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July 20, 2012

200 undergraduates to leave for US

 
July 20, 2012

Islamabad
A pre-departure orientation workshop was organised by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) for departing students here on Wednesday evening.
Students were briefed by the USEFP on the programme, visa regulations, American culture and US higher education and campus life. All students would return to Pakistan to complete their bachelor’s degrees. As many as 200 undergraduate students from all parts of Pakistan will be departing over the next year for a semester of study at colleges and universities in the US as part of the Global Undergraduate Programme (UGRAD) in Pakistan. As many as 100 will travel in August-September for the fall semester and an additional 100 will go to the US in January 2013.
An initiative of the US Department of State, the UGRAD programme will send Pakistani students to over 50 campuses in the US where they will take classes along with American students, do public presentations on the culture and people of Pakistan, and be an active part of the local community they will be staying in. Since the programme began in 2010, approximately 500 Pakistani students have participated. The fellowships cover all expenses for the students including travel, lodging, stipend, and tuition.
“To see so many impressive Pakistani young people — each of you an incredibly talented representative of this great nation’s bright future — is inspiring,” said Brent Beemer, cultural attache at the US Embassy, who addressed the group, “To think that my country has had some role in advancing your education and helping your nation’s prospects makes me feel very good, and even proud.”
“The really exciting thing about this group of undergraduates is that so many of these students come from remote or economically disadvantaged areas of Pakistan. The group includes students from every province of Pakistan and 52 per cent are women. The students come from a wide variety of disciplines, including humanities and

social science subjects, engineering, basic sciences, law, art and design, economics, and business administration,” said Rita Akhtar, Executive Director of the USEFP.
One of the departing students, Nooranai Barkat from Gilgit, while talking to ‘The News’, said that she is a member of youth parliament of Pakistan and she has done a lot of social work in Gilgit along with her family. She has been very active in generating funds for the flood victims and collected huge quantities of items for their rehabilitation. She hopes that her selection to complete one semester in America would definitely teach her new things so that she can implement it in her community because this scholarship also has a community service component in which the students are required to do community service there.
Khandad Khan, a student from Balochistan, said that in Loralai college he came to know about this scholarship and was thankfully selected in it. “By studying in America, and by knowing them I can change the mindsets of my people and encourage my fellow students to apply for these scholarships. From where I belong there’s just one primary school. A lot of awareness and publicity of scholarships are required in Baluchistan. After coming back from the scholarship I would be in a better position to share the experience with my class fellows,” he added.
USEFP, a bi-national commission established in 1950 by the governments of Pakistan and the United States, is one of 51 ‘Fulbright Commissions’ located throughout the world. Fulbright is the flagship educational exchange programme of the United States Department of State. The mission of the programme is to promote mutual understanding between the people of Pakistan and the people of the United States through educational and cultural exchange. Since its inception more than 61 years ago, nearly 4,000 Pakistanis and more than 800 Americans have participated in USEFP administered exchange programs. In addition to the Fulbright programme, USEFP administers a number of scholarship programmes for undergraduates, teachers, journalists, and other professionals. In addition, USEFP offices in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi assist students interested in applying to study in the United States. USEFP also runs testing centres in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi administering the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, and other standardised examinations.