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Pakistani student spending a semester at Shepherd

ISSUED: 24 March 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — This semester Shepherd University welcomed its second foreign exchange student through the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program. Khadija Ali Kazmi, 23, is attending Shepherd for one semester through the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan (Global UGRAD-Pakistan).

Ali Kazmi attends Foreman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan, where she majors in biotechnology and education and works as a private tutor. She is finishing her junior year at Shepherd taking education courses. Ali Kazmi said her long-term goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in education and become a high school teacher.

“This is one of my goals because I am passionate toward it,” Ali Kazmi said. “It just comes naturally to me. I think I form a connection with the students. I think that’s the most important thing for me to become a teacher in order to influence the lives of the students and somehow help the underprivileged children in my country to become a bigger voice there.”

The education courses Ali Kazmi takes at Shepherd are giving her many ideas she hopes to utilize when she returns to Pakistan. For example, she’s learning techniques to keep students more engaged, how to adapt her teaching to accommodate various learning styles, and that it’s important to make students understand the relevance of what they’re learning.

Ali Kazmi was encouraged to apply for the Global UGRAD-Pakistan program by three cousins who had previously participated.

“It’s a lifetime opportunity and you learn a lot,” she said. “You see a cultural difference and you kind of explore the world because the U.S. is such a big country.”

Ali Kazmi has had no problem adjusting to life at Shepherd, but she said it is much quieter in Shepherdstown than in Lahore, which is a large city with lots of traffic. Another big difference is the weather. The average temperature in Lahore in January is about 55 degrees, so the blizzard that hit the Middle Atlantic region in January was like nothing she’d ever seen before.

“I am experiencing this kind of winter for the first time in my life,” she said. “I made a snow angel and snowman, and this bunch of guys made an igloo and we went inside. It was great.”

Ali Kazmi has enjoyed spending time at Shepherd and in Shepherdstown, which she finds has a lot of helpful and hospitable people—just like you would find in Pakistan, where she said visitors from the U.S. are always welcome.

“Pakistan is a beautiful country that has a beautiful scenic view and we have plenty of sports, food, and different things that they may never have experienced somewhere else,” she said. “They are welcome to come to our country and I tell them if they come it would be such a warm welcome for them that they would feel like some kind of king or queen. We treat people who come from abroad very humbly and hospitably.”

Ali Kazmi has been able to see a bit of the U.S. during her stay here. She visited Florida and Chicago during spring break, has taken trips into Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and will attend a workshop in California at the end of the semester before heading back to Pakistan.

Listen to the interview HERE.

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