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    Nurturing A Desire To Study Abroad

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    Among the few misconceptions the current government harbours is the notion that it is a hardship to leave Pakistan and seek earning abroad. Pakistan has the 6th largest diaspora in the world and the larger it grows the better. The trite idea of brain-drain should be forgotten once and for all, and efforts should be initiated to understand trends in the world labour market to equip youth to find jobs abroad. This will lead to a further increase of students from Pakistan to seek higher education and training abroad, get absorbed and settled in countries that are seeking appropriately trained work force.

    Since inception students from Pakistan have travelled abroad to study, mostly wished, and frequently succeeded in settling abroad. Simultaneously, there had been an influx of learners seeking mostly medicine and engineering studies – not to exclude others – from North Africa and the Middle East. It has subsided of late basically due to the growing indigenous facilities in these countries but we should try and regain that position. Studying abroad is an enriching experience where not only the mind opens to new vistas of thought and perception but through comparison and contrast the value of own country is enhanced and confidence raised.

    USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have historically stayed as favourite destinations. Lately, Malaysia, China, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Finland, Norway, Italy, France as well as Turkey have evolved as convenient ports of call. Both undergraduate and post graduate have been the goal of students. This is the first in a series where the best ways to get to an international destination shall be elaborated, and only the generic aspects shall be discussed in this piece.

    In the present age, movement of people from high population countries like Pakistan towards high yield but low population countries is the great balancing action.

    Students from diverse backgrounds invariably nurture a desire to study abroad. Finances do often pose hindrances and the best approach is to keep it staggered by making it a two-step or three-step process. Even if admission to high profile traditional academic destination countries is not possible in the first instance, new study destinations may be opted for a first degree with a seamless progression to further education or research jobs in A-listed study destinations. This comes with an added advantage of an accompanying allowance. Malaysia, China, and Turkey among others are providing world class degrees at a much lower price with convenient progression to USA, UK and elsewhere for further study and research.

    Students should opt for their majors wisely and parents and peers should facilitate in diverting their interests towards job-bound qualifications such as the emerging fields of AI, Industrial Biotechnology, Minerals and Alloys, Nano Biology, and Energy Saving among others. Traditional fields such as Business, Accounting, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, and Engineering are always there but one should stay on top of attaining new dimensions.

    As the world resettles after the pandemic, there are opportunities to benefit from as Higher Education institutions around the world await recruitments for in situ learning. Simultaneously, developments such as England allowing Post Study Work (PSW) visa after a gap of many years and Canada offering the Student Direct Stream (SDS) to students from selected countries including Pakistan should be benefitted from.

    Aiming to study abroad is a worthwhile activity and your dream destination is certainly much closer than you think: appropriate choice, corresponding resources and patience for a staggered approach towards a prosperous future will certainly fulfill your dreams. Be genuine, not only in actions but thought as well:

    • Focus on your academic or research content
    • Do not harbor any fear the consular officer might reject your application on the pretext of you being a potential settler – they are indeed looking for such people
    • State your intentions regarding carving out a career through the right qualifications
    • Emphasise on your desire to apply your knowledge on entrepreneurial pursuits back home
    • Be prepared to explain your plan and accompanying documents in simple and clear terms

    It would be helpful to know about the world and the opportunities that other countries offer so that the consular officer is convinced regarding your application. It could certainly be useful to draw comparisons between other study destinations and why you are choosing this particular one, but be careful not to shower lavish praise in a professional situation, and maintain academic decorum.

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