Alumni Events & Outreach Programs

Spring 2017 UGRAD Grantees Prep for U.S. Semester

Ninety students currently enrolled in undergraduate degree programs at Pakistani colleges and universities attended a pre-departure orientation session in preparation for their upcoming semester of study in the U.S. These students – often referred as Global UGRAD grantees, which is short for the U.S. Government-funded Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) – are part of the spring 2017 batch heading to U.S. colleges and universities.

U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Jonathan Pratt congratulated the students on being selected for the program, which is managed by the U.S. Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP).

“It’s inspiring to see so many impressive young people gathered together, ready to embark on a new adventure,” Pratt said.  “I am proud that the United States can play a role in advancing your education.”

Since the launch of the Global UGRAD in 2010, more than 1,000 Pakistani students have participated in the program.

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USEFP Executive Director, Rita Akhtar and U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Jonathan Pratt speak to grantees at the pre-departure orientation.

Pakistani Global UGRAD participants hail from all four provinces of Pakistan, 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 congratulate them and their families for encouraging them to take part in this wonderful academic experience.”

As with other exchange programs administered by USEFP, the Global UGRAD program allows students to grow beyond their academic pursuits. Many students, like Spring 2016 alumnus, Muhammad Saif-ul-Islam, consider their exchange program experience as a transformative one.

“Young women make up an impressive fifty-seven percent of this cohort,” said USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar.

One of the UGRAD grantees addressing the panel at the pre-departure orientation.

One of the UGRAD grantees addressing the panel at the pre-departure orientation in Islamabad.

“Thanks to Global UGRAD, I am no longer uncomfortable stepping out of my comfort zone. Those four months helped me build my confidence, overcome my fears, and get a taste of who I could be in the future,” Saif-ul-Islam said. “Even though it was tough at times, I realized how to manage crises big and small. I have transformed into a highly motivated person brimming with confidence.”

Since the PDO is the last stop before their undergraduate semester in the U.S., the event serves as a refresher on what to expect during the semester long grant. In addition to attending classes alongside their American classmates, Global UGRAD participants will receive instruction on topics including academic research and writing, critical thinking, time management, note-taking and studying for/ taking tests. They will have plenty of opportunities to interact with faculty and to make friends from around the world while immersed in a multitude of social activities, both on campus and off.

Update: The Spring 2017 batch has officially reached Washington D.C. Check out what they’re up to here. For more information about the Global UGRAD program, visit the USEFP website, here.

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