Events & Outreach Programs

Pakistani Undergraduate Students Prepare for a Semester in the U.S.

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan (Global UGRAD) remains a much sought after award for students already enrolled in a bachelor’s programs at universities across Pakistan. This year’s fall cohort of over 100 undergraduate students, participated in a pre-departure orientation (PDO) held earlier in the summer, in preparation for their upcoming semester of study in the U.S. Organized by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP), the PDO is a chance to brief students about the expectations of the program, including key orientation info on U.S. culture, campus life, travel details, visa regulations and how to make most of your time at university.

USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar addressing the audience at the Global UGRAD PDO held earlier this summer.

U.S. Embassy Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer Bettina Gorczynski congratulated the students on being selected for the program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by USEFP. “The U.S. government is committed to Pakistan’s youth and Pakistan’s future development,” Gorczynski said. “That’s why we send hundreds of young Pakistanis to the United States every year to study and gain experience at American institutions of higher education.”

We are especially pleased that young women are represented in the program in record numbers this year,” USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar said. “Women make up sixty-seven percent of this cohort. We congratulate them and their families for encouraging them to take part in this wonderful study opportunity.

Pakistani Global UGRAD participants hail from all four provinces as well as Gilgit-Baltistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Islamabad Capital Territory. They represent a broad range of academic fields including the humanities, basic sciences, engineering, and business administration. “We are especially pleased that young women are represented in the program in record numbers this year,” USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar said. “Women make up sixty-seven percent of this cohort. We congratulate them and their families for encouraging them to take part in this wonderful study opportunity.”

For many UGRAD alumni, especially those pertaining from under served regions and who fit within the young, millennial demographic, the program is an experience of “many firsts” coupled with long lasting friendships and associations. For Syed Irtiza Ali, a UGRAD alumnus who attended Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts, the PDO “kick-started” one of the best experiences of his life. “Not only does the PDO prepare you to experience diversity abroad but provides you with an opportunity to learn about diversity present in your own country,” he said. “Before I even had a chance to meet my international friends in the U.S., the PDO was where I met some of the most incredible people from all over Pakistan, who are now among my closest of friends. That would never have happened otherwise,” Irtiza clarified.

Not only does the PDO prepare you to experience diversity abroad but provides you with an opportunity to learn about diversity present in your own country.

UGRAD grantees listen in on program expectations, including key orientation info on U.S. culture, campus life, travel details, visa regulations and how to make most of your time at university.

Since the completion of the program Irtiza has been shortlisted to be a member of the National Youth Assembly for the 2016 – 2017 session. He is presently studying Finance and Accounting at one of Pakistan’s most prestigious universities: IBA in Karachi.

While the current application cycle for the UGRAD is closed, this should not discourage you from visiting the USEFP website for details on next year’s competition which opens in October 2016. Learn more about the program here.

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