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Kent State Welcomes Global UGRAD-Pakistan Student to CampusPosted March 26, 2012 | Ryan Collins
Kent State University is pleased to welcome a new international student on the Kent Campus as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan (Global UGRAD-Pakistan). Amina Muntaqa, a junior architecture major, joins the Kent State family.
The Global UGRAD-Pakistan program aims to advance youth leadership and promote mutual understanding by providing one academic term of nondegree undergraduate U.S. study on a highly competitive basis to a diverse group of emerging student leaders from underrepresented sectors of Pakistan.
“Global UGRAD – Pakistan fellows go through a rigorous screening process, which focuses on academic merit and leadership potential,” says David L. Di Maria, director of international student recruitment, admissions and advising, at Kent State’s Office of Global Education. “Amina was selected among hundreds of outstanding applicants from across Pakistan.”
Muntaqa is in the program because of the exposure she will get to American architecture, the chance to explore the world and to gain ideas regarding architecture.
In addition to their academic studies, Global UGRAD-Pakistan students perform community service and explore American traditions through the unique Cultural Passport to America program. While interacting with Americans in the community and on campus, Global UGRAD-Pakistan students develop a more well-rounded perception of American culture. They go on to share this understanding of the U.S. with friends, family and others in their communities back home.
Global UGRAD-Pakistan students are also ambassadors for Pakistan. Many of them are the only representatives of Pakistan on campus. Their unique perspectives and backgrounds enrich the learning experience for American students.
Muntaqa, who has never been to the United States before, believes her ambassadorial efforts are working.
“I feel like I am giving a very positive image to the people here by interacting with them in a very normal way as much as possible to remove their misconceptions, if they had any,” she says.
Di Maria elaborates on what Muntaqa is required to do for the program.
“During her stay in the United States, Amina will give presentations to the Kent community about Pakistan's history, people, culture and values. She must also complete 20 hours of volunteer work within the Kent community and participate in cultural activities designed to increase her understanding of Ohio and the United States. After she returns to Pakistan, Amina will share her understanding of U.S. culture with her home community,” he says.
The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State and is administered by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) brings together students and professionals from the United States and across the world to foster stronger relationships between countries. ECA sponsors and funds initiatives to bring international students to the United States and sends U.S. students overseas. For more information about ECA exchanges, visit http://exchanges.state.gov.
IREX is an international nonprofit organization providing thought leadership and innovative programs to promote positive lasting change globally. For more information about IREX, visit www.irex.org.