is not comfortable. It is a set of all things new put forth, and you just must accept and adapt. That set includes language, mannerisms, culture, and we're from Karachi so navigating through the public transport is one crucial element. Interacting with diversity makes you aware of the world outside. The horizon to your thoughts expands by each experience and by each new person you interact with.
If we talk about Bilkent, let's just say that it the Turkish version of IBA. Same grading pattern, extensive course load and demanding faculty. But from an exchange point-of-view you're there not just as a student but a representative of your home university and country too. The teachers are aware that they have an exchange kid in their slot, they made sure everyone else was aware too. Better be prepared with your A-game there. Not because Bilkent will judge you, but IBA won't transfer your credits, simple. Timely graduation requires that of you my dear brothers and sisters
My 2.5 years at IBA had quipped me with essential skills that got me through. I valued my time at my home university more when abroad, because in the face of any trouble I knew how to navigate my way out or come up with a solution for the better. I'm grateful for the opportunity, and I really appreciate our international office in building linkages as great as this one. The support and guidance are crucial for the experience to be wholesome, I got plentiful. Thanks again.
Global Next Leadership Forum
Global Next Leaders Forum (GNLF) 2021 was everything I expected it to be, and more. The entire conference was handled so flawlessly I couldn't believe this was their first time doing it virtually. It was a truly memorable experience to interact with people from so many different countries and to hear their opinions on topics we generally shy away from. I am really grateful to GNLF for giving us a safe platform to discuss subjects like genome editing, AI, euthanasia, and animal testing without being afraid of conflict or judgment. The discussions encouraged me to explore my viewpoint about such topics, learn from those of others and consider their significance in our lives. The part that I loved most was having heart to heart conversations with the other participants and forming lasting friendships with them through our cultural exchange sessions and post-conference hangouts.
SAHIL SHIRAZ KARMALI
Global Next Leadership Forum
It felt great to be a part of Global Next Leaders Forum again in 2021 and I feel fortunate enough to have experienced this conference in person last year in Tokyo as well as virtually this year.
Having experienced the conference in Tokyo, I didn't have many expectations from the virtual conference this year, but it was way beyond my expectations, It was really fascinating to interact with participants from several countries and indulge in discussions over some intriguing yet controversial topics like genome editing, nuclear energy, animal testing and euthanasia. The discussions were highly fruitful and encouraged all the participants to share their insights which changed my opinion about several ignored, yet significant aspects of our life.
The discussions were held on the four weekends of the month of February, and it genuinely made me excited for the weekends and gave me motivation to get through the week. These four weeks flew by quick, but it gave me some invaluable friendships and great insights.
MUHAMMAD HASSAN MIR
Global Next Leadership Forum
Global Next Leader Forum 2021 was a breath of fresh air for me in a pandemic-stricken world. The conference was fully virtual and spread out over 4 weeks of February with stimulating sessions and insightful discussions on a range of topics that revolved around Society, Science and Technology.
The conference hosted participants from several countries and I had the amazing experience of interacting with young leaders from Japan, Hungary, Mexico, Brazil and a lot of other countries.
What I liked most about the conference was its welcoming environment, where I could state my opinion on anything and everything without any criticism.
I believe that the management team of GNLF 2021 deserves a huge round of applause for pulling this event so smoothly and seamlessly.
All in all, it was a phenomenal experience for me that added value to my outlook on Society, Science and Technology and provided a platform where I met some truly inspirational young leaders!
Global Next Leadership Forum
"This year, at the Global Next Leaders Forum 2021, we discussed various issues under the theme "Society, Science, and Technology". Partaking of participants from 9 nationalities brought varying mindsets to the discussions. Such diversity not only aided open-minded flexibility but also enabled me to grasp how similar problems lie within different contexts; therefore, coming up with mutually benefitting solutions was and remains of utmost importance.
I am thankful to the IBA International Office and The University of Tokyo for sharing the opportunity with me."
UGRAD Semester Exchange | Spring'20
Travelling has many lessons for traveller, specially travelling for study to one of the developed countries is a blessed opportunity and fortunately I am blessed with this opportunity. Travelling from small city of Pakistan to USA not only gave me the chance to explore more but it also provided me a new lifestyle of being completely independent in new country.
The US Exchange Program has been an amazing learning Experience for me. I got chance to interact with multicultural people and made a great friends network. In this duration, I made some of really nice and helpful people whose company was always a pleasure and I learned many things from them. My international friends circle was the best thing I had. Moreover, outing and cooking with them was a huge fun.
UWGB campus life was a great experience with full of facilities and university had talented teaching faculty who were always available for helping students and listening to their concerns. The changes created because of current pandemic did not cause any disturbance because of the helping teaching faculty.
UGRAD Exchange Program has been a golden Experience for me. It polished and built up both my academic and personal skills. This achievement made me believe that dreams actually come true. It just requires will, hope and struggle.
Global UGRAD Spring 2020 | San Francisco State University
Leaving for USA on 2nd January, I didn't know what this journey would bring up to me. But now, after returning back, I can confidently say that the girl who left for USA and the girl who is back is not the same anymore. She now has clearer image of life, strong ambition, and much more exposure.
Living in a new country, studying in a new university, speaking their national language, and getting known to a new culture was never less than a challenge for me. Before starting the journey, I created some bucket lists, but it got even more than that. Being out at 2pm was no more boy's thing, travelling alone and exploring new areas with history was fascinating, getting into a problem and resolving it on my own made me feel stronger and more independent. Getting placed in a diverse place i.e. San Francisco, gave me the advantage of meeting Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Korean, Egyptian, Malaysian, Indonesian and people from New Zealand. Knowing about new cultures makes one more respectful about their traditions, cultures, languages, and religion, and makes one realize that diversity is the actual beauty of this world. And telling them about Pakistani culture, food, language, and religion made me realized that we actually have many things to embrace and be grateful for.
In mid-March, lockdown happened, and the world got to see the rare black swan. Being in quarantine in a room or maybe second person in the building got me time to think about myself, work on myself and explore about my learnings. The transition from actual one to one class to virtual ones gave another experience and made me realized how important it is for humans to socialize, and why they are called social animals.
In short, I believe my experience at UGRAD was very unique to all the other ones that had come before me. I not only lived through a global pandemic, but also witnessed how a nation's routine would change in case one would happen. While it was a great learning experience for me, it also helped me improve myself as a personality as I came to improve my crisis management skills and learned how to adapt in various situations. I believe I have learned more in these 5 months at UGRAD than years of my education combined because the environment around me was very much geared to support learning. I would recommend to all the aspirants for this program to give it their best because such life changing experiences knock your doors only once!
BSCS, UGRAD Spring 2020 | Missouri State University Springfield
"Let us see how high we can fly before the sun melts the wax in our wings." (Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar).
Looking back at my time as an exchange student at Missouri State University, I couldn't be more grateful for this unique opportunity to learn and grow in such a multicultural and stimulating environment. The most amazing thing about my time abroad is the incredible impact pushing past my comfort zone had on not only my personality but my perception of the world and its different cultures. The whole experience was extremely unique and thrilling like a roller coaster ride. It started smooth, I made many friends joined many students' associations. The first two months were normal, we were having the best time of our lives. Then COVID-19 happened and I learned a valuable lesson from the life that the most uncertain thing in life is life itself.
Luckily, I was able to visit my dream places before COVID-19. Broom ride in Hogwarts and Skydiving were the first things I crossed off my bucket list. Quarantine time taught me that last-minute plans are always exciting and full of surprises. I along with my friends decided to isolate ourselves in a rented car and we traveled 7000 Kms covering 9 states exploring all sorts of natural beauty, art, and history. In terms of academics, I enjoyed the variety of courses offered and that I could specialize in the subjects that interested me the most. The learning experience in the US was fun and mind-opening. Shifting from in-person to online classes is a memorable experience giving me a broader picture of the US educational system.
Simply put, it was truly "Once in a Lifetime Experience" broadening my perspective and giving me a different approach to life. I feel more empowered, confident, and self-aware thanks to all my wonderful American friends with whom I shared memories working in student associations, adventure club, and sports intramurals. My inspiring host who helped me cross off many things on my bucket list despite the given COVID situation. My amazing international buddies with whom I spent my Quarantine time traveling and doing all sorts of crazy stuff. Sending you all virtual hugs.
Muhammad Ahmed Jaliawala
Global Next Leaders Conference 2020
Nine days, nine nationalities and lifetime worth of memories.
The theme for this year's forum was 'Community'. Over a span of nine days, participants from nine countries got the opportunity to have deep discussions about their perception of community and how future leaders can contribute in building more tolerant communities. It started as 'Family' as a notion of community, went about discussing 'Local Community' and finally addressing 'How a Nation should be built?' in this era of globalization.
From skyscrapers to historic temples, Tokyo presents a perfect blend of ultra modern and traditional way of living. From Anime hub to Sega world, from Ramen to Cherry blossom (Sakura) Japan offers it all. The pragmatic nature and the work ethic of the Japanese people is what has contributed to where it stands today. All in all, Japan is different, yet a fascinating country to visit and learn from.
Representing IBA and Pakistan was nothing short of an honor for me and would like to profusely thank Miss Shehreena and the International Resource Team for the opportunity. As a future leader, the forum allowed me to interact and experience different cultures, broaden my horizon and shaped my thinking towards building a more tolerant community – a community we ought to live in.
Global Next Leaders Forum (GNLF) Japan, 2020
"I am not sure where to even start from. The one week spent in Tokyo, Japan participating in Global Next Leader Forum was more than what I dreamt of. The topic for the Forum was "Community" and it was being part of this community and forum which made me understand the value of different systems and communities we belong to whether it be Family, School, Work or Nation. While having discussion with different participants, I learnt more and more about how these communities are perceived in various countries and the problems faced within them.
In just one week's time, having discussions on different issues and communities to exploring the beautiful city of Tokyo, the bond became closer and closer with every participant. The opportunity of meeting the talented people from across the world and learning from one of the most developed nation was unmatchable to any experience I have felt before. The inclusivity, humbleness, importance of time, value for culture and heritage, cleanliness and forethought planning were few of the things which I learnt from the people of Japan and city of Tokyo. A city where I believe I left my heart as words cannot justify the beauty of it.
This forum has helped me shape my thoughts about different communities surrounding me. It has transformed my personality into thinking in ways which are truly the qualities for the future leader. It has made me confident enough to express my thoughts in public and given me a chance to represent my nation and my university at global level".
Raiha Mustafa Rizvi
NUS Summer School 2019
My experience in Singapore for NUS' Summer Programme 2019 was nothing short of a transformation. I was given the opportunity to exponentially grow my interest and passion for entrepreneurship, especially social entrepreneurship, and develop ways to contribute to society.
We were introduced to the StartUp ecosystem by a holistic mixture of lectures by renowned faculty, visits to StartUps and organizations and established incubators, talks and panel discussions by established professionals. NUS had an extremely creative approach to explaining the beauty of entrepreneurship by letting us explore: through the cathartic nature of Taiko drumming, through empathy for deaf and blind with Society Staple's blindfolded rowing trip, and through activities that inspire you to give back to the society.
In my two weeks, I changed as a person. The faculty, the diverse people, and the environment made me come out of my shell and network, and forge friendships and experiences that would last a lifetime. We were divided into clans and groups that boasted diversity and together we navigated the architectural beauty that is Singapore. Together we came up with an idea for a start-up "Solarise" which aimed to provide co-working spaces powered by Solar panels free of cost to the people who struggle for the basic need of electricity. Our groups were mentored and coached to tweak a business model and deliver a pitch to investors. It was beautiful to see people of different nationalities come together because they shared a vision. It was inspiring, and that is what the programme does to people, it inspires.
I am very thankful for this opportunity provided to me by IBA and Sajjad Foundation which has shaped my perspective and develop hope and passion to contribute to my country.
NUS Summer School 2019
"Saying that this experience gave me wings would not be an exaggeration; I loved every bit of it and want to relive it as many times as I can. The entrepreneurship summer school at National University of Singapore teaches you about the start-up culture of Singapore. It pushes you to pursue or at least wish to set up a ventute which could enrich the world technologically and socially. It has been the highlight of 2019 for me and I could not have asked for anything better. I had the privilege to witness ideas which will soon take over the world by a storm. Made some wonderful friends whom I'll cherish forever and taught a few Singaporeans some Urdu words as well (which was pretty cool)."
Global UGRAD-Pakistan Exchange Program (Spring 2019)
"Whenever I recall memories from my Global UGRAD experience, I'm taken back to a world that feels nothing short of magical. Before I embarked on this journey, I had never been outside of Pakistan. So, naturally, everything about the experience felt exciting to me. Thinking about it, from the time I sat in the lab, working on my application, wondering, 'What if this works out?' to the moment my plane landed back in Pakistan and the exchange had completed, everything feels surreal.
Leaving for the US, I expected to experience plenty of firsts. And of course, the exchange did come with a lot of them. My favorites were travelling solo, watching a rocket launch at NASA and attending an orchestra performance. This exchange semester also came with the opportunity to learn from and interact with those who are researching in my field of choice, to be inspired by those who are on the paths that, someday, I wish to be on. And so, I now feel much closer to my dreams. Other than that of a student, a role that I was always aware of was that of a Cultural Ambassador. Sharing the colors of the Pakistani culture, its music, art and stories through performances, presentations or just regular, friendly interactions gave me immense joy, for I considered it to be one of the most important things I could be doing.
But these were all things that I either expected to be a part of the exchange experience or were at least on my to-do list, for they were why I wanted to go in the first place. However, what I didn't anticipate, at least to its true extent, was how close and connected I'd feel to the people I befriended and the place that was my home for that fleeting period in time. I didn't know I'd make friendships that I would hold as dearly as I do. I didn't know I'd find a friendship family that would make me feel so home. I didn't know I'd find a mentor who would inspire me so much to be a better mathematician and a better person. I didn't realize I'd find a friendship, in such a short span of time, that I can always count on.
Shahan Zafar Syed
Youth Delegation Program 2019
It was an honor to be a member of the Pakistani Youth Delegation to China earlier this November. The diverse delegation of accomplished individuals who shared their struggle stories compelled me to reevaluate my life goals. I have come out of the China trip inspired to change my society and leave an impact.
We flew to China fearing that the language barrier would hinder our understanding of the Chinese culture. However, the volunteers and coordinators accommodated and accounted for all our needs. Over the course of our trip, I realized that one does not need to understand Mandarin to appreciate the inspiring work ethic, discipline, and solution-centered attitude that it so characteristic of the Chinese as a people.
I am thankful to IBA to have nominated me and considering me worthy of representing Pakistan on such a platform. I would like to insist that the government initiate more of such programs so that the youth of Pakistan becomes more responsible and resolute in everything it does.
Shahan Zafar Syed
Youth Delegation Program 2019
Alhamdulillah, I was recently selected to be part of the Pakistani Youth Delegation to China. I am grateful to the Institute of Business Administration and its International Resource Center for providing me with this opportunity. I would also like to thank the representatives of the Kamyab Jawaan Program and the All-China Youth Federation for their generous hospitality.
I participated along with 100 other delegates in the Pakistani Youth Delegation to visit Beijing and the Shanxi province in China. The cultural and academic exchange involved visiting cultural heritage sites as well as various local industries. These included a visit to Beijing's Exhibition Hall to attend the PRC's 70th Anniversary Exhibition, a visit to Beijing's Tiananmen Square, and the Ancient City of Pingyao. The various industrial visits included a tour of Zhongguancun Street that is a hub for scientific and technological innovation enterprises, Luyuan Yongle Agricultural Technology Center, Taizhong Railway Industrial Park, Foxconn Industrial Park, and a visit to Ali Baba's Innovation Center.
The overall experience helped me learn about Chinese culture, and some of their best practices, which we too can adopt in Pakistan. China's industrial reforms, social reforms, government policies, and systems offer us a great learning opportunity. I interacted with local Chinese volunteers and the inspiring entrepreneurs that were part of our delegation, and the overall experience was a memorable one.
BSEM, Class of 2020
This November, I was shortlisted to be a part of a Youth Delegation that visited China for a six-day trip to promote people-to-people relationship between the two countries. 100 individuals who excelled in their field of interest were selected from all over the country under the umbrella of Prime Minister Imran Khan's Kamyab Jawan Program to represent Pakistan in China where we learned about their socio-economic developments and their history. The purpose of this visit was to learn about the things that are working for them which we can replicate in our country.
Along with gaining a million-dollar exposure, I got the opportunity to meet and interact with the best young talent of our country and made friendships that will last for a lifetime. I am truly honored and grateful to the administration of IBA Karachi and to the Sindh Government for giving me this opportunity and considering me worthy enough to represent our beloved country. The experience and memories I made in this week will certainly be cherished forever.
From the 6th to the 12th of November, 2019, I had the chance to be a part of the Pakistani Youth Delegation to China hosted by the All China Youth Federation and managed on our side by the PM youth office under the banner of the Kamyab Jawaan Program. As such, I had a wonderful opportunity to experience the strong bond of brotherhood and cooperation Pakistan and China share.
I got to learn about China's accomplishments over its seven decades of existence at Beijing's Exhibition hall, learned about the system of rule before the establishment of the People's Republic of China and the extensive and rich Chinese history and culture at the Tiananmen square, the Forbidden City, the ancient city of Pingyao, and also learned about the revitalization of Chinese towns and villages at JiaJiazhuang village, Near Fenyang city in Shanxi. I also had the opportunity to experience the Beijing Opera and the dramatization of Chinese folk lore. Also, I got to visit the Beijing city planning center and learned about the Tongzhou district in Beijing. Furthermore, on our last day, we had a session with a member of the CPEC planning team and gained insights into the project and others like it all over the globe.
Regarding the theme I was designated- Education, I visited the Urdu center in the Peking University and interacted with the students there. I was a part of a session regarding bilateral cooperation and coordination between China and Pakistan. As an insight into the education system in China, I visited Xinjian primary school and the Taiyuan University of Technology in Shanxi province, and Luhe High school in Beijing and experienced the holistic teaching tools and strategies used all across the educational system to allow the students to achieve their very best and be able to compete with international standards of teaching.
Overall, being a part of the delegation allowed insights into the Chinese Education system, government, policies, and a view as to what we need to accomplish on our path to development here in Pakistan. The trip afforded a conclusive confirmation to the strong bonds of friendship and brotherhood between Pakistan and China. As such, I would like to thank the International resource center for the nomination for the delegation that allowed me to learn so much."
Youth Delegation Program,China
Allhumdulilah, Allah blessed me to be a part of the Pakistani Youth Delegation and gave me the precious chance to represent my country at China. The fully funded academic and cultural visit was a collaboration between Pakistan's Kamiyab Jawan Program and All China Youth Federation.
I got the opportunity to visit Beijing's Exhibition hall, the amazing Forbidden City as well as the ancient city of Pingyao, where I witnessed China's rich culture and history. We went to China's Innovation street, called the Zhongguancun Street which allowed a fruitful discussion and exchange with scientific and technological innovation enterprises. Got the chance to inspect China's renewable energy plant as well.
Amazing hosts took us to Shanxi province too. Here, I understood the revitalization of China's towns and villages including the Jiajiazhuang village. At Taiyuan, we visited the Ali Innovation Center where we communicated with entrepreneurial youth representatives.
The entire experience was one of a kind for me. Not only I learned a great deal from this exceptional exposure but I also interacted and made friends with some of the most talented and extremely humble entrepreneurs and achievers from Pakistan.
(MS Economics Student)
I was super excited when I received an email revealing, I have been selected as a talent for the 2019 cohort of UNLEASH - Innovation Lab for SDGs. I didn't know it was such a big deal unless I get to know in the opening ceremony that 18,000+ applicants from around the world had applied this year, but only 1000 talents have been selected to collaborate on solutions to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
With over 90% of water consumption attributed to agriculture in Pakistan, we identified this sector as an essential target to mitigate rising water scarcity. Our solution involved adapting current high-tech urban vertical farming concepts to create vertical farming nurseries, a cheap low-tech system for rural areas in which cotton seeds can be germinated before planting in the field. With up to 98% water recycling, the deployment of this solution at larger scales could significantly impact water consumption across cotton growing regions - which are also those projected to be heavily affected by climate change!
This International exposure had polished my skills in critical thinking, problem solving and networking. During this workshop, I've met people from 162 countries having different skill sets, cultures, societal issues and resilience.
Tsinghua University Financial Leaders of Tomorrow Summer Program
"Getting a scholarship to attend the Financial Leaders of Tomorrow Summer Program at Tsinghua University fulfilled my dream of studying finance in an international university.
Tsinghua University (ranked 1st in Asia University Rankings 2019) provided me an amazing opportunity to interact with international students from leading universities all around the globe. The idea of getting a chance to interact with policymakers from the Chinese government and experienced industry elites triggered me to apply for this prestigious opportunity.
I believe that this program enhanced my financial knowledge and helped me broaden my horizon by providing me a completely unique view of the financial world, as China has one of the most dynamic economies in the world. Learning about the Chinese banking and insurance industry, Fintech, capital markets, and the corporate visits to the Beijing Financial Street gave me an exposure of the financial world around us. The visits to the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Summer Palace and other tourist attractions made me witness the historical beauty of the modern China.
Keeping in mind the huge potential of the CPEC Project which will surely lead to further enhancement of Pak-China economic ties, this program has provided me the right direction towards a relevant career choice.
I would like to especially thank the IBA International Resource Center for their continuous support and guidance throughout the application and visa process.
The international cross-cultural exposure is in itself a great part of learning in this fast-paced world. I believe that the financial markets of Pakistan hold a great untapped potential, and if provided the right direction, it can lead to the prosperity of our country."
Global UGRAD Spring 2019
Studying abroad was one of the biggest goals of
my life. Since childhood, I wanted to study outside
Pakistan at least once. My dream of getting a
quality education made me move to Karachi from my
hometown Dadu. It was hard leaving my parents back
home but it made me an independent person and I
believe that it was my first step towards achieving
my dreams. After almost seven years of hard work, my
dream came true in the form of Global Undergraduate
Pakistan Program through which I went to United
States for an exchange semester in spring 2019.
UGRAD provided with an opportunity to explore one of the biggest parts of world. In United States, I was placed in Dickinson State University, North Dakota which is apparently one of the coldest parts of the country. Before embarking on this journey, I was both happy and nervous but now that I have experienced the charm of exploring the world alone, I really wish that God gives me just one more chance to relive those five months of my life.
The journey from Pakistan to Qatar, from Qatar to Washington, from Washington to Denver, from Denver to Dickinson was never smooth but it was surely a great experience. I was travelling alone for the first time and my flight from Denver to Dickinson got cancelled due to weather issues. At that moment I was completely clueless as to where would I go in a city where I knew nobody. I really panicked but then I finally asked myself to calm down and think of all the possible options available to me. And that's how I was able to tackle that situation, arranged my living for next three days accordingly until the flights reopened and I finally reached Dickinson after spending three days in Denver.
On an extremely windy day with an extremely bumpy flight when I finally reached Dickinson, I realized that I had suddenly fallen in love with that place about which all I had heard was that there was nothing in city except for cold and snow. Surprisingly that nothingness and snow are the top two items of the list that I miss the most. For the first time ever, I lived five months of my life without any noisy vehicles and without any restriction of going out alone at 2 in the night. I will not say that those five months were smooth because there were ups and downs, but one thing is for sure that each day I spent there is memorable and a lesson for me.
Apart from my tremendously peaceful city, UGRAD gave me a number of friends who were not limited to United States and Pakistan only. As a matter of fact now I have friends from all over the world, be that Japan, Russia, Ukraine, or Honduras. My host parents and my host advisor were those three people without whom I could not have survived the homesickness. The inspirational talks with my host parents used to make me think about those aspects of life which I had never thought of before. Their unconditional love makes me miss them every single day. Saying goodbye to them was the hardest thing that I did in United States.
Last but not the least thing which I would love to mention is that few days before I was about to start my exchange program, someone said to me that even if I do not enjoy there and even if my experience is not worth being remembered but I surely will get to learn so much in this program that I will find myself a completely different and better person when I get back. Today I would like to say those exact words to all those who are going to be a part of UGRAD family. No matter where you are placed, this experience will be the best experience of your life.
Exchange is the experience where you have this
opportunity to not be defined by the people around
you, rather be the truest image of yourself. It's
all new, new people new place new classes new
environment. You get a chance to unlock the
potential you have within you, experience things and
make friendships along the way.
I wanted to experience so many things, and hence I came up with weird life adventures and made it into a bucket list. Some of these experiences were scary, some were exciting, some were shocking, some were ecstatic and some were just pure failures. All these adventures ended up imparting on me a fond memory and a set of pictures to remember them by. Solo traveling across the US states led me to meet people from Germany, Israel, Czech, Russia, Brazil, India, Uzbekistan, China etc. and it taught me how bonds are created without the discrimination of sex, color, creed, race or status. Cycling across NOLA in extreme traffic as an inexperienced cyclist made me realize a few bruises don't hurt when the journey is wild. Couch surfing in more than 10 different US cities and living with complete strangers made me appreciate the beauty in a stranger's kindness and warmth (I did end up encountering two weird hosts; one of them was drunk which led me to bolt his house at 2am). Hiking the famous San Francisco Twin Peaks with friends whilst the strong winds, twisted paths and our lack of stamina led us to enjoy one of the most epic views to come by. Parasailing in the beautiful sea of San Diego with a close friend who I didn't thought I would meet ever again taught me some things are just unexpected blessings. Drinking tea at Dobra Tea restaurant with my brother after taking an hour ride Pittsburgh almost every weekend made me appreciate how special tiny moments with your loved ones are. Coming up with new ideas for entrepreneurial projects in Briggs' class while he motivated and believed in us taught me you can achieve anything if you have a loving mentor behind you. Jogging 10 minutes down the hill just to watch the magnificent Kyra, an emotional service and security dog, made me realize there is nothing more beautiful or tragic than a dog whose entire life is a service to humanity.
You will feel homesick, you won't perhaps like the food or the people, your adventures might take a wrong turn and there might be countless embarrassing experiences, but at the end you will smile and treasure everything you did in your exchange. You will look at the photos of each moment and remember what it was like. You will remember each bond you made, and truly wish them a happy life. You will only love it if you get out of the comfort zone and take risks.
This spring I participated in the USEFP Global
Undergraduate semester exchange program, spending
over four months living and learning at the
University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
When people tell you that exchanges change your life they aren't lying nor are they exaggerating. Over these months I made friends from over 20 nationalities, traveled to 13 states, got to shreds down the Olympic ski slopes of Utah, jump out of an airplane over the wasach mountains, bungee jump off the insanity in Vegas, visit Hollywood in LA , meet billionaires in my class room, get interviewed by an AI robot and do a desi flash mob in downtown SLC.
It's said that you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take. I know many people have a crisis confidence when it comes to applying to a lot of international opportunities but trust me when I say there's nothing extraordinary or unique about the people who do take the plunge.
Rabia Basri Komal
(BBA - Finance)
I am a student of IBA Karachi, currently enrolled
in BBA as an NTHP scholar. I belong to a small
village of Interior Sindh. Recently I came back from
USA after completing a successful semester there
through Global UGRAD Semester Exchange program-
SPRING 2019. I went to Dickinson State University
North Dakota to study finance and made up to the
Presidents list there.
Getting a fully funded scholarship at IBA was no less than a miracle for me and then going for an exchange semester to US was indeed a golden chance. I am the first one in my whole clan who achieved the visa of United States of America and the first girl who travelled abroad alone. Being a girl, it wasn't an easy task to convince everyone to let me avail this opportunity, but the unending support and confidence of my parents helped me through this. Travelling alone across the States of America was the biggest adventure of my life which helped me grow and learn something new every day. The exposure turned me into a more flexible human, I met many people, listened to their stories and made new friends. It was the best period of my life.
"Opportunity knocks your door once in a life, grab it before it leaves" - Syed Hussain Hyder.This quote is the reason why I am successful today. Whenever I was in a situation of struggle, I reminded myself all the beautiful opportunities Allah (SWT) had blessed me with, NTHP being the turning point of my life and the Exchange semester being the life changing opportunity, I'm highly thankful to the whole NTHP team, IBA Karachi, my parents, my teachers and all those people who supported me.
Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri - Spring 2019
Sometimes life has a funny way of making things
happen; in the extreme of cases when you firmly end
up believing that something will not happen for you,
it does and that too in the most unexpected of ways.
When submitting my application for the Global Ugrad
program I felt like I was aiming in the dark at
something that was impossible, but like they say if
you have dreams and you have worked resiliently over
the years to make those dreams a reality, life too
finds a way to make everything that may seem
Since the beginning I have always dreamed of getting international exposure whether it was for educational reasons or just blissful travel. This program gave me an opportunity to get the best of both worlds. The time from getting the shortlisting interview call to my visa interview was indeed stressful in certain ways yet now that time just seems to be a blurred array of memories because after that came one of the best experiences of my life.
I think I was very fortunate to be placed at the Southeast Missouri State University because since the moment I arrived I was welcomed by people with open arms who went out of their way to make sure that I faced no problems. The United States is fortunate enough to cater to people from different cultures and regions of the world. Thus it was not just limited to meeting American people and understanding and experiencing their cultural dynamics, but it also gave me the opportunity to meet determined and amazing people from all around the globe. For those of you who wish to avail this or any such opportunity in the future I would say go for it, because you will make friendships which will remain strong even when you are thousands of miles apart. You will find a family away from home, and you will realize that there will always be people supporting you though every obstacle you face. You will learn to be accepting of everyone and their cultures and realize that the world is full of amazing people, you just need to put yourself out there to meet them.
When it comes down to my experiences I do not think there is anything in the world I would exchange for the opportunity to be able to go on the Global Ugrad program. I think I speak on the behalf of every person who has been on this program over the course of the years that the version of you that develops after such an experience is way different from what you left as. You learn to navigate life on your own and you start believing in yourself in a way that you did not before.
From losing my way during my first trip to Chicago to scaling the likes natural wonder of Yosemite, the Death Valley and the Grand Canyon all on my own; from the magical moments of Universal Studios, Orlando to the majestic natural beauty of Utah; from the tall gleaming skyscrapers of Chicago to the frenzy atmosphere of Las Vegas; from the pure Hollywood experience of Los Angeles to the breathtaking Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco, every experience taught me to be resilient but above everything else it taught me to be independent and to take risks on my own and be truly free in the real sense of the word.
With surety I can say this that getting this opportunity changes you in more ways than one. Not only does it broaden your outlook of life and makes you realize that there are kind and considerate people everywhere. Life is much more than the monotonous schedule we have made it to be; life is meeting a sole traveler from Japan on the bus station at 1 am in the night as you wait for your respective departures, it is getting to know sole travelers from places like Australia and Netherlands who are taking a break from their careers and exploring the world on their own. I honestly wish our culture realizes that at some point you need to go explore the world on your own, not because it gives you freedom or anything else but because it makes you figure out who you are as an individual and gives you peace of mind that can rarely be sought in other places.
I was placed in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during my
Global UGRAD Exchange semester. It was the spring
2019 term, and it was January when I landed. It was
the coldest it's ever been there, and for me who had
spent his entire life in Karachi, it was even worse.
I struggled. I was unprepared. I was regretting my
decision of ever leaving my warm, snow-less home.
The time spent indoors, in hindsight, allowed me to connect with the 3 people I was sharing my apartment-style home with on campus. I found friends for life in them, and their group of friends. I met their parents, I traveled with them, and I still try my hardest to stay in touch with them. I was living on my own for the first time, and I am glad, looking back, that I had them to support me. I might have struggled much harder during that first month, when classes hadn't started and dining wasn't an option, if it wasn't for them driving me to Walmart, or taking me along with them when they went out to eat.
I was not going to waste the opportunity I was given because of the cold either. I traveled plenty. And the first time was 2 weeks in of me reaching my campus. I went to Chicago so I could spend my birthday with my best friend. I managed everything, from figuring out how to get to the bus station, to booking the tickets, to getting safely to a city, I didn't know, in a country, I had barely seen.
The exchange truly is a valuable experience. I learned to make friends anywhere, from on the road to on campus to cities hundreds of miles away from the campus. I juggled a few responsibilities, none the least being making sure my family was okay back home.
I'd like to end with saying that campus life is so important, especially for students like me who only have those short few months to spend time with friends, and witness a foreign culture. It's important that there are events in rotation that can be attended together, and there were. Events were constantly added to the calendar online, and I was aware of them. I was also travelling a lot, either on my own or because of my sponsors. I was relieved to know my professors were willing to coordinate with me once I had justified my reasons for travel, which made me try harder in their classes as well.
Owais Atiq Rajput
I was selected for an exchange semester in University of Malaysia (KL, Malaysia) in August 2018. At that time the university was ranked 86th in the QS world rankings and it was a dream come true for me to be studying in one of the top 100 universities of the world. The university had thousands of international students from all parts of the world. I got the chance to live on my own, experience all the struggles and build a network of foreign friends. This opportunity also gave me a chance to experience international cultures and cuisines and increased my overall knowledge about them. I strongly believe that if you are at IBA, you must take full advantage of the opportunity of exchange semesters, they are truly once in a lifetime opportunity.
Life is an epitome of bizarreness, and I say this
with credible experience. Like every other Desi
girl, living in an ever dynamic developing country
like Pakistan, going through the basic grind of
life, I legitimate never thought I would hit the
jackpot. But guess what; there's always an
extraordinary ride waiting for you in this ordinary
world, you just got to believe. That's my secret.
Roughly about four months into IBA and my mind couldn't stop fantasizing about the exchange program. And here's the thing, it's impossible for me to not have the next goal after my previous goal has been attained. As soon as I'm done with one thing, I have to have something else lined up to work for.
Long story short, I worked immensely hard to get shortlisted for the prestigious exchange program and as they say, "where there's a will, there's a way" I actually got selected, marking it stage one of my journey. The second stage was, Apprehension. Lord, the level of anxiety to step out and live on my own with my parents seven thousand, six hundred and seventy one miles away was absolutely insane. But I had to carry out this journey on my own, step out of my comfort zone and face all challenges and adversities heads on. I only knew one thing that I was hungry for learning. I knew no matter how unnerving things might look, I had to allow myself to experience everything.
Stage 3: the actual travel and getting to The United States of America, see what the hype was about. It would be an understatement for me to say that uh, it was a good experience; this was by far 'the best' thing that ever happened to me, in my 22 years of living. Life couldn't get any more happening with me, sitting with candidates from over 14 different nations, eating, learning, and living with the most beautiful souls. It was a humbling eye opening experience, from meeting new people, going on long road trips with them, attending house churches every Tuesday, seeing beautiful beaches, having thanks giving dinner with them, waffle fries at Chick fil A, adjusting to the food there (this was the biggest issue, yikes), learning about States to living with my lovely host mom Emily and sharing room with the sweetest roommate, every single thing was phenomenal. Each day was new. Each day taught me more about the world and about me. I deeply understood how traveling opens ones heart, broadens the human mind and fills one's life with amazing stories to tell.
From being the basic goofy hyper girl to being selected for this program to embracing this extraordinary experience, the degree of personal and professional growth I experienced is off the charts. The journey has been so enriching that I think no matter how hard I try I cannot express enough how impactful it has been for me.
I wanted to deeply thank you for all the guidance
through the process of the exchange program. I feel
immensely indebted and honored that I got a chance
to avail such an excellent opportunity that really
helped me evolve and discover myself. I really
enjoyed my journey at LUMS and cherish the memories
and the friends I made there, owing all to IBA. I
really hope to get more of such opportunities in the
future to represent IBA.
I also won a marathon and enjoyed every bit of it. I could not have possibly given up such an opportunity that really let me acquaint a multitude of culturally and internationally diverse people. I couldn't possibly explain what I've experience as it was a lot it squeeze it into a paragraph or two but I have managed to share is just the tip of the iceberg as the experience at LUMS was overwhelmingly inexplicable.
Placement: Dickinson State University
"Life gives a chance to everyone and you will get
your chance one day. Just make the most out of it."
My mother said these lines to me when I received my interview call for Undergraduate exchange program. Living on my own and exploring a new culture was my dream since childhood and now I am one of those lucky ones who got their chance to live it!
My journey started with the selection call from UGRAD and that was the best moment of my life, indeed. I went to Islamabad for my Pre-departure orientation and I met my UGRAD family for the first time. I was happy as well as scared because it was my first time outside Pakistan. With a lot of excitement and fear, I landed in Washington, DC and got a warm welcome from IREX.
The first thing I learned about American people: their punctuality. They are value time like money. They arrive punctually and expect you to do the same. We got a chance to know our Advisors and they helped us to overcome our cultural shock. Then I went on to my university (Dickinson State University). My host advisor, Wynter Miller, kindly picked us up from the regional airport on the hottest day in North Dakota.
Despite all the exposure to pop culture on TV American culture was a still a revelation for me. America is not one but a mixture of diverse cultures. I loved some of Americans habits. Americans are very tolerant and open to other cultures. They respect personal space and give you privacy. I liked the way American teachers and administration treat their students and their addressing style is highly unique.
As a fan of the book series of Harry Potter and the TV series Friends, it was my dream to see the Hogwarts Castle and the Friends Apartment. My day at universal Studios was the best day in my entire exchange. From Golden Gate Bridge to Niagara Falls, every single experience was memorable. During my 4 months stay at USA, I travelled more than 15 states and almost 30 cities. I met people from different parts of the world and got a chance to know their languages, customs, religions and cultures. Having all my travelling dream realized was absolutely magical.
MBA, Batch of: 2018 | IAE Aix Marseille University, France
I was fortunate to be selected to spend the 3rd
semester of my MBA at Aix-Marseille Graduate School
of Management. I never in my wildest dreams thought
that I could end up representing IBA and Pakistan in
France; a country I had always longed to visit.
I believe the four months I spent in France were truly enriching and surreal for me. I got to experience diversity at its best; share classroom with students from 20 different nationalities, learn from top-notch professors who were associated with companies like HP, Guerlian, Orange S.A., Total Parco, etc. And best of all - I was able to travel around Europe as well.
I got to learn so much about myself and what I was capable of. It truly humbled me as a person and I was able to understand the world with a broad perspective.
I would encourage others to go on an exchange semester and to explore that world is full of opportunities, one has to be there to fetch the right one.
Finally, I can't thank IBA International Resource Center enough for providing students like me a platform to experience the world abroad.
Muhammad Souman Elah
BSSS, UGRAD fall 2018 | Montana State University Billings
"For, were you to count the favors of Allah, you
will not be able to count them. Surely Allah is Ever
Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Surah Al-Nahl, 18)
I was on the prayer mat when I missed the first interview call from USEFP. Well, they interviewed me, and I was selected and joined the 108 blessed people who represented universities from all over the country.
I got a chance to live with a lovely host family the moment I landed in Billings. The husband-wife were Oxford graduates and they not only took good care of myself as a guest, but also enriched my realms of knowledge by explaining the various cultures they experienced, discussing American politics on the dining table and the American culture in general. I went hiking and camping on the Rocky Mountains of Montana and treated myself to the wildlife in their company.
I got a chance to live with the students from Germany, England, Slovakia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea. When I ate with them, played with them, went on events with them, and traveled with them, I learned about their not only cultures and values, but I explored myself and the values that I represented. Therefore, diversity made me learn about myself. By the way, I won the Ping-Pong tournament at my university. I made many friends through this game.
I got a chance to live with an American roommate and that made me a great fan of this argument: human nature is similar; it is the values, the culture, the practices, the dress, and the beliefs, which are different. Therefore, I experienced diversity and similarity at the same time. We both shared many personal values while belonging to different cultures.
I got a chance to travel with Pakistani neighbors to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and New York City while I went to Seattle and Portland alone. Traveling made me learn the most, as we were on our own from matching our schedules to booking those flights, from reserving the rooms to managing those finances, from fulfilling the program requirements to taking those courses, and from attending the classes to hanging out with friends. In addition, I explored myself as a person and made lifelong friends.
I got a chance to take courses related to the American values i.e. freedom of expression, freedom of media, liberty and individualism, and that educated me about these values from an American perspective. I learned how and why law that protects individuals is precedes every other state institution.
I got a chance to go Churches and learn about Christianity in general. My pre-conceived conception was that America is liberal in general and even conservatives would be liberal in some sense, but
I observed otherwise. The country gives full freedom to the religious and political conservatives of the country and that changed my perception about the US.
I got a chance to serve the local community and I interacted with people from different age groups this way. I participated in local festivals like Thanksgiving dinners and Halloween food drives and learned about the American culture. That also broadened my horizons to accept the "other".
Abiha Zehra Rizvi
BBA-8, Program: Ugrad by USEFP | Placement: Dickinson State University. North Dakota
I have always been a strong proponent of change,
as an impetus to life. However, it was in Fall'18
that I realized how difficult and challenging
adjustments could be. From adapting to the true
American cowboy culture in North Dakota, to
pondering at the city life of New York. I went
through some life-long transformations, growing out
to be a more self-aware, accepting and a strong
individual, now even more sensitive about my
surroundings than ever before.
An exchange semester is usually thought of as living in the world of fantasies and having the best time of one's life, though for me it was the time when I learned how to deal with the utmost rough and harsh epochs of my journey all on my own. Having spent most of my life as a pampered and dependent child of my family, it was difficult to take decisions solely and doing things differently. I still wonder how I was able to pull things off, when in real all I was doing was digging in and out of not-so-pleasing-and-easily-manageable troubles. Managing trips, while striving for good grades. Fulfilling program requirements, while waiting for delayed flights. Appreciating food which I could hardly swallow. Making new friends, while delivering on my long distance family relationships back home.
Yet I managed to get the most out of this beautiful journey. I met the most hospitable people at US, got to have the best host family, friends and a super cooperative advisor. Got a chance to travel around numerous states and observe different cultures. Tried surviving on different American food, while getting to taste the American college life. Above all I learnt how to make opinions and see the world differently, with a more tolerable and broader lens. In short I had all that I could ask for from my life in terms of opportunities, relationships, independence and self-discovery. Being through the most phenomenal journey of my life, I am grateful for having given this opportunity, where I was able to live the most productive and wonderful days of my life. I relive this experience every single moment in my present, and so will it always have my heart in my future.
UGRAD Spring '18, Placement at Delta State University, Cleveland MS
"From getting an unexpected call for interview to
making new friends at the orientation in Islamabad,
from making travelling plans to scratching things
off of the bucket list, and from cherishing
memorable moments with international and American
friends to saying hard good-byes, the journey has
been immensely exciting and enthusiastic.
This experience made me realize about what it really is to get out of a comfort zone and learn to adapt and accept. It gave me a clear notion of travelling; as it is the only thing whose excess never hurts, humanity; as it remains constant wherever you go, and freedom; whose excess can either make you or break you. I still recall my days, wandering in the dark alleys where my feet would go numb by hearing any sound, or in the busy streets of Manhattan where people-cum-robots would walk me off with an unwelcoming expression or falling from the sky smelling to high heaven. Every single moment had an eternity which I lived to the fullest. Not only did these times give me memories, they also have me reasons to be more strong, grow more resilient and expect the unexpected.
Moreover, the American culture has a lot to offer. Actually, it is not only one culture, it is a diversified set of cultures, where you find different cultures in every state. I visited more than 10 states and managed to get a sense of their cultures, and believe me when I say this, every single culture represents it's own identity and is different from every other; I was fantasized a lot with the cowboy culture of Texas though.
A very big and beautiful campus, friendly faculty and welcoming people of South were least of the oh-so-awesome things I could've ever asked for during my time at Delta State University. I still remember doing assignments during my trips, and staying up all nights to submit write-ups at the last minute, sure it was hectic but it paid off quite well and I managed to get 4.0 GPA.
To wandering in Diagon Alley for wand shopping, sleepless nights with my DSU gang, street walks in the city downtowns, mentoring middle school kids, catching deadly rides in Universal studios, 3-hour hike all the way to Hollywood sign in Los Angeles and a 15000 ft leap from the sky, I take this journey to be the best time of my life.
The exchange was a life-changing experience would
be an understatement to describe how SUSI exchange
program gave me the best 6 weeks of my life. The
news of being selected for the exchange totally took
me by surprise and to much astonishment I was
deciding if I should avail the opportunity or stay
back to do my summer semester; fortunately I took
the right decision. The whole program was designed
in a way that we gained the most out of not the just
the classroom activities but also to actually
experience the authentic American life.
The summer that went by brought about the best version of me by enabling me to be myself and actually do what I would like to do irrespective of the stringent societal pressures that one usually faces back in our country. Each day of those shortest six weeks were made of new experiences from going for all-girls sunrise tour to another city, taking the most overwhelming rides at Six Flags, sitting by the river to read my favorite book to hardly getting 3 hours sleep each day to pull all-nighters at the Times Square. There have been moments when I slept with open eyes in my class to the sad memory of my paper bags tearing away in heavy rain on a muddy road to see my shopping go flat on the street right in front of my eyes.
SUSI took me to places where I wouldn't have thought of going before including a tour to the United States Capitol, Harvard University, Massachusetts State House, One World Trade Center Observatory Deck , and to an amazing Broadway show just to name a few.
The program was conducted at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS). The program was focused on studying the public policy-making process and the academic activities included various guest speaker sessions, extensive US Election campaign simulation along with classroom discussions on social and public issues. As part of the academic exposure, we were taken to meet the Massachusetts State House Representative to better understand the dynamics of US politics.
The whole SUSI program was a lavish affair where our hosts treated us like their own family. I was fortunate enough to see Boston, New York, Charlottesville, Amherst and Washington during those six weeks. Each city showed a different side of the American life but wherever I went, I met with the kindest and most welcoming people. They take it so seriously that often when we asked for the route, instead of telling us the directions they would walk us all the way to our destination! Making small-talks with strangers sitting next to you in bus, making new friends wherever you go and always being welcomed with a smile all made each moment precious.
There were 30 students selected from all over Pakistan which gave me the opportunity to meet people coming from diverse background and lifestyles. I met people from Hunza, Peshawar, Lahore and even Bannu which was at first mind-boggling for me, not because I couldn't fit in but to know that Pakistan holds extraordinary potential in places apart from the major metropolises. I made friends who I can always count on and that's the biggest asset that SUSI granted to each of the participants, life-long friendship.
Often people ask me about my trip and I usually give them a short answer for it because I'll probably not do justice if I try to put my experience into words. I thank IBA for letting me know of the opportunity and helping me out throughout the process. The application for SUSI 2019 is out again, I would really encourage everyone to apply for it because it could be the best time of your life.
18th December, on the day of my last paper, I
received an email about being selected in Study of
United States Institutes (SUSI) program 2017. From
that day till the departure, I was so nervous and
confused about living away from my family with 29
other students each representing a very diverse
segment of Pakistan.
From reaching Airport six hours before my departure flight, to praying that our arrival schedule to Pakistan be delayed due to a good reason, I changed as a person. This journey of 6 weeks made me realize why is it so important for our students to go on an exchange program. It not only teaches you how to interact with people from different backgrounds, it also gives you a chance to get out of your comfort zone and show the world what potential you have got.
Being a business student by heart, studying public policy in University of Massachusetts taught me why is it essential for corporates to consider the societal impact of their actions. The most amazing thing about this program was our teachers' belief that factual learning actually comes from experiencing, rather than rote learning.
Living with student leaders, especially when all of them were distinguished achievers in their communities, was overwhelming, inspiring and joyous at the same time. From rushing to Franklin in the morning for breakfast to getting Nutella bread in my bed because of my awesome roommate, I don't remember when these students became my family, my SUSI family. The ride on which SUSI takes you is a mixture of complete American culture. From slow and calm life in suburb of Massachusetts to high paced long nights in New York, from classy capitol of Washington to vintage Charlottesville of Virginia, you get to experience the different, yet beautiful facets of US life.
It was an absolute pleasure to get selected with
other 30 Undergrad students all over from Pakistan
for the SUSI Exchange program. Summarizing this
journey would be difficult but it was definitely
life changing. I always dreamed of achieving well in
life, never actually thought that my dream would
come true this early.
SUSI was an entirely unique journey and for the first time I felt that the norms of the society were not dictating me. I enjoyed freedom in the smallest of things, like the liberty to travel alone, to walk around for countless of miles each day, to strike conversation with random strangers or to talk openly and share perspective even on the most sensitive topics. Those five weeks were immensely liberating for me and helped me re-discover myself. From being a girl who was always afraid to express her view, now I feel that I can raise my voice on anything that doesn't seem right to me without the fear of being "shunned" by the society.
All those different lectures regarding the Pak-US public policy concepts, exchange of ideas with the American students, the leadership sessions, scavenger hunts and the study tour impacted me deeply, enriched my knowledge and helped me in becoming a better version of myself. In this journey, I met some of the most wonderful people like the professors, mentors, my host family, and the Pakistani fellows who inspired me each and every day during the stay.
SUSI made me feel like "someone" and not just anyone. I hope that I am able to do justice to my role as a Pakistani student leader and do something substantial for the society. Thank you IBA and the US state department for this incredible opportunity.
I am glad to be a part of IBA family that
provided me with many opportunities, such as being a
part of Pak-US alumni network, visiting the USA
through UGRAD program and countless other. Last
time, I attended Meet Pakistan Conference at
Islamabad where delegates from many cities of
Afghanistan and Pakistan along with the officials of
US-Embassy participated. The conference was
organized by US Embassy Islamabad to build the
connection of peace between Afghanistan, Pakistan,
and the USA. The focus of the conference was on
building peace through arts, cultures and society.
There were series of lectures, sessions, and
artistic and cultural performances which enhanced my
learning and networking skills.
From many key takeaways, I will highlight the prominent ones:
1. the conference made me realize the importance of building peace and maintaining relations with neighboring countries.
2. I improved my networking, social, and communication skills.
3. I learned country branding and its importance to attract tourism, investment and trade, and how national security plays a vital role in country branding.
4. A session with different renowned guests from art industry taught us Pakistan's cultural policy and its impact on our global image.
5. We also had several sessions which in depth taught us the importance of film making, music, dance, languages, tourism, and other arts in building a society and culture. And how it can affect our relations with other countries.
In future, I am looking forward to work on promoting Pakistani art and culture so that I can build a positive image of our country in the world.
"Travel early and travel often. Live abroad, if
you can. Understand cultures other than your own. As
your understanding of other cultures increases, your
understanding of yourself and your own culture will
increase exponentially" - Tom Freston
Spending a semester in the US as an exchange student exposed me to a world of opportunities that I was deprived of before. It was not just about living 8000 miles away from family, but stepping out of my comfort zone. As I met new people each day and tried to adapt to the new environment, the unconditional support of the people there made me feel at home. I learnt a great deal about the American culture, but moreover, about myself.
Being able to change people's perspective about Pakistan as the cultural ambassador, serving the less privileged community, studying courses that changed the way I look at the world, bonding with friends from around the globe, and travelling to places I only could have dreamed of, I felt so fulfilled each moment. The journey was that of an unusual transformation, of becoming bolder, stronger, more independent, more accepting of the differences and more appreciative of the similarities among us all.
The education acquired at school cannot solely make you successful. It is the opportunity to travel and interact with other cultures that makes you grow exponentially. The chances for such an exposure in Pakistan, especially for female, are very limited. However, we are fortunate to have UGRAD and IBA that offer such life-changing opportunities. I have learnt to cherish the little things in life that have motivated me to aim higher and make a significant difference in the lives of people around me in Pakistan. But a big piece of my heart will always belong to the small city in the south of Indiana - Evansville. I am glad to be a part of IBA family that provided me with many opportunities, such as being a part of Pak-US alumni network, visiting the USA through UGRAD program and countless other. Last time, I attended Meet Pakistan Conference at Islamabad where del.
In future, I am looking forward to work on promoting Pakistani art and culture so that I can build a positive image of our country in the world.
"'Goal-driven' & 'Passionate', these are the
first few words that I would like to use to define
myself. Getting into Global UGRAD exchange program
was never easy for me. From writing an impressive
SOP, to structuring my extra-curricular
certificates, to having troubles in application
submission, to managing my car glitches on the
interview day, and what not. From being a national
level position holder to accepting the fact that I
might not graduate exactly on time was never easy.
But all that paid off.
It was an amazing journey from Islamabad's pre-departure orientation, to welcome workshop at Washington DC, re-entry workshop at Utah to losing the number count of states did visited, maybe 8 or 9. All this taught me a lot, and helped me grow as a person. If I put my learning into three words, it'll be academic, cultural & personal. Being a part of dean's list at Kent State University wasn't easy, following all the academic norms & putting my best effort into understanding and adjusting myself to their academic approach took time, but that is what taught me how to excel anywhere in the world.
Culturally, celebrating their festivals like Easter, and making Americans taste Pakistani Biryani and Sheer Khorma during my country presentation helped me learning more about them and gave me an opportunity to remove misconceptions about us, if they have any. Living with an American roommate was one plus point of this program which in return brought all the micro habits of Americans into my notice which you can never find online.
Personally, travelling on my own & with other Pakistani & non-Pakistani mates was not just a fun part but a challenge too. We learnt how to budget our trips, from finding the best itinerary to searching for living space & food in other states made us actually more mature. Even in dorms also, doing our own laundry and keeping a track of our meal plan all the time in a different part of the world made us capable to be self-dependent, which is also the culture of America in some way.
Before going on this exchange I was told that 'visiting America generally and going on this exchange will be a different experience all together', which I never understood back then, but now I know why. Our requirement of country presentation, workshops in different states, local community service, & exploring six different areas of American cultural taught us something which we can never learn if we go to America just as a visitor.
If I sum up this entire journey, it wasn't just give or take but rather give and take, we Pakistani & those Americans mutually both learnt and taught about our society & culture to each other which will benefit both the countries because relations not only translate top bottom but can be bottom top as well. I personally would recommend everyone to avail this opportunity, and make the most out of it."
"I am glad that IBA gave me this opportunity to
participate in COP in My City Islamabad. One key
takeaway from this conference was that we haven't
yet realized the repercussions of the rapid climate
change and how as a nation we need to learn more
It was a great experience in terms of learning how to negotiate with different interest groups and I hope to see IBA becoming more active on this front in the coming years."
Safee Ul Haque
"Climate change poses a clear and present threat
to the entire world - yet, building consensus around
global action can be tricky. For students attending
the "COP in my City" conference organized at the HEC
in Islamabad , this was the challenge.
Over the course of 2 days, 60 students from around 20 universities lobbied and negotiated their delegations' positions on climate change mitigation efforts - including emissions reduction, afforestation, and annual contribution to the Green Climate Fund, in line with the Paris Agreement signed at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2015. The end goal, simulated on C-Roads software ("Climate Rapid Overview and Decision Support") developed by MIT, was to limit the rise of the Earth's surface temperature to 2 degrees Celsius by the turn of the century.
At the end of the conference, IBA student Safee ul Haque (MBA-Evening), was judged "Best Negotiator" and received his award from Minister Counsellor Ms Anne Marchal, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Pakistan. IBA Student Ayesha Rehman, was awarded third place
Safee, along with the second place winner, will now accompany the Pakistani Delegation to the 24th Conference of the Parties (the UN Climate Change Summit) in Poland, this December."
"Exchange Programs: fully funded periods of time
granted to students to go party and travel in a new
country. That's what most people think of exchange
programs to be. And that's exactly what they are
Flying away from a country where you've spent most of your life, leaving behind friends and family whom you love, and saying goodbye to your comfort zone, is not easy. Simultaneously, flying to a country whose culture differs substantially from your own, staying with American host families till dorms take you in, and stepping far out of the circle of your boundaries, is not easy. But is it worth it? Absolutely!
Having spent my whole life under the wings of my father, dependency was my defining trait. And suddenly I had no idea who I was as I dragged 3 suit cases out of the airport when I only had 2 hands. The snow falling from the sky numbed my glove-covered hands as I juggled between dragging my luggage, appreciating the beauty of my first ever snow, and realizing that I've finally made it to the States.
America gave me an identity, one that I never knew I could have. The ability to figure myself out was granted to me by all the opportunities the country had to offer. America was not the kindest to me, and it shouldn't have to be. I arrived in the United States with quite a few people, but had to leave for Plattsburgh, New York on my own. And I was nervous about that. But when I reached the airport, I found out that my flight from Boston to Plattsburgh was cancelled and rescheduled for three days later. And I had to manage in Boston for 3 days, all by myself. Even today, I can remember my heart jumping out of its place at the thought of managing on my own. But to my own surprise, I figured it out.
When I came to Plattsburgh and moved into my dorm, I learned to do laundry for the first time. I had no idea where the detergent was supposed to go, which setting the clothes were supposed to be washed on, etc. But the simple act of being able to figure it all out on my own, without my mother yelling instructions at me, made me feel free.
In addition to these small self-sufficient acts, SUNY Plattsburgh, my university, offered me courses outside the realm of the traditional world. Out of the 500 options I had, I picked Bluegrass Music and Acting. These courses were far away from what I had ever been offered in schools in Pakistan. Needless to say, these benefitted me the most. My knowledge was no longer limited to the theories of marketing and the rules of Finance; I now knew so much more about my other talents - who knew I could suddenly distinguish between the sounds of 5 instruments playing a melody.
The teachers that taught us our courses were also invested in us. Their goal was to ensure we understood - the grade came with effort. It was less about what I got in the quiz and more about how much I gauged. Projects were more practical, less monotonous. Teachers invited the class to coffee and discussed life - travels, passions, dreams. They wanted to make us knowledge beings, not information-fed robots. This kind of system was new to me, coming from a grade-driven environment. Safe to say, I still scored a 4.0 and this GPA is truly representative of what I learnt.
Traveling was another aspect of this exchange program that predominantly changed me. Traveling alone, figuring out luggage policies, arranging accommodation, managing food, smiling in the face of any inconveniences, was all new to me. Viewers on my social media saw me at Disney, smiling into a camera with Micky Ears on my head. I saw myself at Disney, smiling despite the long hours of flights that I had to take right after my class ended on campus. Viewers saw me on the streets of LA, posing next to the cherry blossom trees. I saw myself on the streets of LA, walking for long, painful hours to get to my destinations only so I could stay within my budget. No one could see the struggle, mostly because I refused to show. People back at home often messaged, asking me how my 'trip' was going; no one knew I sat in the library studying for a midterm so I could pack later and take a flight right after the exam.
The entire experience was added to by the kind Americans I came across. My host family, Melissa and David, were gems. From taking me skiing to calling me over to their condo; from having breakfast with me to taking me to Burlington; from spending time with me to loving me unconditionally - they did it all. They didn't point out what I looked like, how I dressed, how different I seemed to be from the traditional American. But does this mean no one there was mean and uncooperative? Of course not. But these people were balanced by the kind souls doing everything to make me, an exchange, feel at home.
I could complain about what all I had to manage - but I won't. How else would I learn stress management? My university had kept me stress free in areas other than academics, enough so I could focus on other stresses in life, without worrying about admin issues, commonly found in universities back at home; without worrying about walking back alone later at night, a common fear back at home.
But all that is great. I can do laundry, I can walk around on my own, but where does it get tough? It gets tough when you have 5 assignments, 2 midterms, 3 club meetings, travel plans, IREX requirements and you have to prioritize and meet deadlines. That's what makes you want to run to your mom and cry. But you learn to suck it up and push through. It gets tough when you're feeling sick and don't want to get out of bed, and you'd give anything for your mother's warm hug. But you learn to make do with the comforter.
Would I change any of the experiences I've had? No. I'm no longer the person I was when I first landed in the United States. I'm so much more. I'm anti-racism, I'm a changed opinion, I'm a fleeting thought, I'm homesickness, I'm motivation, I'm change, I'm that voice in the back of my head that tells me that I will survive, no matter where I am."
"As part of our collaboration with Bilkent
University in Turkey, we send students as exchange
students every year. In Spring 2018, 3 candidates
successfully managed to get admissions.
Here is a testimonial of their experience:
"The idea 'You should never stop dreaming' is something that I strongly believed in. 1 year ago when I was applying for IBA, I dreamt of not just getting into this prestigious institute, but also scoring enough in studies so that I could qualify for exchange, to represent IBA and Pakistan at an international level.
Fast forward 12 months and here I am back to Karachi after completing my semester exchange program from Turkey's best University. Alhumdulillah.
Bilkent University provided me the right learning environment, having high standards of education. During my 4.5 months, I made connections with people from more than 15 countries. This diverse network of people comprises of students, professors and also Turkish industry leaders, enabling me to start a journey of endless growth.
Previously I was not comfortable with traveling, infact I was afraid. But this opportunity made me meet with inspiring people who encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone. I started with desire to visit 10 cities across Turkey, however by the end of semester I fortunately completed visiting 17. Yes, 17 cities! with full course load, so I learned time management.
Exchange experience enriched me with so much confidence, that I started my YouTube channel and Facebook page where I have variety of videos showing life as an exchange student in Turkey, and have so far gotten a total of 50,000+ views. (www.Fb.com/Aligopoly1)
IBA's international resource center is doing an amazing job by creating remarkable opportunities for all of us. All we need to do is Show up! Give our very best! and make the most of life in IBA."
"My journey to London was just magnificent. Not
only did I learn a great deal about travelling, but
I was also able to recognize my true self and unlock
my potential. Studying and roaming around with
people from different walks of life felt like an
exquisite experience that I can not describe in
words. I can feel the positive change that this
exposure has brought in me. My perception of living
abroad changed quite as much, I noticed that the
people of London were extremely helpful and polite.
Regarding the Warwick summer school, it had amazing teachers with tremendous knowledge and their teaching style was superb. Moreover, Warwick Summer School made us enjoy to the fullest as there were exciting events almost everyday. Lastly, London is itself a place where you can never get bored, it has the best subway system in the world so I didn't need to think twice before going anywhere."
Kiran Muhammad Idris
"This two-week summer enterprise program has
given me an unparalleled exposure to one of the most
diverse and successful nations of the world. It was
a life changing experience as it gave me a chance to
interact with people from 17 different countries and
make new friends from all over the world. Everyday
started with a new buzz to learn something from my
peers in "breakfast circles" as we cherished the
stories and insights shared in those 30 minutes of
our vibrant mornings. Waking up after those tiring,
long evening trips was a demanding task but none of
us wanted to miss those inspiring morning lectures
or the insightful chats with notable entrepreneurs.
I benefitted from an enriching combination of
lectures, ideation and pitching, and the visits to
various corporate and government organizations. From
delicious food to friendly locals, Singapore offers
a rich cultural diversity and a unique sense of
inclusiveness. And had they not been so friendly, I
would not have been able to figure out my way back
to the dorm ever!
I was particularly enthralled by how Singapore has managed to efficiently use its scarce resources like water and land, to gain optimality and to improve not only the standard of living but also, to strengthen its position as an economic hub. Despite of its small capacity, Singapore successfully competes with larger economies of the world, which gave me a clear message that limitations cannot become an impediment if the road map to the destination is precisely defined."
SOHAIL WAHID BUX
"First of all, thanks to Institute of Business Administration (IBA) for giving me opportunity to attend exchange program from University of Malaya (UM). It is pleasure for me that I got chance to represent my country, IBA and my culture. I don't think I will ever forget this experience, reason behind this is I met people with different culture and different taste and got chance to make friends from all over the world at one place that was UM. It looks like I found culture of whole world at one place. This journey was of 4.5 months but it looks like IBA and UM made it a decade."
Syeda Fizza Ali
"It all starts somewhere. You pack your suitcase, you say goodbye, you forget at least 3 things that are important, and you get on a plane... to fly away from what you have known as home your whole life. Growing up in a small town I never thought I could make it this far. I was a shy girl with her own views about world, It was until I went to states. Traveling changes you, there is no doubt in that. Someone rightly said that, "Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow." I am not the same anymore, USA has become a part of me. It's strange because when you go on exchange program it's like you build a whole new life from scratch, you get a family, school, friends everything. You learn to get out of your comfort zone, you learn to be independent and for me I also learnt to be myself. Being raised in Pakistan, society always had a say in what I should do, how I should dress and where I should go. But when I was in USA, I traveled alone, I made friends from all over the world, And it was then when I realized that the worst thing you can do to yourself is to pretend to be someone you are not. My world has been expanded significantly and with it I have expanded as a person. I am much more self aware and already feel more confident and independent than when I left USA. And it's just heart breaking to leave the friends you made, but at the end you have the memories you could cherish for life."
Gadsden state community college, Gadsden, Alabama
"My experience with UGRAD Exchange Program was
nothing but positive and highly motivated. This
program was an amazing experience not only stick to
the academics but also traveling and exploring USA.I
am totally changed and can differentiate myself
before and after this program. I took the full
advantage of this because i knew that it is the one
and only chance to make the most of it and this
opportunity can never come in your life again.
When I reflect on my experience as a Gadsden State Community College student and cultural ambassador, one of the first words that come to mind is personal. It was easy to quickly form friendships with the other design students who shared most of my classes. Not only were these relationships fun, but they were very useful as a networking tool to be more successful in my career. Being a part of Gadsden College, I felt each of my professors truly cared about helping me achieve my goals, both in my class and in starting my career. Community service projects, participation in International club and circle-K club helped me to enrich my leadership skills and to create positive impact in the society.
Now I am considering myself as groomed and confident not because of going to USA but what I have brought and will back to my country is "change" .For me "change is not to change others but to look back and help others to move forward". UGRAD program was really a wonderful experience though it was short but this program gave me memories, some good friends, national and international, title of Cultural ambassador, and every single need that i wanted."
Sanjay Puri Bawo
"A journey to the liberals Land, United States of
I have a dream to visit almost every country in the world. I got an opportunity to visit a country which was on the top of the list. It started with the feelings of happiness as the dream was coming true, and it ended with the mixed feelings. I wanted to come back, but I didn't want to leave that place.
Being an extrovert, I made a lot of international friends from almost 27 different countries. In the US, almost everyone in the UGRAD batch was traveling within groups, whereas I thought to travel alone. Traveling alone was the best part of my exchange journey. I came across different cultures and technologies. I learned a lot and built a different capacity in me. I found the ways, to cut the cost, and enjoy the maximum I could. I found different websites like Couch Surfing etc. where people host you for a couple of days, and I saved my living expenses. This hosting has helped me to be friend with random individuals and families.
At the end of my journey, I realized that I should give more time to myself than anyone else. I was not much interested in English literature, I started taking interest in the literature. I didn't have the reading habit, I started reading books and novels. I took more interest in education than before.
My journey to the US has built my academic and intellectual capacity."
"Every moment of my semester in U.S has provided
me with a wonderful memory. people, places and
customs, everything was unfimiliar for me at the
start and it seemed like I've started a new life.
But it was this newness of my surroundings that made
my experience so precious. I did not only make
friends from all over the world, but also got an
undertnding of their cultures. For most of them, I
was the first pakistani they ever met and it was a
privilege for me to be a cultural ambassador. Before
leaving home, I didn't expect much hospitality from
U.S but when I reached there, I was delighted to see
how some American families organised dinners just
for international students and opened their homes to
Travelling to different states in U.S, meeting new people and getting to know more about their lives was a unique experience for me. I saw the respect for humanity and importance of consent at every point. I experienced the cultural differences between Pakistan and U.S which made me see pros and cons of both societies.
I was placed in Bennett College, North Carolina. I conducted a country presentation for over 100 people from my town and I was surprised to see their curiosity for my culture.
I would advise all the future ugradians to explore as much as you can because this exchange will make you learn things that will help you throughout your life."
"My Exchange Experience at the Global UGRAD
There is a famous qoute that says, " life isn't measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take away our breath." This quote defines my UGRAD experience, the American Dream of a brown girl.
I still clearly remember the day I got to know about my selection, I was so overwhelmed that I cried. I was hit with the feeling of excitement along with fear. The girl who'd never traveled alone before, the girl who had no idea how to live without her family, the girl who'd sat in the place just once before, was all set to go to a foreign country that was literally seven seas across.
USA gave me so much to cherish. Friends, memories, confidence, tolerance and more than anything, acceptance.
I experienced my first ever snowfall in USA and sat on my first roller coaster too.
From the mesmerizing Grand Canyon to the breathtaking Skyscrapers of Chicago, from the happening Bourbon Street of New Orleans to the beautiful beaches of Miami, from the nightlife of the City of sins to the snow blizzard at NYC, the City that never sleeps, from the awestrucking Universal Studios in Orlando to the enchanting Disneyland in LA, I lived my life to the fullest in the last few months.
This unforgettable journey of laughter and tears, of overcoming my fears, of self discovery, of self development, of experiences that changed me into a completely new person.
My experience at Alcorn State University was a roller coaster ride, full of thrill, fear and excitement. I faced challenges at the start to adjust but when I finally started feeling at home, I had to come back.
I met people who belonged to different colors, races and religions. I experienced diversity to its fullest.
It was a pleasure to tell people about my country and to clear their misconceptions. It was hilarious to know that people thought Pakistan was in Middle East and that we were all about burqa-cladden women and guns. We showed them the positive image of Pakistan and the cultures that we hold so close to our hearts. They loved our Sindhi Ajrak, our Khussas, our parandas and our pretty traditional jewelry.
Alcorn gave me so much, friends for life, moments that I shall forever cherish and exposure that has prepared me for the practical life ahead of me.
The outside world is full of surprises for us and I believe most of them are pleasant ones. So to everyone out there, apply to exchange programs because its totally worth it. It changes your life in so many ways that words might not be enough to describe. Go discover yourselves, go travel and face your fears because life is too short to not do all this."
"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."
"And that is quite literally what happened. Growing up, I was an introvert who had never been away from family or close friends as such. I was living in my own bubble in Pakistan. Some 7000 miles away from home, is where I discovered a part of me that I barely knew existed.
I gathered confidence to talk to people who were in all sense different to me. But in the process is sharing cultures, we developed friendships that transcended those differences.
I got to taste independence in its truest sense, where I had to look after my own self, from doing grocery to laundry, and where I also had to tackle and solve every problem on my own. I learnt how to stand up on my own feet and live my life on my own terms.
For someone who had never flown in a plane before, flying to the U.S. was a dream. And like all dreams, it wasn't always perfect. Fear was always there, but so was the excitement and thrill for an adventure and thirst for learning.
I've literally transformed as a person, that too in a positive way, from the person that got on the place 5 months ago."
"My experience at Juniata College has changed my views on my own life, future aspirations, and our society in a way that I never imagined. I'd say my time was spent equally with the international students and American students at my college which has exposed me to more than one culture in this cultural exchange experience. At the end I can only say that I would give anything to go back, and to those who will go after me, make the most of your time; you won't regret it. :)"
Hira Abdul Aziz
"I have a confession. I am in love. Yes, I am in love! I am in love with the Global UGRAD exchange experience which changed my life completely. I am amazed by how much I have achieved. I was placed in Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. "Crazy" is the word I would chose to describe my exchange experience. It has shaped part of my character as I have noticed growth in my confidence and independence. I have found out that I am capable of coping with different situations, more open to new things and step outside my comfort zone. I had a great opportunity to make a life-lasting friendship and travel. I met new people, made new friends and explored new cultures. I now have friends from China, Japan, Taiwan, Belize, Cambodia, London and of course America. As a Pakistani ambassador in US, initially I was overwhelmed to know that I was a first Pakistani in Bridgewater State University. However, I represented Pakistan on different platforms and events and eventually learned that people were keen to learn about my culture. Bridgewater State University made me feel like a family and not an outsider and within a first few weeks I realized that I had a family there. My exchange experience was a huge success as it changed me completely and made me more focused on the goals I should achieve. It was a journey of self-discovery and personal growth with unforgettable memories. Before exchange, I had never seen a snow. It was indeed a spectacular and amazing experience to see how fluffy the snow was! When I reminisce these 5 months I have spent in US and see the pictures, I cannot wipe off the smile from my face. I hope that rest of my year will be just as wonderful and inspires other potential exchange students to gain this experience of a lifetime."
"My name is Sana Mubashira, and I am currently
enrolled in the B.Sc Computer science program at
IBA, Karachi. After doing my A levels, I was very
determined to be a part of an institution that not
only provides a platform to achieve academic
objectives, but also groom it students to enter the
professional world. My academic objectives were to
pursue a doctoral program in computer technologies
that would revolutionize the healthcare industry,
and IBA was that first milestone towards my goal.
I not only intended to use IBA as a platform to steer my career, but also to groom myself for the challenges life has to offer in the professional world. I took part in various social events, and participated in various extracurricular activities, interacting with people of different backgrounds to experience, and enjoy diversity within. I truly mean it when I say, 'IBA is a land of opportunities'. During my third year, I got the chance to apply for the semester exchange program at USA, sponsored by IREX, and successfully got selected. Little did I know that I would have the time of my life. I was lucky enough to study in two different universities of U.S. Mississippi Valley State University, and California State University-Monterey Bay. Got the chance to represent Pakistan at an international level, and experience U.S culture at the same time.
Initially it was difficult to adjust in the new environment, with people of different backgrounds, but eventually everything started making sense. I made so many friends on campus, loved when it showered every other day, admired how this country has maintained its tradition of discipline and neat environment, and most of all fell in love with the American food. This was an experience that can never be taken from me! I had the chance to study in a new environment and learn about differences between cultures, which are necessary in this time of globalization. As an exchange student, I got the chance to prove myself capable of coping with different situations, and was also a great opportunity to make life-lasting friendships and travel.
In this course of exchange program, I got closer towards achieving my academic goals. It broadened my horizons by interacting with students and faculties in the U.S.A as as all the major advancements in the field of computer science have originated from the U.S universities and corporations. It also provided me a chance to exchange ideas and to explore technologies being developed in the USA for healthcare, helping me determine the direction of my specialization in my doctoral program. Being a woman, it also provided an opportunity for me to break the barriers of discrimination against women and to benefit from the academic and cultural advancements in the USA. I never thought life would be so amazing. All this wouldn't have been possible if I were not in IBA. After Allah, and my parents I owe my success to IBA. I look forward to achieving million more milestones, inshaAllah."
Global Next Leaders Forum (GNLF) in Yokohama and Tokyo, Japan
"Never did I thought in life that I would land
into a country which would show me the other side of
the world in terms of highest integrity amongst
people. Can you guess? Yes, that's none other than
Japan. I believe it would never have been possible
to get a visa for Japan if I had not been invited
for an international conference by GNLF team. So,
yes, I consider it a true blessing to be selected as
a very first participant from Pakistan in one of the
best student-run international conferences held in
Japan, i.e. Global Next Leaders Forum (GNLF).
Global Next Leaders Forum (GNLF) is one of the largest international conferences in Japan that is organized by the students of the top-ranked university of Japan i.e. University of Tokyo. Each year, this leadership conference offers an ideal platform for a cross-generational and cross-cultural dialogue. Around 30 students and professors from top universities worldwide attend this conference and get the opportunity to interact with like-minded intellectual people from different backgrounds to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and strategies to overcome the challenges of unique topics discussed every year.
The conference this time around was held under the theme of "Sustainability" and its impact on businesses in the future. Leading experts from various fields engaged the students in discussions about new innovative ideas and the importance of a good business mind. We got the insights of how the huge corporations of the tech world went about their work. We were also given an opportunity to be part of different business workshops and discuss our ideas with the bright minds from 12 different countries. I am delighted that I was granted the opportunity to represent IBA and Pakistan at this great international forum. I am very thankful to IBA for making me what I am today.
What I really liked was the respect, integrity and a personalized attention given to each participant by GNLF team members. Apart from arranging a wonderful conference, the team had also arranged city tours of Yokohama and Tokyo for us to experience the great atmosphere in Japan. Asakusa in Yokohama was one of my favorite visits as it represented the real Japanese culture. Then in Tokyo, Skytree was the best place to visit as we could view the beauty of Tokyo from top of the tower. We also had a visit to the fascinating Yokohama Museum where we learnt the history of Yokohama port establishment. These tours made my trip even more memorable.
To say the least, this conference was an experience which was beyond just academic learning. I came back with an inspiring experience, countless memories and friendships in different parts of the world."
Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 (GES) at Stanford University in Silicon Valley, California, USA
"Participating in Global Entrepreneurship Summit
2016 (GES) held at Stanford University in Silicon
Valley, California was unique and great experience.
In GES, There were around 1500 Entrepreneurs,
Investors and Seed Angels coming from all corners of
the world. That also included the participation of
US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State
John Kerry, US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker,
CEO of Google, Founder of Linkedin, Founder of
Facebook, Founder and CEO of Uber, Airbnb,
A clear example of this was found in Silicon Valley where thousands of firms have achieved success. With that in mind, what better place to gather entrepreneurs at all stages of business development for the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). The Summit was 7th installment in a series previously hosted by the United States and the governments of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Morocco, and Kenya. In bringing the Summit back to the United States, President Obama highlighted his commitment to building bridges that would help us tackle global challenges together.
GES 2016 aimed to showcase inspiring entrepreneurs and investors from around the world creating new opportunities for investment, partnership, and collaboration; connect American entrepreneurs and investors with international counterparts to form lasting relationships; and highlight entrepreneurship as means to address some of the most intractable global challenges. Hosting GES in Silicon Valley highlighted America's entrepreneurial spirit and allow American investors and entrepreneurs to see the talent, solutions, and opportunities that exist globally.
The summit included a wide range of workshops, panels, ignite talks, pitch competitions, mentoring, and networking sessions aimed to give participants tailored opportunities to gain skill and relationships that would help their ventures grow. Within the Summit there were demonstration areas, experiential learning exhibitions, and opportunities to connect with industry experts."
"I went to USA in the spring of 2016 through the
United State Education Foundation's Global
Undergraduate exchange program. I was enrolled at
Emporia State University in Emporia Kansas. Emporia
is a small city of 25,000 people between relatively
larger cities of Wichita and Topeka; the state
capital. Being a college town Emporia mostly
attracted students or people who contributed to the
school in some capacity. My college had an
enrollment of 7000 students at the time and about 1%
students were internationals belonging to all the
different continents and countries of the world
including but not limited to Japan, China, Tunisia,
France, Paraguay, India, Syria, Kenya, Georgia,
Netherlands, Germany, Iraq, Estonia and so many
more. I learned about the presence of many countries
in the world upon making friends at Emporia state
for example I had never heard about a country in
Europe with a population of only 1 million, it's
called Estonia. Now I have a friend who lives there!
My advice to future UGrad students is that you are very lucky to have been given this opportunity. Be a good representative of Pakistan abroad. Behave well. Be polite. Follow the rules but also, Take risks, face your fears, and meet at least one new person every day and listen to their story. Don't laze around, experience everything. This is the best time for you to discover your own strengths and weaknesses. Live it to the max!."
"This journey will always be counted as one of my
most wonderful experiences, where I happen learn new
cultures, experienced being part of new environment,
made some new friends across globe and while all
this, I came to know new things about yourself.
For me the journey started form the very first day, when I received my first congratulatory email from USEFP Cultural exchange department. It surely been first of it kind of opportunity. Almost everyone who was selected had same kind of feeling like you start making plans for after arrival, begin to try to put in best of you, looking out closely to all the legal procedures and hoping nothing goes wrong but with all the certainty that life can play around. To the one who are being fervent over been selected in coming terms must also be having or going to have such feelings, which is totally normal yet frustrating. First, try to calm yourself and start to prepare for a period, which for most people going to be most ambivalent time of their life.
If I look at these past months, which I wonder have went away very quickly, were full of fascinating experiences, breathtaking adventures, thunders of excitement which occasionally burst inside; especially for the food which you come to love there. One important idea, which I want to instill is to realize that being privileged to be of any worth to anyone, will always going to be one of the best feelings that most of people going to experience in this exchange, which also ought to be basic purpose of all this journey. From my personal experience, making and serving dinner for the local homeless community to making shoes, for the children living thousands of miles away in Africa, which made me believe in my capabilities and created sense of social responsibility within me. I hope that it will also bring out such sense of belonging to the society."
Ahmed Mustafa Khan
Global UGRAD Exchange Program Student in St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA
"Opportunities this magnificent pop up around
once in your life. And because that is the case,
they come with all sorts of fears and reservations.
You would never expect yourself to get selected.
Once you do, you it seems too good to be true. You
think about things that can go wrong and just find
yourself paying meticulous attention to every detail
to ensure everything goes right.
One the afternoon of the 3rd of January 2016, I boarded a flight bound to Dubai and one experience paved for another which accumulated to being the best experience of my life. The United States of America fully lived up to its label of being the land of dreams. A place where anything was possible, a ticket to doing just about anything in your wildest dreams. In my case it involved travelling to 42 states, getting to roam around the most fascinating cities, and studying in one of the finest education systems the World has to offer.
Four months, twenty-one flights, countless memories and souvenirs, and a 4.0 GPA later, I'm back with a message for all. Your dreams are yours to fulfil. And even the most impossible of aspirations can be achieved if one has a will, and an opportunity."
Mehvish Naseer Cheema
Global UGRAD Pakistan 2015
"Exchange was a metamorphic experience as it
changed my perspectives and made me an open-thinker.
My stay at Concord University, West Virginia was
amazingly enchanting. Studying in an international
institution with students from all over the world
was a great window to reach out to people belonging
from different race, gender and ethnicity and even
different countries. It's all about how you gain
respect and love from the people who belong to
different corners of the world.
During this program, cultural exchange taught me how things can be done in different ways and how to deal with diversity. I also got a chance to represent Pakistan by giving a presentation, along with my other Pakistani mates, which was attended by a large number of audience. We shared our culture by cooking traditional food, exhibiting traditional clothes, showing beautiful and scenic pictures of Pakistan. It was a real pleasure to listen people how their views changed for Pakistan in a positive way after the presentation.
I have friends from different parts of the world and its feels great to be able to call them friends for life. It is because of this opportunity that I have learnt to trust my instincts and to be on my own without any fear. Planning trips and traveling to different states came as a challenge as it was my first time living all on my own. I learnt how to embrace myself for who I am before worrying about what people would think of me.
Global UGRAD program on a whole was an amazing experience. It has given me memories to cherish for the rest of my life and made me even more strong and confident than before."
Syed Irtiza Ali
"I was selected for Global UGRAD Pakistan
Exchange program for the term Spring 2016. I have
had a great learning experience abroad which opened
up my mind and changed my perspective.
I was fortunate to be placed at Endicott College in Massachusetts which is considered one of the best placements in all regards. One of the best memory for me was attending Harvard Model United Nations. I was selected by my host university to represent their delegation at Harvard Model United Nations. Moreover, they funded the entire trip to Boston. I made a lot of international friends and spoke in front of one of the biggest committee (SOCHUM) comprised of 200+ delegates. It was a great learning experience.
Throughout my exchange experience I was able to execute my interpersonal skills in sharing my identity as a Pakistani. I was engaged in various activities arranged by Intercultural club at Endicott during the semester. Not only this, I took part in a virtual exchange program established under the joint collaboration of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and United Nations Habitat Committee on behalf of Endicott College.
This international experience gave me an insight about how different cultures are distinct and unique in their own way. I miss all my international friends and Endicott College. A proud Global UGRAD alumnus."
Muneera Nizam Sajwani
I feel very lucky to have been selected for the Erasmus Plus Masters in Mathematical Modelling program. The international experience it will provide is one of the best parts of this master program; especially sharing a classroom with classmates from around the world every day. Traveling to a different country in Europe and a new university there after every semester will also give me the opportunity to get to know the various study environments, cultures, societies, languages, people, and last but not the least, myself. In my opinion this moving around part is what makes Erasmus so special and worth it. I would really suggest everyone to apply this year for that single reason alone, not even mentioning the other benefits of studying at world-class institution"
Three weeks of my summer this year in Beijing,
China at Tsinghua University's PBCSF Summer School
were the days of unique and interesting experiences.
Meeting people from 27 different countries, roaming
around the streets of an old and famous city of a
new country, travelling in the busy subways and
buses of Beijing and visiting all the city
attractions from the Forbidden City to the Beijing
Zoo and THE GREAT WALL. Each day had to offer so
much in terms of friendships, travelling and
beautiful Chinese culture, language and cuisine.
It was an exceptional opportunity to study in a school of China's oldest University, ranked 5th best in Asia where the lectures and seminars were conducted by the professionals from People's Bank of China and professors from Tsinghua University making it an extremely fulfilling academic experience.
Being one of the only two people from Pakistan as well as South Asia and representing IBA at this Finance and Economics Summer School was indeed an extraordinary opportunity and I am glad that IBA chose me for it. It was a journey which helped me develop confidence and poise and see my potential and opened up for me an entire new world of learning and adventure!
It was a great honor to attend the summer school "Financial Leaders of Tomorrow 2016" organized by Tsinghua University, PBC School of Finance. The two week school was attended by 60 students representing a total of 27 countries and their respective leading universities. The program offered me valuable academic insights with lectures covering Chinese culture, economic environment and financial markets along with a corporate visit. It helped me understand how Chinese economy grew exponentially over the past few decades and its transition towards a market economy. Perhaps the best part of this program was the opportunity to connect with students from different academic and cultural backgrounds while allowing me to represent my own. Moreover, exploring the city of Beijing, where its rich history runs in parallel with the vibrant mix of modernity and development, was a delightful experience. The cultural and academic discourse gave me the much needed exposure which will definitely help me in my career. I would very much like to thank IBA, especially the NTHP office and the external linkages department for the moral and financial support in providing me this opportunity!
The London School of Economics was everything I was hoping for. It couldn't be better! It has the most amazing campus facilities, leading faculty and a diverse student body. My course was full of challenging content and contemporary relevance that made me enjoy learning! I was exposed to a variety of insights and opinions, formed friendships and networks that span the globe. Moreover the social program was just perfect! LSE, being in the heart of central London gave me a chance to enjoy this vibrant historic city by organizing trips to the theatre, Cambridge and Oxford along with the ever-popular Thames river cruises. I met people from all around the world and it was truly a rewarding experience.
Rija Arslan Adhami
Travelling makes you modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in this world and help you understand the world with a broad perspective. I am Rija Arslan Adhami from Bs. Accounting and Finance. I was a Spring 2016 candidate of Global UGRAD Program USA. I am really obliged to IBA and USEFP for making my hard work pay off. Being placed in Grand Valley State University, Allendale Michigan I have been among the few luckiest students of IBA. One thing that I have truly understood is that no place is ever as bad as they tell you it's going to be. I have found USA extremely welcoming and have found amazing friendships. Inspite of being a hijabi I was not at all discriminated or looked upon with hateful eyes. I lived on campus with my four suitemates. We used to have a wonderful time with each other although all of us belonged to different parts of the world, me being a Pakistani, a British, other two Americans, and a Mexican. We shared each other's happy, sad, angry and depressed moments. We used to have meals together with me being a vegetarian because of the Halal food and they being respecting me for my religious beliefs. They were always very generous of my praying timings and food choices. Before going to USA I was hit with much criticism such as being a Muslim girl going so far away alone or that American hate Muslims and all that bogus ideas that both the Medias have penetrated in the minds of public. But the reality turned out to be similar what my mother told me before going. She told me that: Rija respect and kindness is the key to mold every heart towards you against all kinds of differences. And that is what helped. All of my professors at USA, my fellow participants, my advisors and my roommates all of them respected my differences because I respected theirs. That's how the world moves on. You need to share and accept. The journey was smooth and amazingly adventurous with me exploring the whole United States and being in the Dean's List Holder of GVSU. And IBA for sure holds a major part of my success. I have lived an undeniable part of my life in these months that has changed me in the most positive ways.
It was a wonderful experience of learning by
participating a three weeks course in an Italian
University, Fondazione CUOA, located at Vicenza,
Italy. The course was perfectly organized by
International Business School, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
There were 109 students from all over the world and
they participated in four different courses;
1. International Management and Leadership
2. Creativity, Innovation & New Businesses
3. Business Strategy & Marketing Management
4. Operations, Logistics & Lean Management
Following is the brief of experience gained during the International Management and Leadership course;
Academics: During the course, It was a great learning of global management and leadership. The course was full of practical learning activities which helped in building the key concepts of becoming a successful global leader. The Program had two unique visits, one was visit to World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva, Switzerland and the other one was a visit to United Nations (European Headquarter), Geneva, Switzerland.
Social and Cultural aspects: There was a participation of students from 16 countries, representing almost all continents of the world. It was a wonderful experience of sharing, living and studying with different cultures of the world which helped in increasing the knowledge of different styles of workplaces and cultures. The course also included the visit to Italian fashion district of Milan and big companies which included, Stevenato Group, The United Colors of Benetton, Loison, etc.
Logistics: The travelling during the whole course was very pleasant and smooth. It was very well organized by the IBS. There was no issue in visa process as both IBA and IBS provided recommendation letters to Italian Consulate.
Social Events: The inauguration and closing ceremonies were beyond expectations. The inauguration ceremony was followed by a very decent dinner. But the last ceremony where the participants were awarded with certificates, was an unforgettable event. The last ceremony was live broadcasted on internet.
In the end I will like to thank the team of IRC department of IBA which really helped in the whole process of joining the course and the whole team of IBS and Fondazione, CUOA for organizing such a remarkable course.
My special thanks to Mr. Saleem Umer (Program Director, EMBA) who has really done a wonderful job in building the confidence of EMBA students and leading EMBA towards the core programs of IBA.
It was an excellent experience studying Strategic Marketing Course at Imperial College in their Summer School Program, 2015. The robust start of the program until the end was an exciting journey full of learning, hard work, practical exposure of corporate life through various guest-speaker sessions and visits to places like Museum of Brands, National Theatre, Royal Albert Hall, Wimbledon and Chelsea to blend theory with practice. I also got to work on a challenging yet exciting group project by assuming the role of a marketing consultancy to introduce a new product in a new market. Another exciting part is the access to Imperial College Online Portal for a year for any learning material, vacancies etc.
My journey in IBA couldn't get any better than
getting a chance for one Semester Exchange program
in USA. Someone said it right that Exchange isn't a
semester in your life it's Life in one semester! It
really was a life changing and mesmerizing
experience in Delta State University, Cleveland, MS,
USA. It made me realize who I really am. It brought
a lot of changes in me personally as well as
professionally. It groomed me as a person inside
This experience taught me building new friendships, taking responsibility of myself, respecting differences and accepting the beliefs of others. And while exploring and learning about the lives of others, I discovered new aspects of myself too. Travelling through different states, engaging with people from diverse backgrounds, exploring US Culture and getting familiar with educational environment of USA was really an astounding and eye opening experience for me. This exchange gave me a chance to break some stereotypes Americans have for us and also, we have for Americans. It also made me passionate to make my country a better place and develop its dynamics.
Leaving the familiar behind and plugging into the unknown makes you learn about the world in a way that books, school, assignments and professional career can never reveal. I recommend every student to go on an exchange program once during their life.
"The three week course at Imperial College London was nothing short of an exhilarating maze of events that encompassed learning from world-renowned professors, interaction with students from more than 60 countries round the globe as well as getting culturally familiar with the sights and sounds of London. This trip provided me the opportunity to get an in-depth knowledge of "Business Strategy and Consulting" through lectures from industry experts and a hands-on experience in devising BMW's strategy for the year 2020. This programme allowed me to study core business issues facing modern organizations and how firms attain sustainable competitive advantage through the formulation of a core business strategy. Furthermore, guest speakers from prominent consultancy firms were brought in to familiarize us with consulting practice and with the management of projects. Working in collaboration with the brightest minds at one of the top ten universities in the world allowed me to work in a highly stimulating environment and to challenge myself every day. I would like to thank IBA for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a rousing experience. It was truly amazing!"
I believe that the UGRAD program is the best
platform for Pakistani students to counter
stereotypes about Pakistan which are reflected in
the Western media. This is more so owing to the way
the program is designed-such as the requirements for
country presentation and community service- which
provides students the opportunities to project the
passion and the social activism of the youth of this
country. Moreover, the cultural interaction also
challenges the stereotypes Pakistani students
harbour about Americans.
Not only is UGRAD an excellent opportunity to enjoy all the leisure and academic benefits of a study-abroad program, the constant role of being a "cultural ambassador" comes with its own benefits. Being a cultural ambassador, I became more aware of our (Pakistani) cultural identity and felt a sense of pride in being a Pakistani in ways that I had never before. At the same time, interaction with other international students and learning about their culture made me more open minded- at once I was both a Pakistani and a global citizen.
Moreover, with a strong alumni network, I am sure that I will continue to benefit from my participation as well as explore ways to contribute towards the socioeconomic progression in Pakistan. I highly encourage all my fellow IBA students to apply!
Maryville College, Tennessee
"An opportunity to go under an exchange program
is an opportunity that would give your life a 360
degree turn." This is what I had heard from exchange
students earlier. Little did I know that it would be
a similar experience for me, giving me the best time
of my life that anyone could ask for. Experiencing
diversity, traveling all over USA with friends and
my host family, and meeting people from different
parts of the world gave a first-hand experience to
me to know other countries and their cultures. And
thinking about having friends from all parts of the
world, be it America, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, or any
other, you get a different feeling of accomplishment
already. This exchange program not only helped me to
groom myself but also gave me a new way of looking
at life. Taking courses like Photography and Tennis
also helped me to develop my skills in areas that
are not typically offered in a Pakistani curriculum.
In a nutshell, from experiencing the dorm life, to
traveling all over USA, making new friends from all
around the world, presenting my country in various
platforms, to taking different risks I wouldn't have
otherwise, this exchange was actually like a roller
coaster ride where every turn gave a unique feeling
of joy, conquering my fears with every short turn,
living this life to the fullest and knowing myself
better by the end.
Global UGRAD Fall 2015
There are two kinds of opportunities; the good
ones and the not-so-good ones; the Global UGRAD is
the third one. If only the words could do justice,
one would write how enriching and enchanting one
semester can be and how an everlasting impact it can
leave on an individual's life. Global UGRAD
experience not only gave me a chance to study in an
American classroom but also live the American way of
life. Not only this, it also gave me a chance to
cross off around 8 things in my "hundred things to
do before I die" list.
The education in the US had not been very challenging but it had the aspect of practicality in almost everything. That's where our education system meets the difference with the American education system. With firsthand American experience, I have learnt how wrong we often have been when we talked about this great nation which deserves to stand where it does today because of all the effort they put in everything they do. I believe the odds were in my favor that I got a chance to live a lifetime in a semester! Now I see myself much more receptive and respectful towards people. My takeaway from this experience is "respect, live, and let live".
Global Ugrad Exchange Program 2015
The trip to USA was the best thing that has ever
happened to me. It was definitely a life changing
experience. A journey full of excitement,
self-exploration and discovery, it gave me a chance
to 'meet myself'. I realized my potential, my
talent, and every good thing that I have. It made me
optimistic and learn to appreciate all the positive
things in life. I enjoyed every bit of it. It was a
semester I will never forget. I met wonderful people
and made crazy friends from all over the globe. I
travelled and explored more than 15 states and 50
plus cities: Las Vegas, New York City, San
Francisco, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta just to name a
few. You name a city and I have been there.
Those 4 months brought a tremendous change in me. A dramatic 'filmi' girl who used to live in fantasies finally got a chance to live her dreams, to turn all her fantasies into reality. A girl who couldn't even think about living far from her family finally understood the VALUE of FREEDOM and tasted the pleasure of being on her own. I got an opportunity to actually give something back to my country. To prove my patriotism by developing a good image of Pakistan in the hearts of Americans. And that was the best part: I got to represent Pakistani culture, and showcase the great country that is Pakistan. I tried my best to show the brilliant, innovative, talented, friendly and happy side of Pakistan.
Thank you IBA and USEFP for making this happen. For providing me with memories that I will cherish forever!
I would highly recommend everyone to go through such exchange programs to different countries at least once in their lifetime and I promise, it will be an experience they will never forget!.
Imperial College London
"The world is your oyster" are the words I live
by. And whilst in the process of exploration I came
across this opportunity to study a course at
Imperial College London. Imperial College is
undoubtedly one of the best universities in the
world, but it was not the higher ranking of the
college that compelled me to apply, it was the
expectation that studying there, even for the summer
will give me an opportunity to learn strategic
business management in a culturally diverse setting.
But now having done the course, I realize how the
experience only managed to surpass my expectation.
Not only did it provide me with a rich cultural
experience but also improved upon my skills as a
business person in a global village of a world that
Business Strategy & Consulting Course in particular also happens to complement my bachelor's degree that I am currently undertaking. It has further enabled me with the insight required to evolve and sharpen my instincts as an individual looking to make a mark on the corporate world.
I think as a business student, it is absolutely necessary that one have the skills that would allow them not only to assess the feasibility of any business venture but should also possess the knowledge on how to improve upon the performance of any given business. Imperial College, I believe, had the faculty, the expertise and the resources that that enabled me to identify and make the best of any business opportunity that I will encompass in the future.
All in all it was a great experience with outbound learning and friendships that will last a life time.
Tons of memories, life-long friendships and
unmatchable experiences are all what I have
extracted from this exchange program. It wouldn't be
erroneous to say that it was a completely different
chapter of my life that faded away in seconds. I,
who had never experienced living in diverse society,
have experienced the cultural diversity to the
fullest. I met people from across the world, studied
with them, spent time with them and exchanged my
culture with theirs. All of this contributed in
serving as a good cultural ambassador of Pakistan in
the United States which makes me feel proud even
Moreover, my participation in different events on-campus, engagement in community service and exposure to dorm life has added a lot to my knowledge about U.S culture and to my personal grooming. These things have made me independent, more responsible and more social. The best part of my experience was travelling. I travelled to 12 states of the U.S. during my stay and experienced the life of big cities as well. I got to see the places in real which I used to see in movies and pictures.
Having spent four months in the U.S., I can say that this exchange program has broadened my perspective towards everything and has given me memories which I will cherish my entire life.
Tsinghua People's Bank of China School of Finance (PBCSF)
I was selected for a short summer program in
China this year and it turned out to be the most
diverse and enriching experience of my life. The
program, Financial Leaders of Tomorrow, was designed
mainly to introduce international students to the
Chinese financial system and capital markets and to
help them better understand the challenges facing
China, other developing nations and today's ever
more connected financial markets of the world. The
speakers included full time Tsinghua (and Peking
University) professors as well as industry
professionals. In addition to the classroom
lectures, we visited young Chinese entrepreneurs and
companies such as Xiaomi and Daokoudai. Ramsha Khan,
a fellow student on the same trip, and I took great
pride in representing Pakistan and IBA amidst
delegations from such esteemed institutions as the
University of Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon University
(USA) and Deutsche Bundesbank (Germany). This
fulfilling experience is not without credit to IBA.
I would like to note that IBA has groomed us and
provided enough exposure to not just adjust, but
also, hold our own in a very diverse and
intellectually challenging environment. Cheers.
Ahmed Ali Raza
Having rarely been abroad before this
opportunity, I always thought of foreign countries
quite magical and unimaginably complex. They aren't
so. Actually, if anything they can be quite
relatable. This is just one of the several ways how
my reality shifted its share in my four months at
US. I feel my boundaries to have expanded, that
there's more that can be achieved. But of course, an
exchange program of this nature tends to do a little
more than just broaden the horizon of your minds.
All of my time in the United States, I had two major
responsibilities to upkeep.
The first one was rather personal. I had to gain something for my personal development. With all the program design of this exchange, I believe to have learnt a lot in that manner. This program in its essence has helped me be more action oriented and gain certain leadership qualities I wouldn't have so quickly developed otherwise. In addition to this, I got an amazing opportunity to learn a lot about the individual cultur of American Citizens and a keen insight into their daily life, and even somewhat to their held ideology.
As a part of the second responsibility, I served as a cultural ambassador to people of both countries helping foster image of Pakistan in the eyes of American people and vice versa. It's a pretty demanding task in itself, with the whole image of your country represented by you. Understanding what I've become as the program concludes, I am only so glad I did it.
Muhammad Nauman Raza
IAE Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management, France
Student Exchange at IAE has introduced me to a
country no holiday or gap year could fill in. I
didn't visit France, I lived in France. At IAE
Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management learning
from outstanding scholars, rich academic resources,
and the ideal environment to encourage research and
innovation enabled me to develop critical thinking,
global citizenship, innovation and entrepreneurship.
An exchange doesn't only give me six months of a new
culture, language and country, but it gives me a
lifetime of opportunities and knowledge. It shaped
part of my character and changed my view on life.
Overall, this experience has taught me to be
grateful, independent, open-minded and confident.
Throughout my six-month stay, I had many memorable
encounters and experiences that enabled me to
embrace the diversity and marvel at the wonder of my
surroundings. I learned to acclimate myself to
France by bridging the cultural differences that
exist. The people I'm surrounded by at school, my
friends, local residents and just in general the
people of France and European Union are very
inviting and warming. My stay in France unlocked the
whole Europe to me and I have been able to visit
historical landmarks, museums, stunning
architecture, beaches, islands and mouth-watering
cuisine. By far, the time I had during my exchange,
will going to remember me the rest and the best of
CUOA Business School, Italy
"It's one of the best things that could've
happened to me! Studying in CUOA with the best pool
of teachers topped with students from very diverse
backgrounds, was a truly enriching experience.
The course 'Creativity, Innovation and New Business' was a complete roller coaster ride where not only we studied through a variety of techniques, but also visited companies like Giorgio Armani and many more that gave us insights into completely different industries! I mean who visits GA outlets, his production units and then is lucky enough to meet him in person as well?
Moreover, the visits to the UN and WTO in Switzerland, Milan Fashion District and to countless other places was just incomparable to any experience I could ever have! And all this in just a span of three weeks was and still is, truly unbelievable!"
Javeria Khalid Petiwala
Global UGrad Alumni
I remember when I was first informed of my
selection as the Principal Candidate for the Global
UGRAD Program in March'15. At that moment, I never
could have anticipated the extent a semester in USA
would have on changing me for the better. It was a
turning point in my life. I emerged out as a
confident girl who is aware of her true potential.
I met amazing people and made great friends from every part of the world that I will cherish forever. Throughout, I took everything as a challenge, whether it was managing my finances, dealing with unexpected situations, getting lost or travelling alone to new cities, I never felt fearful of anything. Instead, I started to value my independence and freedom of making my decisions.
I showed my patriotism by representing the Pakistani culture in USA and wore my traditional dress, bangles and mehndi with pride. I addressed the concerns Americans have about Pakistan and it was a great feeling to have them say that they wish to visit Pakistan after conversing with me. I highlighted all the positive features about Pakistan as to change the negative stereotypes they see 24/7 in the media.
The highlight of my journey was when I skydived from a height of 15000 feet in Florida! The moment when I was about to jump from the plane, I had never been more terrified in my entire life but I did it because my time in US had made me courageous and fearless.
What this exchange has done for me cannot be described in mere words. Today, I am not the same girl that I was before my exchange program and I have a different, positive outlook on life altogether. I am more accepting of others, broadminded and more appreciative of the small positive things around me.
I have lived my life in these four months.
Thank you USEFP and IBA for making this possible!
Global UGrad Alumni
Going for this Exchange program was my Dream- but
I did not imagine it to be fulfilled so soon. As the
days were approaching by, I was getting nervous and
anxious but little did I know that I would have the
time of my life. I never expected to see almost
whole of US in 4 months which has instilled in me
the love for travelling. My friends and advisor at
ULM did so much for me that made my exchange more
than perfect. They were friendly, co-operative and
helpful at the same time, unlike the image portrayed
by media. What I liked most about studying in US was
meeting people from all over the globe. Learning
their culture and different perspectives about life
was the most interesting aspect. Thus, who I am now
when back at home is far different than who I was
when I left. It has taught me new ways of looking at
things and has changed me into a more confident,
experienced, outgoing and an independent person
which I always aspired to become.
The best advice I would like to give everyone would be to try every new thing, never say No, meet new people, ask questions and step out of your nutshell. Enjoy every minute of your time there as it is never going to come back. It has been the best thing- personally and academically, that has ever happened to me. Thank you IBA and Global UGRAD for giving me this opportunity which I will treasure forever.
Harvard Initiative for Latin America Relations Conference
After getting into IBA on fully-funded
scholarship through IBA National Talent Hunt
Program, I aimed at getting educational experience
cross-culturally, and what could be better than
exercising Harvard University for that. I got the
opportunity to attend Harvard Initiative for Latin
America Relations (HILAR) Conference, which was
themed on Entrepreneurship, Education, Inequality
and Human Rights.
The best learning was the interaction with young Latin America entrepreneurs, human rights activists, educational policymakers and highly qualified professors of Harvard. With the magnificent teaching techniques and debates, we had a chance to understand different institutional issues, policy flaws and diverse system of governance for both the South and the North Americas. Now, I think I am better equipped to understand various policies and their implementation issues that our country currently facing.
I show my gratitude to Coordinator NTHP, Teachers and IBA for sponsoring and assisting me in achieving my objective of getting wide perspective on issues very much pertinent to our nation. I have returned with invigorating aims to serve my country in whatever possible way I can.
Imperial College Summer School 2015
"Completely UNFORGETTABLE experience. The overall
LONDON life experience with a cherry of Imperial
college course on the cake surpassed my
expectations… it's not only about intellectual
development, but it's also about social development
as well. I detached myself from same monotonous
lifestyle and explored another corner of planet.
It's an opportunity no one should miss! There is
another world waiting for you."
Global UGrad Alumni
"If anybody would have told me year back that I
would be going to USA for a fully funded exchange
program for five months, I would have laughed and
told that person not to joke because it is near
impossible. I in USA for a semester, seemed out of
this world. But life is unexpected and it brings you
such opportunities that make you wonder and really
appreciate and thank for what the Almighty has in
store for you. Verily HE is the best of planners.
So here I am back to Pakistan and I am speechless, honored, excited and humbled at what I have experienced. A large part was played by Delta State University and its people whom I have learned to love like family. I found a second home there. My teachers and my friends never made me feel that I am more than a hundred thousand miles away from home. My travel trips were more than just recreational, as I learned a great deal from my travels to different places in the US. There is a lot you can discover about yourself when you travel and especially when you travel alone. The thrill of walking up to an intersection and not knowing whether to go left or right just makes you feel alive. I, for once, realized that the routine life before going to the US had aged me before my due time. Waking up at seven in the morning regardless of it being a weekend or a weekday, shower, shave, dress shirt, dress pant, dress shoes, off to university; had made me uptight. For the past four and a half months spent in USI rediscovered myself and let myself free, loosened myself up, to enjoy what life has to offer. Never in my life had I ever been so carefree. Truly the Almighty had some definite plan in mind when HE planned for me to go to USA and I am ever so grateful to HIM for rewarding me, greater than my fair share and bestowing upon me blessings that I do not even deserve.
I have learned that small things that you take for granted, can overwhelm you, and reduce you to tears. I have finally learned that patience is virtue; that waiting and delaying your judgement, pausing for a split second, allowing your mind to come to terms with what is happening in front of you, can make or break you. I have learned that people come in all shapes, sizes, colors but everyone is stamped with the human blueprint, you just have to look beyond the layers of blood and flesh to find what really matters. I have learned that how far you are away from home you can still find people who will treat you like family, who will cling to whatever iota of similarity you share and raise it to the infinite degree and never even expect something in return. I have learned that people are inherently good at heart and it's the filth in our mindsets and the dirt in the lens from which we see the world that makes them look bad.
I would say that every student should at least once during their bachelors should go for an international trip. It is an enriching experience that grooms you, develops and nourishes your personality to a great extent."