Shiza Maryam is studying at Northern Michigan University this winter semester through the Global UGRAD Pakistan Program (IREX), which allows students from the country to study abroad. Maryam will give a cultural presentation on Pakistan at 4 p.m. Monday, March 25 in 1311 Jamrich Hall. The presentation will include facts about the country's tourism, language, art, music and special ceremony customs.
Maryam is majoring in physical therapy with hopes of becoming a doctor in the near future. She claims that IREX has not only given her the opportunity to accomplish her future goals and polish her skills, but to serve as a cultural ambassador for Pakistan as well.
“Being here from a contrasting cultural background enables me to get out of my comfort zone and to find my hidden capabilities and strengths,” Maryam said.
In addition to her coursework, Maryam is involved in several campus organizations, such as the Health Promotion Society, All Nations Club and the NMU Muslim Student Association.
“In the short term, one of my goals is to continue developing my communication skills and to experience different aspects of American culture,” Maryam explains. “My long-term goal is to become successful professionally and to serve my country in the best possible way by gaining experience while I am here.”
During her time abroad, Maryam has not only experienced many academic opportunities, but the Upper Peninsula's unpredictable weather patterns.
“The weather was colder and the snow was deeper than I could have imagined, but gradually adapting to this weather and place, I learned to enjoy this wonderful time by getting involved in campus outdoor and indoor activities,” Maryam said. “I have experienced a snow bike ride at the scenic view of Lake Superior, beautiful sunset, trees and waterfalls.”
Maryam has experienced life at a different pace in Marquette and she says it is an experience that she will remember fondly.
“Having an opportunity to study at NMU, I found myself to be at the best place to experience American life and culture because NMU has amiable and considerate people who made me able to adapt to a new environment,” Maryam said.
NMU's International Education Services office fills out an application in February or March to host students from other countries each academic year. IREX oversees the Global UGRAD-Pakistan program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
“The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' (ECA) mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations,” its website states.