Tag Archives: education

International Students, Identity Crisis and Social Diaspora

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In the modern day and time where the world has shrunk in distance and everyone is connected in the social space, it is common for students from one country to go to another country for the purpose of studying.  Two decades ago, it might have been unusual to do so and it was relatively harder for children especially from the country I come from to  convince parents and/or relatives to send them to a faraway land to seek education assuming  financial resources and the academic requirements weren’t the constraint factors. In the world we live in, people are more aware of the culture and traditions, thanks to the social media and the number of international students have increased tremendously. There is a great emphasis on the exchange programs, teaching and learning of new cultures, culminating the stereotypes and enhancing the exposure of the ‘now’ students. This is a good thing right? Absolutely, it is a great way to become a more tolerant and knowledgeable version of yourself and there was no better time to become globally aware than now.

However, international students are migrants even if temporary and just like other migrants, they too at time face identity crisis. In my opinion, having talked to many of my colleagues, students face greater problems, mental and psychological (compared to the migrated families) which they themselves are oblivious about. Many have great experience living on their own, making friends but also experience loneliness, homesickness, emotional breakdown sudden increase in responsibilities, language/accent barrier, difficulty in finding like-minded people and other issues settling in at some point in their stay. Transition phase might be short or long depending on their personalities but there are common problems every international student could relate to. Talking from my experience so far, I often question my identity as a Pakistani student living in Canada who is not so desi like the students I meet here from Pakistan as I have spent my teenage in Middle East (UAE and Saudi Arabia) but also not so angrez as the Canadian born students with a Pakistani heritage.  These migrations from country to country does lead to confusion, and again the two sides of migrating to developed nations for a better future can be debated for hours. I have seen the elderly missing their heritage and home countries but moved for security and better environment for children.  But there are those who are contented with their move and have no regrets. However, one thing I observed is that migration and re-settlement are difficult and the locals should appreciate and play their role in making the new comers feel at home. For students who are working hard not just academically but finding their path towards permanent residency, trying to find jobs and settle down should be helped by others especially those who were once migrants themselves and have been through the whole phase of identity/social crisis and dealt with it. When I first came here, I tried meeting people from Pakistani society and understand the system, get support but it seems people are busy in their own work and have little time for the new comers. Communities should be welcoming and open for the students belonging from their nation who came on their own and help them connect to the right people, mentors , career counsellor and help keep the culture alive at the same time because one thing impacted the most due to globalization is  amalgamation and blurred uniqueness of different cultures.

 

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Life

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Life is so busy that we rarely get time to sit back, reminiscing old joys or simply enjoying an afternoon tea. While in present we tend to think about the future and how to make it better. But how fool a man is, little does he know whats gonna happen with him next. But it would not be justice to put the entire blame on a man as this is how the world expects him to behave. As an Asian student, the society expects him to study hard and get the best grades he can. The teachers, parents and even the distant relatives want him to study and study. But what if he has some other talent say painting, No one really cares about it.
India has the highest number of suicides committed by students because of extreme competition and pressure to study. And when asked by elders why do they want their child to put in so much of the efforts, their answer is that it will lead to a better future. My question to all those parents is that what if the child develops an incurable disease because of extreme stress? So, why ruin the present for the future so unpredictable? Every child is different and will reach where he is destined to.
As soon as a man starts working, he sets goals for himself: promotion or to become the CEO in say the next seven years.And for this he might tell lies, do unnecessary buttering or get involved in organisation’s politics. He destroys his current peace of mind for the future peace. I am not saying that every one in the top position does that…No…but many do.
Every day I observe so many people in Coffee shops having a cold coffee or a dessert while busy on phone, arranging meetings or writing reports and I am one of them as well. We are always thinking about the future…completing work before deadline to avoid future penalty, to get greater pay, future recognition etc but do you ever think that this stressful life has an adverse affect on our health!
We need to take out time for ourselves from the busy routine we are expected to follow. We should learn to live in the ‘present’ and find joy in the small things happening around us before it is too late. We need to slow down and take a break to find our purpose of existence rather than doing things because of societal pressure.

Numbers

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This week’s topic for the weekly photo challenge by “The Daily Post” is “numbers”.

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This is something that most college students have dreaded and since I am procrastinating studying it, I thought it would be the right picture for this weeks topic. It shows the algebra problem to solve.

I hope this will serve as a reminder for people procrastinating like me to start preparing for Gmat if they are to give now.

Raising awareness ,Acid attacks

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It is a decade old incident but it still bring tears in the eyes of Zahra’s elder sister.It was a tradition in Miawali(a village in Pakistan) to fix the wedding of a girl as soon as she was given birth.Usually the age gap between the husband and the wife used to be more than twnty to thirty years.No girl ever complained about it because they knew they will be placed in problem if they argue with their elders and will become notorious in the society.

Such was not the case with Zahra.She was different from all the other girls of the village.She dreamt of visiting big cities she has read in stories and she wanted to acquire education.In Miawali the girls education was only till 5th grade.After she passed grade 5 with first position ,she asled her parents to take her to city for completing her education.But to her surprise she was told that soon she was going to get married and stop stop dreaming.

After few days a man about 50 years old came to her their house.Zahra was told to behave well and bring a cup of tea for the man. She did as ordered.The man kept starring at her with his eyes as big as owls  as she served him the coffee.Zahra became nervous and ran into her sister’s room.She was told by her sister that this man was her about to be husband.Zahra could not accept this brutality and refused to marry him.

Her entire family thought that books have brainwashed her.Worse still the whole neighbourhood critised the family for breaking the tradition and for raising an ill-mannered daughter.The man(her about to be husband) could not tolerate someone so small as Zahra rejecting him.He became furious and threw acid on her face.

All her dreams were shattered.An innocent girl of just eleven had her face spoiled.She used to scream each time she saw her face in the mirror.her life was ruined.She knew that she was a shame to her family and so she committed suicide.

This was a tragic end to the story of an innocent girl.Didnt she has the right to study and fulfill her dreams.the man who did this horrendous act was never convicted.There are hundreds of similar stories each year but nothing is done to stop this.The question is: Why is the acid so easily available in the shop? And why doesn’t the government take any action against such people?

We have to widern the horizons of the villagers before any other girl experiences injustice like Zahra.