Ali Raza from Pakistan: Studying for a Master’s Degree in Accounting at University of North Texas

Ali Raza from Pakistan: Studying for a Master’s Degree in Accounting at University of North Texas

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

I decided to study in the USA because of the high quality of education and standard of living. I have family here and they highly recommended an education and a degree from an American university.

Why did you choose the University of North Texas?

I chose the University of North Texas (UNT) because some of my friends and cousins graduated from here and they spoke highly of this institution.

Some of the things that attracted me to this school were the excellent university facilities, inexpensive nearby apartments, low tuition, and excellent international student services. UNT is located in Denton, a small, quiet, and friendly university-centered city with a warm climate.

What do you like best?

I am in the 5-year BS/MS Accounting Program and it is truly a great game-changing and revolutionary program. Instead of spending six years earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree separately, I will get to graduate within five years, take fewer classes, and get both degrees at the same time.

What do you miss most?

I miss my family, friends, and most of all, the food. I grew up in Nigeria and I miss all the food. I’ve gone to numerous Nigerian restaraunts, but the food is just not the same as back home. I also miss the culture, people, and language of Nigeria.

What was your biggest surprise?

My biggest surprise about U.S. life was the independence and freedom everyone has here. People can have their own political and religious beliefs without having fear of being attacked.

Regarding education, I expected the courses to be a little more difficult.

... your biggest disappointment?

My biggest disappointment was realizing the lack of knowledge that is prevalent among U.S. citizens regarding foreign countries and cultures. Another disappointment is the sterotyping that happens in some parts of the U.S.

How have you handled:
... language differences?

I studied in a high school that followed the British curriculum, so it wasn’t too difficult to handle differences.

... finances?

At first, everything seemed so expensive when I converted the price. For example, a burger that cost about five dollars in the U.S. was worth only about one dollar [back home] when converted. I got accustomed to this over time, but every price seemed inflated in the beginning.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

The U.S. educational system is very well-organized and adaptable. Although, I had to deal with some issues at first. For example, in Nigeria, it was okay to joke with your professor about asking for extra points or marks. Here, it is seen as asking the professor to be biased in your favor, which is disrespectful.

What are your activities?

I am …

  • The President of the Pakistani Student Association and Co-Founder of the Nigerian Student Organization
  • A member of Beta Alpha Psi, an accounting honors society
  • An Orientation Leader, Peer Mentor, and Pakistani Ambassador
  • An active volunteer for UNT-International and part of the Volunteer Tutor Program

I also love playing soccer, table tennis, and cricket.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

I come from a very diverse background, so it was not too difficult for me to make friends. It all started when I joined some organizations, did volunteer work, took part in events, and played sports.

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

My career goal is to become a CPA [Certified Public Accountant] and work for one of the four big accounting firms in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. My U.S. education is of paramount importance to this goal and my master’s degree will help me achieve it. It will also enable, empower, and motivate me to make a difference in my country.

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

My only advice to other students is to be active. Get involved, participate in events, volunteer, and join organizations. This will help in meeting new people, increasing self-confidence, and networking, which increases opportunities. Apart from this, create a list of goals and prioritize your tasks, with studying being the number one priority. They say that the U.S. is a “land of opportunities,” and I have realized how true this is.

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