MOMENTS With Civic Initiative

Well it is hard to say that which moment during my stay has not influenced me. Every day was a challenge for me and provide me an opportunity to grow as a person and as a lecturer. When we arrived and meet Becky square again I know I will learn more from them and they both have contributed a lot through their sessions and talks. Becky showed me how to tackle people outside the class and Becky Mazur you were the one that showed me how to tackle people inside the class. I think not only me but every lecturer/ Professor sitting in this room writing blogs. Thanks is a small word but I would Like to say it. THANKS ❤ ❤

Mentors I would like to call them Little angles, sweet and helpful in what ever way a person can help you  they have done it, proud of you guys KEN, ISH, OLIVIA, DIPIKA, KELSY. Patho is a person who have given me respect every time I get a chance to interact with him. I will miss your Mathi that was the first step for me to try new things in my life after landing on Boston airport. I am glad that now I have so many friends not only in U.S but other parts of the world.

I think the happiest day here was cooking tea with Ma’am Safia and Gul and enjoying the film along with the funny comments by Ma’am, we laughed and laughed like crazy. The hardest thing for me was the group activity and idea generation. Dr. Sana has helped me a lot during that time and I am very much thankful to him for that.

I would like to make a promise here to all the Civic Initiative team that what ever I have learned from you people I will try my level best to implement back home.

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A Journey worth thousand lives!

I was sitting in my office, feeling grumpy and uptight when i came to know via email from Dr. Noor Muhammad Yughur that there is going to be an Entrepreneurship Summit that will be held in Karachi, Pakistan. At that time, i was totally indifferent, i had no idea how this summit is gong to be and how can i qualify to be part of it? After a week i came to know that I have been selected based on my interest that i had shown to be part of that summit, when we reached Karachi, we reached Avari Hotel and there i saw a bunch of Pakistani- SUSI Alumni none of them was known to me previously so it triggered in my mind that how come this whole program will be attractive to me when i know none of the organizers and event managers except for folks from BUITEMS, Quetta. Next morning we met a group of Americans who were also there with us but i didn’t know about their presence, the group comprised of 3 people, Becky Howland, Becky Mazur and Ken Leblond, it was the second time in my life i was meeting foreigners. First, when i was a kid i was taught by 2 guys from Britain, one was Pakistani-britisher and other was pure Britisher they taught me how to write? Next, was this group of three intellectuals i met at Avari, i tried to talk to them but i couldn’t, i have always been reluctant meeting new people especially those whom i don’t know much about. It was 3 day summit and during the stay i got chance to talk to Becky Mazur once, Becky Howland and Ken Leblond twice. Afterwards, we returned back to our universities and the life began in its very usual way. After a few weeks i came to know that there is the same kind of Program going to be held this time in US and will be 5 weeks program not like the previous one. I was confused whether to go for the PhD admission for what i had secured recommendations from DAAD, Germany and at the same time i was unable to get my MS thesis review done from my supervisor, because i was into a very turbulent kind of relationship with my supervisor, he disliked me for so many reasons and i did the same but i was supposed to work and finish my thesis, still i am in the process. Luckily, i got a chance to fill my form in a matter of a week brainstorming on each and every component of the form in order to make it more meaningful and rational and i did. Months later i got an email that confirmed my selection for the Program but i was supposed to go through an interview in order secure final approval, i got it as well. When it was time to go for visa interview there i came to know that the Program has got a lot of other folks from different universities in Baluchistan, this things helped me feel more comfortable as i envisioned a group of teachers going to US. After few days of interview i got my passport with US Visa it was matter of immense pleasure for anyone who belong to the region where i live, in the like manner i felt glad but i had a lot going on there at home. My father’s maternal uncle a renowned scholar, intellectual, human right activist, nationalist and deputy chief of PkMAP , Abdul Rahim Mandokhel died, we were all mourning his death and it was a big loss i was totally indifferent once more whether to sit in the condolence or to be leave for US, i just made a single time visit to his place and left back and decided to leave for US, even before the last day of arrival i couldn’t finalize the decision, whether to go or not but it was too late to decide and my father wanted me to go, so i came to US. So, i left for US and reached safe and came to know that we are going to stay at UMASS, Amherst and in the next few days our sessions began. An overview of the sessions is given under:

Course work

The sessions became in a way I was expecting them to be, i entered the class and there i saw Jim Theroux a well known name and an intellectual who needed no introduction. The CAPSIM, simulation class began and it was an amazing experience to know that it was we the participants doing all the stuff rather than the teacher, in old school way. The next session was of Becky Mazur it was active learning session and made us learn that people learn in different ways and the pedagogy of hers made us learn more than i was expecting of myself, thanks to her. Later on, we came to know that we have a blogging session, where once more i got chance to meet Ken Leblond, an amazing person with a lot of really cool habits and he taught us how to reflect with the experiences we have during our stay in US into writing and we learned, thanks Ken. During all these sessions, we had some people always with us we knew them as mentors and it was a diverse group of individuals with some strong knowledge about us, luckily, the team was comprised of Ish Elgadi, Kenneth Sao, Olivia, Deepika, Micheal Andrick and sometimes Kelsey as well, they were all very much curious about our timely getting into class, having no problem lodging and dining, they were like mothers to us, on a lighter note! All sudden one day we came to know that we are going to have some real business activity going to happen and we saw Hassan Shahid i guy that i knew from Karachi Entrepreneurship summit. Fortunately, he knew me as well and it was another plus for me i was easy to work under his direction and helped us do the things easily we were supposed to do. In the meanwhile, all these things were overseen by another brave lady, Becky Howland who was there in almost each and every session, she knew how to manage diversity without speaking anything, i love a lot about her and her personality and interaction is enough to justify the her kindness, humbleness, upbringing and curiosity. However, there was something we were lagging behind in that was knowing about the politics and history of US, how it institutions work and in what way they influence the rest of world and luckily one day we were informed that we have got session with Micheal Hannahan the Boss, it was amazing part of program i had so much interest in history and geography, the politics being Pakistani we are all political one way or other, so was I. We learned a lot from Mike Hannahan the best thing about him is when in class looks scary when out of class he is one of the guys who always has something to say and people will probably laugh, he has tons of jokes and relevant to the situation that makes it wonderful. In this manner we had learnt a lot from the people who taught us, educated us in their own domains.

Time as a group

The best part of this visit to US was i had 2 really close friends with me Arbab and Rehan, i felt like i am still where i was because of the people who surround me. We had people in the group that i have never known it was really diverse in our own way. Every next day the class room setup let us interact with our fellow participants in different ways, i was trying to get to know them all as soon as possible but we were from 3 different universities everyone wanted to stick to their own university fellows, but still i managed to know them all!
We had traveling, lodging, dining, working, sitting experiences together that helped me to learn them more in every different area we used to interact in. I still love all of them because everyone is unique in their own way and the best part of being human is to understand another person from their point of view, I tried sometimes failed on other occasions i was good.

New friendships made with non-Pakistanis

When i left airport i saw Becky howland, Ish Elgadi, Deepika, Kenneth Sao the first ones i saw waiting for us and that moment i can’t forget ever, they are my first and foremost important friends from this part of journey. The journey of making new friendships began right after i reached Amherst, everyday i met new people especially Civic staff they were cool enough, rather i might think whether i was fit for their friendship or not, they were absolutely fit being friends. Becky Howland, a person who belongs to Pennsylvania i don’t know much about that place but i know 3 people from that state, and i can surely say the area will be as beautiful, honest, sincere, humble, kindhearted and friendly as i have seen the three legends, Becky, her mother and Heather Day, who works for APD program, she is a real friend and amazingly cool person. I met Ish Elgadi, a guy with really strong voice, who was more of a guy who lived his life in troubles and knew how to manage it for the rest of it, he was unique in a sense he spoke less as well and when asked had much to tell and i started sharing my music collection with him and Ken Sao who was as humble and decent as Ish himself. I was getting close to all of them, then i met Mike Andrick, a calm person who speaks less but works a lot, met Kelsey an amazing person with lots of experiences and traveling, they were kind of people who attracted me a lot. Then, one day we came to know that Pato Penalbo an Argentinean guy who is part of Civic staff, is here to meet us all that moment i came to know he is man of different qualities and has much to say when asked, i really liked his personality, and talked to him began from there stretched to everyday talks and discussion on different topics of common interest, he became a good friend. Deepika, the youngest of the Civic staff and a learned person who was as open and cool as i could have wished about a young lady to be, Olivia a person with sense of how to do something professionally, an amazing person with not much to speak mostly kept her work important than any other thing used to stay busy doing her work. After a few days i came to know that a group of Argentinean are traveling to US in a likely manner we did but for a short span of time, it was matter of pleasure and we knew that it is going to be an amazing experience and learning to be with them. They reached and we met Maria, a person as pure as a child, as bold as chieftan and true warrior, she was a strong person, had very good sense of humor, and got attached to us the way we did to them, i still miss her for being the purest of people i have ever met in my life.

overall impression of US

A place that everyone should at least visit once before s/he plans to die.
It is world in itself.

Missed the most about Baluchistan

I missed my family, my friends and students a lot.

Overall Impressions of the US

Before coming to USA, I had many misperceptions about this country and its people. In these five weeks, I realized that whatever I used to hear about this country was simply misleading. After going back to my country, I will surely be interested to know the route causes of these mispercepions.

I realized that everyone who lives here loves this country from core of heart and almost every one is playing their part to make this country more stronger and safer for the current and upcoming generations.Here, people may have differences of opinions but everyone wants to do some thing good for the nation. I think that if any country want to progress than US history provides an excellent model to follow.

People are very friendly and helping, they love cultural diversity and want to maintain supremacy of Law. Americans love their culture but they also welcome change. I never saw anyone violating rules and regulations which is very common in third world countries. The US system provides excellent opportunities for growth and development to everyone.

There is alot to write but as its our last day of the program and almost every one is sad therefore I cant help myself to write more and express my feelings and gratitude regarding the overall program and this wonderful country..

I am really gona miss everyone and every single moment, we passed together…….

  “Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.” (Henry David Thoreau)

index

Reflections

Current visit of UMass Amerst is a memorable experience for me in many ways.  I met different people, ate different kind of foods, visited different places and learn about teaching pedagogy. Those people I used to think are my friends have shown their really faces to me.

Course work:

undoubtedly, the course work was intensive which allows me to gain knowledge in a limited period of time. Many subjects were offered during the course study such as, Capsim, Blogs, learn and teaching pedagogy protocols. I love the Blog sessions and learning/teaching sessions most. I do not remember a single day  when I met  Becky Mezouar and did not learn something new in terms of teaching, students interaction and active learning. I learn from Becky class most because she responded to my queries very well. She had fair enough knowledge about both Pakistani cities and culture, and provided an intensive feedback on my submitted case.

Blogs are quite innovation way of social interaction. I will use Blogs for my course in Pakistan; I am sure that my students will like it.

Group:

We achieved certain tasks while working in the groups. I was been in three different groups during the study period. I personally have no problem with group and tasks. while working in groups allowed me to learn many things from other people experiences, too. While working with Gul parna, Zia and Humaira are most interesting experience for me.

Challenges:

I got into some health issues. Many time,  I experienced allergic reactions which I usually do not.

NEW Friendships:

Networking was one of biggest opportunity I got in UMASS. I met people from different nationality such as Americans (trainers and mentors), Argentina (students) and African (professors). Our Mentors are our new friends. I met a Argentinean Girl Maria who is my new feminist friend.

Social Activities : 

Always, I used to participate actively in classes during the study course. However, I was quite passive in social activities.

I can not forget Becky Holland support for us (particularly for females) to participate in different social activities. She is a very strong woman with a leadership role. She inspired me in many ways;  she taught me the lesson of being myself. I never ever dance before in my life; first time I dance was in Monkey Bar.  Attan is traditional dance of Baluchistan, but i never did before. This traditional dance is usually performed female group and  male group separately.  In Monkey Bar without gender discrimination we performed the dance  together that was amazing.

Becky was the one who let me get out of my shell and participate in social activities. I embraced myself to the available opportunities in UMass. Thanks to her.

Impression of the United State of America:

During my stay in UMass I saw many cultural difference between USA and Pakistan. Being a female and a feminist (researcher) I believe that American society is quite open to diversity such as age, gender, race, culture, religious and sexual orientations. I really like this aspect of US culture that is not the same in Pakistan.

In America, I got better opportunities for socialization and mobility (travel). During my stay I was not excluded in different social events and interaction with others that is quite often missing in the context of Pakistan.

I like American universities that are rich and privilege in terms of finances and knowledge. Teaching through case studies and Active teaching styles were open new door of learning for me.

US Weather  was a bit challenging issue for me, particularly allergic reactions.

Missed about Baluchistan:

I missed nothing particular about Baluchistan just miss my old father who is living alone back at home.

 

 

 

 

Reflecting my stay in the US

USA-America-Pakistan

One thing to take with me

I have spent my childhood abroad I was use to living in a diverse society with friends from different backgrounds, religions, ethnic groups and I believe that kind of diversity shaped my personality for the better. While living in Pakistan, where your ethnicity defines your standing in society made being unbiased very hard. Naturally I grew an inclination to like and dislike people due to  their identity. This is something I was never proud of.

What makes america so great is its rich history and diverse cultures that live in it. it is so much that bus and tube signs and even the atm machine  are both in English  and Spanish. In Amherst there was a limited south Asian community so even here we stood  out from the crowd.

Travelling to New York and Boston two large cities that contained diversity of cultures but again it was the same communities that were evident in Amherst. Interacting with these different communities was a valuable experience, to spend time with people of different ages, nationalities you begin to realize all these differences have no real weight. Looking at the bigger  picture we all want same things in life and we face the same hurdles and problems. The more people we meet, the more we learn from each other the better we become.

So I will take this home with me, that I hope I have become a better person and teacher for it.2017-06-29-12-17-49-408

Five weeks in US: An overall impression!

Wowwwww. I can’t believe this is coming to an end. It was like a roller-coaster ride. I felt like the king of the world on so many occasions. My five weeks in the US have been nothing short of amazing. Whilst I start writing this blog and try to gather my thoughts, the memories of previous five weeks have started flashing in my brain. Memories which I will never ever forget.

We arrived on June the 2nd; a cohort of faculty members from three different universities in Balochistan. We were told that it is an academic program. Phewwww boring! no? BUT watching Micheal Hannahan’s video before coming gave at-least me a hope of getting a refreshing break away from work. He advised us to “get lost” in his video (on a lighter note). All he meant was that he wanted us to get immersed in the US culture. Got lost is what I did. I really got lost. So much so that the thought of returning back made me cry! The amazing Becky Holland, Mike Hannahan, his wife Lisa, the amazing mentors: Ish, Ken, Olivia, Mike, Pato, Kel, Julie, Karren, Mat, Josh, Heather, Becky’s amazing and adorable mom and Mert, they all seem like a family now. I felt at home away from home!

The coursework was good. Specially the case method of teaching. I will take a lot from the coursework back home and I hope to write and publish a case in a good outlet and make our amazing instructor JT proud. The sessions with Becky Mazur were energetic and insightful. The knowledge about learning protocols was amazing. The $100 startup competition with Hassan provided us with an opportunity to interact and work as a team.

Another precious thing was making new and amazing friends. Apart from the amazing mentors, I made many new friends and talked to many different people. All of my interaction, I found were amazing. From that girl whom I interviewed at the High-Horse for an assignment to that old lady in Brattleboro, Vermont to an amazing senior couple in Chester field, all made amazing friends. I also made very good friends with the visiting Argentinean group. Thanks to social media, most of us are connected on Facebook now (forever friends!).

During our stint, we visited amazing places and witnessed amazing events. We visited University of Connecticut, Holyoke shopping Mall, six flags park and cities of NY and Boston. Boston visit was amazing in its own sense because it gave me a chance to visit the academic dream lands of Harvard and MIT. Witnessing great events like Strolling of the Heifers and the one and only US independence day, was an experience never to be forgotten.

But yeah, obviously, world is not perfect. Nothing in this world is Utopia. Although my time was nothing short of Utopian, being an alien, the memories of all those I have back home made me homesick at various points of time. I missed my family. My wife and my two kids, my mom and my dad, brother and sister.

But I have this feeling that I have a family here in US too now. Departure after such an immaculate experience and thoughts of rejoining my family have instilled in me mixed feeling of happiness and grief.

I will end up thanking Mike Hannahan, Becky Holland, Becky Mazur and JT and the sweetest things on the face earth: Our amazing mentors!!

Golden moments

Memories are the key not to the past but to the future.

Civic initiative program give me lots of beautiful memories ,learning and friends.it was life changing experience for me.if i talk about course work i learn alot in form of case study ,active learning ,cap sim and blogging in a new and interesting way.i also learn how to work in groups with even those people that i dont know them before.it was quite interesting for me because before that i thought that i cant work with everyone.This program help me knowing my own personality and change it in many ways .i am going home now but i am sure that i make lots of friends and this relations will remain for ever. i will always remember that exposure as i am inspired by overall system of America ,the civilization ,caring attitude,  patience people showing to each other, giving respect, education ,health sector as well as discipline in every aspect of life .

it was great experience.during this time i enjoyed a lot but missed my home town too in each an every way  hope that we also contribute something good to our society as our society need educated people who can bring change.

 

personnel reflection on 5 weeks visit to U.S at UMASS Amherst

Before coming to U.S, the preexisting perceptions was not good because we have grown in such environment where for all problems either political or social are being associated with America. However, in academic field America is known to be leader in producing knowledge through innovation and research but this aspect for larger community in Pakistan is blur due to lack of quality education and farsightedness.

When I landed with similar perceptions in America and spend 5 weeks in different states along with mentors, I was surprised when I observed the structures, systems and people behavior with full of disciplines. I realized the growth and sustainability of any country depends on its internal strength that can be achieved by creating discipline in society and good governance. Furthermore I have also realized the role of technology in governance because it reduces human interference in systems. Moreover the behavior of people within themselves and with strangers are alike; don’t interfere others matters, provide personnel freedom, focused, hard working, and show positive gestures (sorry and thank you) during interactions, and always are honest. I am surprised how they have developed such a harmonious society, and this I am going to work on how to make society harmonious.

From academic point of view, first we studied the teaching methodologies particularly how to teach with case-methods and developed skills on how to write case studies. Though we were using case study in our classes but were not following the accurate protocols, and have never been part of case-study writing. So it was great experience for professional development. Second theme was Entrepreneurship for which we had 2 activities, one is simulation training on Capsim-software and second was $100 startup. Both activities were new and interesting and can be apply back in our institutions. Third area was Blogging, that was also new experience. It is very useful tool when you want to share your point of view to broader audience within shorter period of time. It is also important during class room activities where people can structure and share their arguments. So I will definitely use blogging in my classes.

Most of Activities during sessions were in group, in which we had to work with different personalities with different attitudes. This group work enhanced our skills to manage conflict, team work management, and how to make collaboration. This pattern of group formation was helpful in class room activities.     

During these 5 weeks, really missed my family who were alone to manage all household matters. Without their sacrifice and contribution, I couldn’t explore the hidden treasure lies in american society.

Overall my impression about America is “Only way to lead the world is by creating internal stability and increase knowledge capital consistently”

 

5 Weeks Reflection of U.S.A

Today, I am of 5 Days, 6 Months and 35 Years.  There are different movements of my life which has changed my life either personally or professionally.  But the best part of these five weeks are outstanding which has given me best memories for my personal and professional life.  These five weeks have really given me much energy to work smartly in my personal and professional career.

There are many things that I want to share but I would share only few of them.  I have always tried my level best to get maximum learning from various sources when I was in Pakistan so through out my life I always tried to search the best things on internet and I was trying to adopt them.  But this time I got this chance to visit U.S.A. which has made me realize that what ever you see on the pictures are not enough because it is giving only 1% of the insight of real life and when you are into it so you would love to see complete 100%.

I am so pleased that I am here in U.S.A. and I am writing about all that how things are going to be managed through what ever I have learnt up till now.

I met so many people in my life but I have never seen such great people of U.S.A.  Everyone here are so loving, caring, and the best.  I would try to tell about few of them here.

First, Rebecca Howland (Becky), what a greatest personality.  After several meetings with her regarding various things and situations, I have found many best things in her personality.   I wish that every women should become like her.  I don’t have words to express her personality. But I will try to say few things about her.  Becky is perceptive, ambitious, charismatic, honest, enthusiastic, intuitive, energetic, confident, easy going, open-minded, eloquent, imaginative, cheerful, motivating, supportive, efficient, devoted, calm, autonomous, creative, innovative, persuasive, educated, neurotic, approachable, clever, articulate, opinionated, inspirational, resourceful, adventurous, friendly, competitive, meticulous, determined, inquisitive, responsible, curiosity, insightful, courteous, cooperative, independent, meticulous, flexible, sentimental, loving, caring, patient and most admiring person.  She is really an ideal of mine, I really love her personality because of her best attributes.  I am so lucky that I have her now as my best friend.  I would always love to be with her in every stage of life.  She is my best friend now and I will always try to learn from her.  Further, I would always to give my time to her because she is really a source of inspiration for me.  I pray that may she have all sort of joys and best movements in her life.

Second, Ken who is always very much enthusiastic, funny and loud; he is extroverts. He is best at networking, socializing & having fun. He is forgiving, unorganized and easily distracted. In work, he is the innovators, the idea-person & very creative. He tend to work fast, so he focus on doing what he enjoy most – having fun.  He is the best in reading lots of books.  He is really so knowledge.  I have never seen such person with so many readings.  I wish to learn from him all the time and I wish to remain his friend forever.  He is powerful, energetic, keen observer, open-minded, peaceful, hospitable and friendly.  The best part about him is that he is so much caring to his kids which shows that he is really sincere both with his personal and professional life.  He is really an honest and loving person.

 

Third, everyone is in the Balochistan University Partnership Program who has been in management, facilitation, team leaders and in mentors who are very much modest, conscientious, achievement orientated, have curiosity and don’t believe in discouragement.  They have given us much time, valued us, carried about us, and much more.  They are really the best.  They are very much lose to me now.  I will remain in contact with all of them for ever.

 

 

My overall impressions of the United States.

Diversity is a unique characteristic of US where people with different backgrounds work and live together. My impressions about US were the same as everybody could have in terms of advancements, technological progression and stable economy but my stay in US has revealed many more aspects about this place and the people living here.

The environment in United States offers openness and people seemed to have positive perspectives about various things. It is surprising for me that people living here have strong family systems where they realize the values of care and love, however, general perceptions about independent living is a bit contradictory. I came across many people living here through part of my assignments and my personal meetings, principles of freedom of expression and freedom to live are properly observed. People enjoy healthy food and quiet environment in US specifically in Massachusetts. Ethical values are properly observed for each other. People are very friendly and smiling even if they are found very busy with their work. Life is too fast and busy, one can easily understand the value of time.