OJC Press Release ID: 2466

Monday, February 15, 2016


OJC Welcomes Global UGRAD-Pakistan Students
 
Otero Junior College is pleased to welcome new international students on campus as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan (Global UGRAD-Pakistan). Joining the Otero Junior College family are Yasir Safdar Hussain and Muhammad Ismail.

Yasie Safdar is 20 years old from Faisalabad, Punjab in the northeastern part of Pakistan.  In Pakistan, he is a student at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad where he will return to and complete his degree this June.  At OJC, he gets to take two courses in his area of study, one Americana course and one elective as well as the College Experience 101 course.  His eyes light up when he talks his “Intro to Soil Sciences” class and his professor Martina Murray.  “She speaks my language - agriculture”.   

Muhammad Ismail, also 20 years old, is from the FATA region in the northwestern part of Pakistan.  He is a business student at the Islamia College University, Peshwar where he is a top student and plans to return to complete his degree in June 2017.  Muhammad Ismail, also 20 years old, is from the FATA region in the northwestern part of Pakistan.  He is a business student at the Islamia College University, Peshwar where he is a top student and plans to return to complete his degree in June 2017.  Muhammad is a very determined young man who enjoys challenging himself, which is why he chose Business Communication and Public Speaking as two of the five courses he will take at Otero Junior College.  He is also a good dancer and should give quite a performance at the International Foods Night Program on March 31.

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan (Global UGRAD-Pakistan) program builds the capacity of a diverse group of youth leaders from underserved populations across Pakistan. Through U.S.-based training and practical experience in leadership positions, community engagement, and in their professional fields, undergraduate students gain the skills needed to implement long-term civic and economic changes in their communities, building stability through increased local capacity and cross-cultural understanding.

Through semester-long programs of study, exploration of U.S. culture, leadership development, and integration into U.S. communities, Global UGRAD-Pakistan students develop a broad and nuanced understanding of U.S. values and become citizen ambassadors who support expanded diplomatic and development partnerships.

In addition to their academic studies, Global UGRAD-Pakistan students perform community service and explore American traditions through the unique digital Cultural Passport to America program, which provides students with a framework for comprehensively exploring various aspects of American culture broadly and systematically. 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.

For their 20 hours of community service, Safdar and Ismail work with the Arkansas Valley Youth Club and Power Hour and Woodruff Memorial Library among other places.  They will make a presentation about their country/culture and participate in a series of local events that help introduce them to different sides of American culture.
Global UGRAD-Pakistan students are also “ambassadors” for Pakistan. Many of them are the only representative of Pakistan on campus. Their unique perspectives and backgrounds enrich the learning experience for American students. Global UGRAD-Pakistan students also give presentations about their home country and cultures at local schools, Rotary clubs, elderly homes, and other locations, reaching thousands of Americans each year.

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by IREX (the International Research & Exchanges Board). For more information about the program, visit: https://www.irex.org/projects/ugrad-pakistan.

Press Release Photo
Yasie Safdar (left) and Muhammad Ismail (right) stand with Otero Junior College president Jim Rizzuto.