Fabiha Khan from Pakistan is studying psychology at Mohawk Valley Community College

Fabiha Khan from Pakistan is studying psychology at Mohawk Valley Community College

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

As someone studying psychology, I really wanted to be in an atmosphere where mental health is given the importance and attention it truly deserves, which is why I decided that the best place for it would be USA.

Why did you choose this particular college or university? What attracted you about your school? 

I chose Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) for many reasons. the first would definitely be the diversity of the college as well as the city it is in which makse it a lot easier for an international student to find people and places that help them feel at home. Second would be the affordable education — MVCC has one of the lowest tuitions in New York state while making no compromises on the quality of education they provide. Third would be the fact that it has on campus housing which is a big benefit for an international student, it saves one from the hassle of finding off campus housing and dealing with unnecessary expenses. Lastly, the staff that I coordinated with were always incredibly warm and considerate towards me both before and after I became a student. All of these and many more such qualities are what made me choose Mohawk Valley Community College. 

What do you like best about your program or university?

What I love about my college is the fact that the sizes of classrooms are comparatively smaller and professors constantly have time for students. They are very much involved in their students' success and give them their undivided attention.

What do you miss most about home?

I miss my family the most of course, the food, the comfort of my bedroom, and my mom’s warm smile. 

What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?

Coming from a culture where teachers are respected a lot and there is a significant distance between students and teachers, the friendly relationship people share with their teachers in USA was a pleasant surprise and made me enjoy my experience a lot more.

... your biggest disappointment?

Probably the fact that I didn’t prepare myself enough for how hectic college can be, and it took me a while to adjust to that pace but eventually I caught on. Another regret would be that I didn’t get more time on campus due to COVID-19  but I am hoping to be back on campus soon.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

I have spoken and studied English almost all my life so conversations were never that hard for me and language differences did not bother me as much. But I would often find myself in a spot where I wouldn't be able to easily pour out my thoughts into words. In such situations, I would try and look up more words and work towards increasing my vocabulary 

... finances?

Finances can often be an issue, especially when you come from a place with higher conversion rates, but things have been sailing smoothly thanks to my parents who are kind enough to fund my education. Whereas I have tried my best this past semester to get the best grades possible so that I can apply for scholarships as well.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

It was a nice change to finally not be required to learn things by rote and be running after ranks. The education system I came from is incredibly competitive, and things can get fierce and hard in order to get the best grade possible. You also are made to study subjects you may not have any interest in or may not even need for your future. The education system here though is based on what interests a student and what is required for their goal profession.

What are your activities? 

I am someone who must be busy, and sitting still is a task for me especially when I am on campus. I was involved in Program Board which decides, organizes, and arranges most of the events that happen on campus; being a part of Program Board kept me really engaged with various students and gave me the opportunity to meet some really great artists, influencers, and speakers. I am also a member of the Student Congress, which helps me polish my leadership skills. I am also a part of the Muslim Student Association, which helps me stay in touch with my roots. And I am also involved in Residence Council, which lets me contribute towards making campus life a bit more fun for my fellow dorm residents.

How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?

It was fairly easy to make friends in the USA. People are mostly very warm, and they welcome you with open arms. I have found that most of my peers were very interested in knowing about my culture and traditions as well as my religious beliefs without ever being disrespectful or offensive towards them. My opinions have always been welcomed and heard. I have met some really great people here,and I am sure most of them will be my lifelong friends.

What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?

I plan on becoming a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist in the future, and an education in psychology is the first step towards that goal. Coming from a culture that still considers mental health issues somewhat taboo or a hushed topic, I want to gain the best education I can get to spread awareness regarding mental health in my country 

What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering a U.S. education?

Enjoy each day you spend here, and learn something new whenever you get a chance. This experience can teach you so much, and it will shape you to excel in academic and personal life. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, share your opinions, and respect the counter opinions as well. The friends you make today will most likely stick around way longer than you might think, cherish that. Enjoy your campus and your educational experience, you will definitely miss this a lot once it’s over.

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Fabiha Khan from Pakistan is studying psychology at Mohawk Valley Community College.

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