Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Life belongs to those who believe to live it, who experience it & who feel to cherish it."

  I am an individual who is motivated to dream and accomplish it, with both rigor and dedication.  Besides my ambition of becoming a doctor,  I have always desired to experience diversity and new things in my life.  Specifically, I have always wished to explore my intrinsic hidden talents and individual qualities.  Through the Global U Grad  program, I was given an enriching and golden opportunity to not only explore my hidden talents, but to also represent my culture and country.  In other words, I was selected as a Cultural Ambassador; an Exchange student by United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan, sponsored by International Research and Exchange Bureau (IREX)  in collaboration with Department of States.

            After  many phases, some memorial in pleasant way and others in harsh and bitter , I made it to the US.  During my journey I came across many individuals from different parts of my own country-some places I haven't been to- with the same motivation to work for the country. It was helpful to learn more about the essential parts of my country's culture before representing it. This part of my experience was not only a great way to bridge knowledge, but also a way to make everlasting friends. I was placed in "Utica College" New York.  I would say, like every other pupil, my college is one of the best colleges in the US and even around the globe. It was the best placement that they could have found for me. It was my second home, actually third! I forgot, I live here in hostel, too.  Living far away with different people, from all different cultures made me feel like I had limitless boundaries.  Being within a bunch of people, with no one I knew helped me discover myself.  It also helped me learn my rigor to befriend new people.

            Staying in a different part of the globe, with people from diverse cultures and traditions, made me understand that we are the same in the sense that we share the same basic needs, including  LOVE and PEACE.  Living far away from my culture made me love diversity. It also helped broaden my potency and approach. I no longer see a closed door, rather I try to accept challenges. Over the course of my stay, I attended various festivals.  Some of them include: Martin Luther King Day, Asian Lunar New Year, Valentine's Day and the event that I organized:  Holi "The festival of colors." I still remember that day when an unexpected person, my college president, showed up to my event. He said to me, "Dilpat, we are going to continue the trend of this never before organized festival in Utica. Thanks for making it possible." Before the start of my event, I was quite unsure of how would I  manage so many people.  However,  blissfully my group and I made it a huge success.  At end of my event, my own host advisor said, "Dilpat, you are the best!" I responded with a smile, "Haaan! Thank you!"  Now I see myself as
more self motivated, self helping, self hoping, self confident, and intellectual individual.  I am more welcoming to changes especially those that are beneficial. Besides the celebration of festivals, I experienced a more adventurous side of  life with my shaky hands.  I went snowboarding, snow tubing and skiing on one of the largest mountainous rows in New York State.  I also went kayaking on a deep river and last but not the least hiked on a slippery, snowy mountains. I explored Chicago, New York City, Niagara Falls, Syracuse, Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

The things that I liked the most about Americans

            The thing that I liked the most about Americans is that they always are ready to say THANK YOU and SORRY.  Whatever the situation may be, even the smallest thing, they would appreciate it. Furthermore, they are welcoming of change. For example, I once made chicken biryani during my stay at the college.  I worked with an Aunt chef.  She was around
60 and was not familiar with biryani. She said to me, "Dilpat, you are my teacher. You have taught me one of the delicious things of the world."  And the man who was in charge of our cafeteria told me he is going to put biryani on the menu in the fall semester, so people can taste the spices of Pakistan.  Not only do Americans show love and care for a great deal of things, they also are very appreciative.

How did I represent Pakistan?

            I was sent as a connecting link between two nations in order to clarify stereotypes.  Therefore,  the major goal that I had before going there was to represent my country.  I gave presentations on "Women, The strength of Pakistan" and "Festivals in Pakistan: Holi." I remember, when I mentioned the names of Benazir Bhutto and Arifa Karim during my presentation, they were puzzled, as they did not know about them and their stories.  One of my friends, at the end of presentation said to me, "Now I know Pakistani women are not limited to wearing Weil and household works."  In my second presentation, I introduced them with festivals in Pakistan, their significance and celebration. Besides that, I introduced them with Pakistani Cuisines and Pakistani outlets.  Once I wore Sindhi Shalwar kamiz with Sindhi topi, and one of my friend said to me, "You look like the Prince of Pakistan." And I presented cultural items like Ajrak, topi, Khusa and Churiyan to my friends.   I also introduced them with our own "Road Cricket."

The most memorable moments,

            Once I was interviewing my Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology professor as required by the program, he mentioned to them, "If they have more Dilpat's, they need them." In addition, he asked me to do research with him, one on one. Another day  that was memorable is a celebration where the students were able to throw pie on the professors. My professor wouldn't let anyone throw pie on him except me. However, the moment that I am going to remember the most was after the celebration of Holi.  One of my friends came to me and said, "Dilpat, you have made the history at Utica College! You will always be here." Another memorable moment was when I worked in a tree house with children. I was able to teach them and play with them. In fact, on the very 1st day, one of the kids said to me,"Dilpat, be my buddy.  Please come next week, otherwise I am going to miss you."

            By doing volunteer work in the US and attending a Social Problems class I learned that the problems of society can be solved by returning something good to it. I learned all the things get better when people work together with willingness and dignity. I have started to work with innovative forums for awareness, and I also have started to work with disabled and needy children with Dar-ul-Sakun after my return. Besides all that I and my mates are working to educate the middle aged individuals who couldn't get education due to early age due to any reason, We are focusing on education because education makes the drowning boat to float.
 "Experience is the lesson of past to lessen the Burden of future." ~ Michael Sage
At the end I would like to thank USEFP, IREX, and the US Embassy Pakistan for their never ending support and encouragement. Their efforts are highly commendable.