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    FOB students

    I know we have talked about this in bits and pieces here and there but I feel this is a very important topic that requires our attention and considerations, and help wherever we can extend a hand.

    I was myself an FOB student when I came over to US in 1992. From my personal experience or exposure to the problems of other students like me, I have learned that majority of the student community who come to US from Pakistan go through a lot of difficulties. The situation is worst if the prospective student does not have a well off family back home. Few of the major difficulties they go through are:

    1- The new student does not have much knowledge about the education system here and finds himself/herself confused and uncertain. A lot of students need to switch schools or apply credits from their previous studies or switch majors and this means talking and persuading the administration of their school. Being new, this seems quite tough and many times, dishearting.

    2- A lot of students get into immigration related problems. Whether it's switching school or violating their status by not knowing the law and its enforcement enough, they easily become out of status, a horrific nightmare. Not having much resources, they resort to their friends, acquaintances, or relatives for advice (who usually have half-cooked knowledge of immigration laws). This eventually puts them in even worst situation.

    3- To sustain a living, a lot of students don't have much choice but to work 'under the table' at Desi community owned grocery stores or gas stations, only to fall prey to typical Desi exploitation, jealousy, and slavish treatment.

    4- A lot of students don't know much about industry situation when they come abroad. Although this has changed drastically in recent years thanks to the boom of IT industry, but still there are many people who need career guidance. Although almost every school has career development centers and counsellers, being new and naive, they don't get to utilize them as much as they could.

    When I was in school, I changed my major from English literature to Philosophy to Economics to Business Administration. I took Finance and absolutely hated it. Good that I took MIS by chance and loved it. I now feel that if had a mentor back then, somebody desi like me who had gone through simimiar sort of circumstances like I did, it would have been a lot more easy on me.

    5- Finally the importance of time spent while in school. A lot of students don't realize that the sooner they finish school, the better it is. Usually they are used to the laid back university process back home where university is closed for 6 months because Islami Jameet-ay Talba is on strike. But over here, time management and planning play key roles.

    Add all that on top of being completely new in a country and you get the picture. I sincerely believe that there should be some sort of Non-profit organization or society or club etc that should provide guidance, mentorship, and help to the extent it can, as well as efforts on our part as individuals.

    Any thoughts?

    #2
    Sorry ghalib, I was totally thinking about you when I was writting this long winded post but I thought the matter is important enough to let it be

    Comment


      #3
      Roman

      I am in agreement with that. Like you I changed my major a number of times, but mine went from computer engineering to computer science to MIS to Marketing and international business for my undergrad. It was a typical problem of a desi not being in a medical or engineering background.

      Luckily our international ofice was very active and we had a very INterntional student association. Feeling the gaps I had later started an International Peer advisors program which was very successful.

      As far as desis go, One thing that I have noticed is the general lack of communication between the single students and the community. There are some who become a part of the community and others find it a bit difficult.

      As fas as career planning and resources, it has been tough for desis to get a lending hand from others, which has changed quite a bit in recent years, but still the older uncle jis usually are in little mood to help.

      The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.

      Comment


        #4
        When I went to England in early-mid 80s, things were a lot easier than when I left from there. What I found most helpful was the Asian Club at my college where everyone offered help and guidance. It included as many UK Asians, as it did Overseas Asians. Jobs on campus or in the Student Union were very easy to get. Things have changed since.

        Here in the USA, I come across many students who complain about the lack of opportunities to make it easier. But so is the case for homegrown students. Most have jobs in addition to full time school.

        Roman yara, English Lit to MIS? That will be like Sir Thomas Melory to Bill Gates. Huge Jump, to put it mildly! I hope that by not studying it as a Major, you still have an appreciation for the English Lit.

        Comment


          #5
          Fraudia, good point on the help from community level.

          It might be a little off the mark factor, but I do feel that part of the reason there is not much communication between community and students is the fact that there aren't many opportunities for get-togethers.

          Sure, if you are a regular at the closest Islamic Center, you get to meet and know a lot of people. But a lot of students are not that religious, say their prayers at home, or are busy with their schedules. I think students who like to participate in religious communal practices should definitely utilize the potential by attending to the mass gatherings for prayers. It's definitely very effective.

          Other get-togethers like community picnic or concerts etc are not that frequent. Plus I have also felt that for a single student, it's relatively hard to get involved with those activities as usually they are more family based or oriented. So may be our desi community can think of ways of involving single students more into community gatherings.

          Yaar Ahmadi, actually I was doing my Masters in English Literature before I immigrated to US. I went to an academy for 6-8 months and it was wonderful. I always wanted to be an English Literature teacher.

          One of the main reasons that I didn't go for was that there weren't many jobs in that field easily available which could, in future, sponsor me for H-1B so that I could stay in US.

          I think majority of our students face the same situation. Their decision in choosing a major in school mostly is based on the constraint that the field they choose for the career must be something that can get them sponsorship easily.

          [This message has been edited by Roman (edited June 01, 2000).]

          Comment


            #6
            First thing first: Why were you thiking about me in this late hour. lagta hai key tumhhey rukhssaat karna paRey ga http://www3.pak.org/gupshup/smile.gif

            We had a large group of of FOB's or F-1 students at our school because it was a city univ. and the tuition wasn;t high. I think there's a big difference in the experiences of F-1 students who attend schools in the urban areas versus the ones who attend in places like India-NO-place. I can relate more to the experiences of urbanite F-1's than rural F-1.

            Foreign students in the city tend to be more involved in community as well and school activities. Because life is so congested and tight knit in the city, these students along with the locals interact with each other in one form or another.

            A good number of foriegn students can be found in similar classes along with local desis. Foreign students may be a little timid in the beginning but they become comfortable and accustomed to the college and foreign lifestyle at faster rate than students in rural schools. This is mostly because of presence of locals desis, or others cultural entities, who (1)ease the pressure of dealing with locals and (2)somewhat give an environment similar to what these new studetns are accustomed to back home.

            Now, if you move into middle of nowhere..umm.. say India-No-place, you may have some problems. Its true what has been written above that these new students face numerous problems rangin from cultutal barriers to little or no help from already established desi community. If no assistance can be found especially from those who are from similar background, it can be frustrating.

            More later...Pir Jee and Nyahmadhi are urbanites, I am a former Urbanite and Roman is..well...

            Comment


              #7
              Is it just me or us four are the only ones who post in this forum!!??!

              Comment


                #8
                Ghalib I dont know if I agree with the analysis. Although I was in philly for my MBA but I did my undergrad at Kansas, which is slightly worse off than west lafayette.

                I felt that international students in general mingled more with the overall college community at rural schools and were more active in university activities becuase umm there was not much else outside ya know.

                In cities like philly, there are ppl from your culture and events etc etc and therefore you are less involved in the overall college community and maybe more active in your ethnic groups etc.

                But..it is those rural students who need to be involved by the community. How many families did I know in Kansas City during my entire undergrad and following work in Kansas...ummmm zero.

                In philadelphia there was some pak association and I went to a picnic which btw the students help organize but it was so weird, people were in their own little groups. single students in one place families in another. One of my good pals had her family there so I met some people through them but it was not quite as welcoming as it could have been.

                anyway, to the rural vs urban issue, I am glad that I went to a rural school for my undergrad because I did things that I may not have done if I had been in a city; fraternity, varsity sports, student government etc etc.

                This is going to be different angle to this topic, but I always felt that families felt more at ease after finding out about my background. I dont blame them because I would be hesitant to welcome someone in my house who I did not know much about.

                The strangest bit though was that it was easier for me since I was a FOB from UK versus some of the guys from Pakistan. I dont know the logic behind that. Its just that when they found out that I was coming from UK to USA and not pakistan, the attitudes were generally more open, and I did not see any justification for that cuz my pals that came from karachi, islamabad, lahore etc were all decent ppl from good backgrounds.
                The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Fraudz..

                  You're right about the interactions of the FOB students wihtin their college community. But FOB's get involve in these extra-curricular activites only after spending a certain amount of time trying to understand the inner-working of the school and even thier host country.

                  What I discussed above was the fact that presence of local desis or folks from similar background help ease the transition period which a FOB requires to settle into the school and the surrounding community. Minute tasks like registring for closed clases, overtallying into a closed class, which professors to take and which ones to avoid etc. etc. FOBs will feel more at ease if these services are provided by the local chapter of some desi student org.

                  Now, as for the diversity lessons that you talked about where you did things in philly that you prolly wouldn't have. I agreez! Thats all part of the college life but, like I said, it comes after the initial transition phase.

                  About your expereince as FOB being different from the expereince of FOB from Pakistan: I guess its the culture shock. Studetns relocating within western hemisphere may not go through as much of a struggle to settle-in as students relocating from the east.

                  >>>>The strangest bit though was that it was easier for me since I was a FOB from UK versus some of the guys from Pakistan. I dont know the logic behind that. Its just that when they found out that I was coming from UK to USA and not pakistan, the attitudes were generally more open, and I did not see any justification for that cuz my pals that came from karachi, islamabad, lahore etc were all decent ppl from good backgrounds.

                  Are you referring to how local desis treated you differently from another FOB from Pakistan because you were from UK? I think you are and we know how deep of a discussion that could get ranging from psycho analysis to inferiority complex analysis.... eekkkk

                  BTW, dunno if you cought my post in general section but I will be crashing the town again in july for 4 to 5 days....get sabri nihari ready...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    sabri nehari is always ready. how about kababa paratha at a total cabbie joint and halwa poori for breakfast.

                    Hmm now that I know yer home number I will call and confirm ;P

                    ya know what helped me out the most in college. my fraternity. Not only did we have teacher ratings, course ratings and comments, but we also had course info, copies of tests and quizzes. Personal observations about a profs likes and dislikes and it was all in our study hall at the house. I mean you kinda need all the edge you can get if you are partying 6 nights a week (7th night was laundry night for me)These guys also helped me out with general adjustments, shopping etc. Heh I even cooked desi food for the whole damn house once. Imagine cooking for 60+ people, I am a certified bawarchee after that. Luckily none of thm had tasted desi food before so they could not know how good or bad it was....long live shan masala.

                    As far as the issue with desi in US welcoming a FOB from UK more than a FOb from Pakistan. I asked someone, and the response was that they felt that it would be easier to relate to a Pakistani who came from UK vs someone who came from pakistan ..as in attitudes and lifestyle etc. Hehhehe I would love to see them run into some lamer from Birmingham or an HT activist http://www3.pak.org/gupshup/smile.gif

                    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      >>>sabri nehari is always ready. how about kababa paratha at a total cabbie joint and halwa poori for breakfast.

                      Abbay haan....I am game!!!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Kewl lemme know the dates so i can see whether I am in town or off to my sister's place.

                        are u coming alone or with bhabhi?

                        hmmm and sabri's chapli kebabs are good too.
                        The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          No tentative schedule on arrival yet but I will be there either on the night of July 16 (sunday) or afternoon on 17th. But I will be there till the 20th. Thats for sure...

                          No wifey won't come..... so bring some hot dates.. (nahi..nahi...abbay.. I am talking about steamed khajoors...barri burri zeheniat hey...bathameez!)

                          Comment


                            #14
                            okay then, i am away the weekend but will be in town that week. Unless I am in california for a day or so, but either way we will have a chance to meet.

                            Hmm so u only eat steamed khajoor when bhabhi is not around? baita, aap iss liye darr gaye keh yahan chappli kabab khatay aur ghar ja kar chappalein.

                            kar diya na itnay serious topic ka berra gharakh? manhoos aadmi
                            The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              It's ok Fraudiya... the thread is still fulfilling its purpose even if it ends up fixing dates

                              Comment

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