Sharukh, from Pakistan, arrived at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre in 2016. Now he is an advocate and youth activist, and works as a President at the National Youth Forum Pakistan. Previously, he was a member of the Pakistani National Youth Parliament. Read on to find out more about his time studying with us at the International Study Centre.
My time at the International Study Centre
I had a rough time before coming to the International Study Centre to study the Undergraduate Foundation Programme in Business and Social Sciences. My mother passed away in late 2015 and it was her dream that I become a Barrister-at-Law. Afterwards, my father helped me pursue her dream, a dream that became mine too. In 2016, I packed my bags and landed in Glasgow. I was very nervous and scared as I was moving to a totally different educational system.
How the International Study Centre staff helped me
Believe me, the teaching staff at the International Study Centre are top-notch! They are not just your teachers but your friends too. The staff will go out of their way to help you with your studies and will always give you moral support. The teachers offered me extra classes to help my learning and they did it without making me feel like a burden. I remember writing an article about my late mother and showing that article to my English tutor. Her words and feedback were so motivating that they guided and pushed me to write more about my life experience.
I have visited the International Study Centre at least four times after progressing and the staff still remember me, and you will never forget them. ‘ISC’ does not stand for International Study Centre in my world, it stands for Intensive Student Care.
The classroom experience
The regular interactive sessions at the International Study Centre helped me discover the talkative person inside me. The best thing about these sessions was that I learnt how to become a leader and not a boss – with every student getting equal opportunities and chances. This helped me to understand others and taught me patience. I made some very good friends from across the globe and I am still in touch with them today.
The International Study Centre taught me no matter where you come from, which race you belong to, or which religion you follow, we all are the same. Discrimination wasn’t something I experienced at the International Study Centre.
One of the beautiful qualities of the International Study Centre staff is that they never ever make you feel like you are in a competition. They would never say that if you get lower grades than your classmates, you might fall behind. They focus on you and want you to focus on yourself.
An international student’s advice
First, don’t fall into the ‘competition trap’. Your classmates are not your competitors, you are your only competition. If you are able to overcome your own weaknesses then nothing can stop you. If you do try to compete with others, succeeding might not be the victory that you hoped it would be. However, if you work to improve yourself, then you will have more confidence to face life’s hurdles.
Secondly, you should be patient and not learn too quickly. The man who travels a mile each day will, one day, get around the world. Education is not a quick journey.
I would suggest you start thinking about what qualities you have and what you could do with them. Maybe you are a future Prime Minister, MP, founder and leader of an NGO, or a journalist. Ask yourself about your achievements, your capabilities, your strengths and weaknesses, your interests and your role models. Through this, you will learn how you can make a change.
Use what you learnt at the International Study Centre
Naturally, when you experience good things in life, you try and use them in your own life and share the knowledge. So I started to think about counselling people, helping and sorting their problems out and joining hands in their struggle and getting them through challenging times.
Following that, I started hosting social activities in Pakistan. I collected funds through donations, arranged medical camps, gave counselling to the students and raised their voices. Had I not had such a positive experience at the International Study Centre, I might have been working as an ordinary lawyer who would wake up at 8am and be happy.
I wish you the best and may you be successful and work for the betterment of your societies.