While this week’s blog was intended for common misconceptions students have when traveling abroad to continue their higher education, an amazing article was published in the DAWN newspaper by Umair Mazhar, Senior Academic Advisor for Stratford University!
Some of you may have read this in Monday’s newspaper although this will be a first-time read for other students. What you will notice throughout the article is that Umair started off where most of you are, right now! Touching on points about the uncertainties and insecurities international students face, common questions that are asked and what happened when he went for his dream, it’s guaranteed to touch a personal spot for every person who reads this.
Take a look for yourself and see how many points touch home with you!
Stratford University, USA – Where My Dreams Came True!
Written by, Umair Mazhar,
United States of America: the only destination that drove my motivation after completing my Bachelors Degree from Pakistan. Emerging from a middle class family, where education is a priority, I always had the desire of excelling in life and pursuing my higher education in the United States. I knew that today’s business world is changing quite rapidly. Economic growth and the constantly changing needs of modern industries can provide exciting and challenging opportunities for qualified graduates – I also wanted to make a mark for myself in this global era.
Easier said than done – right? This dream was definitely an uphill task, like anything else in life, but I was determined to make an effort!
As the time to apply for admission in most universities approached, several questions and concerns were raised in my mind, elements like uncertainty proved to be the icing on the cake. I did not know where to go and which university to choose. Majority of my classmates, who wanted to study abroad, decided to go to European countries. I was swinging between the idea of ‘following my dream’ or ‘following the crowd’. Following the crowd definitely seemed easier, but some force within myself wanted me to follow my dream.
I did know one thing at this point that I wanted to pursue my higher education in the field of Business Administration. Advised by many well-wishers and well placed people around me, I started researching on the internet. I was not too surprised by the educational opportunities United States had to offer. Unlike several other education destinations who claim their monopoly in the education field, the education system in USA had to offer much more. The challenging coursework and competitive environment, which leads to much more advanced quality and excellence in research and education was a highlight. It is no wonder that a number of renowned professionals and Scientists of European origin are also associated with US Universities. I also found the diversity in the US education system to be very interesting. I personally believe US had more learning opportunities and a much more diverse learning environment than any European country.
The involvement of industry professionals, working for world’s largest corporations, in the field of education was another major highlight. The opportunity to be able to learn from these professionals or just to be able to interact with them was staggering. At this point, I knew US was the destination for me.
Next step was to choose a university that offers both cutting-edge education and value for money. This was perhaps the most important decision of my life as that institution was going to become a part of my life and myself While searching among dozens of colleges and universities in the United States my top priority was to find a university that offers quality education that I can afford and great return on investment – my time and money.
I wanted to pursue a challenging and rewarding career and needed a university that will prepare me for it. A university that strives to give its students skills and knowledge that will lead to a satisfying career by fully maximizing their potential. A university, that is able to achieve these goals through a carefully-planned program of instruction, career counseling, hands-on learning experiences, individual academic and placement assistance. I wanted to study at a university whose mission is to employ the most highly qualified and experienced educators and professionals in order to produce graduates who are technically and academically skilled, prepared to meet the needs of employers, analytically astute, committed to lifelong learning, prepared to be a part of the global workforce and are able to adopt critical thinking as a primary component in their teaching and learning cycle. In short I wanted to study in a university that provides education that balances technical, professional and critical thinking components.
While quality of education was the top preference, I also considered several other factors to make a decision; an important one was the student/teacher ratio. The ratio measures the number of students per teacher it reflects teacher workload and the availability of teachers’ services to their students. The lower the student/teacher ratio, the higher the availability of teacher services to students. I always wanted to study in an environment where I am not just “someone” in the crowd. Personalized attention from my teachers is very important for me.
Diverse student body was another factor I considered, I wanted to attend a university where there’s an international presence. The
transition into a completely new society becomes easy if you have people from diverse cultural background around you. There are countless advantages of studying in a culturally diverse classroom amongst others are helping students’ overcome their own personal and cultural biases to language improvement and cultural understanding.
Stratford University seemed to be a perfect fit for the sketch I had in my mind for selecting an institution of higher learning. Stratford University welcomes students from all over the globe. I still remember I had classmates from over 25 countries in my program. I applied for admission and to my surprise the admission was processed in just 3 weeks. The University offers rolling admissions and there are five terms in a year unlike most traditional Universities that have two or three terms a year. The International Student Office at Stratford University was constantly in touch with me during the entire admission process. They kept me informed about all the developments and updates on my application.
Even though my eyes were filled with the pain and tears of parting ways from my loved ones, I knew my hopes and dreams would encourage me to do something for myself and my family. Charged with these mixed emotions, I came to the United States to pursue higher education at Stratford University.
I had the most memorable time at Stratford University. I had great instructors who were incredibly patient, supportive, encouraging and enthusiastic in their teaching. The other fellow students from all over the globe and I formed a lifelong bond of friendship and the friendly and supportive atmosphere of the university made the educational experience extremely enjoyable. The package Stratford University had to offer exceeded my expectations and allowed me to successfully graduate with honors making my parents, family and friends proud. The day I walked, was the most memorable day of my life. I will always cherish the memories I have collected throughout my stay at Stratford.
It is because of the diverse skill set and the continuous guidance I received from Stratford University, that I was able to fulfill my dream of working for Corporate America. I was employed shortly after my graduation and have been stepping up the ladder ever since. I am happy to be my family’s support and pride. I must also acknowledge the prime location of Stratford University, located in historic Virginia just about ten miles outside of Washington, DC gives the students and alumni a relatively easy access to the job hub of the country.
By choosing to pursue your higher education at Stratford University, you can be assured that it’s going to be an amazing experience. I am very thankful to Stratford staff, faculty members and my fellow students for all the opportunities they provided me for learning and for making me what I always wanted to be – Successful! If I can do it, you can too!
Stratford University – where my dreams came true!
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