Islamabad:With an urge to explore reliable avenues for studying abroad, a large number of students belonging to Islamabad and adjoining areas visited the two-day International Education Expo 2011 organised by the HR Consultants in collaboration with the Jang Media Group here on Monday.
Admission officers from high-ranking universities of the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA facilitated the students and conducted on the spot admissions besides providing youngsters with all information regarding visa, residence and scholarship options available for aspiring candidates.
Majority of students were inclined to apply for studies in the United Kingdom for various reasons, which mainly include the low accommodation cost. They were found filling in the forms for university administration provided at the expo.
Talking to ‘The News,’ a student from Swat, Fazalullah, said that he found the expo above his expectations. “I have previously tried to go abroad for higher studies but failed to do so due to lack of guidance. My visit to the expo has turned up good as the HR Consultants have guided me properly,” he said.
He said that he wanted to do his Masters in Public Health for which he have been told to do IELTS as a first step. “I have filled my forms for admission in two reputed universities of the UK and I hope that I will be successful this time,” he added.
Another visitor, Abdul Basit, who has recently taken his final examinations of engineering, wanted to go for higher studies in the United Kingdom or Australia. “I want to do MS in the field which can also be utilised in Pakistan,” he said.
For Basit, the expo helps a lot in interacting with consultants of so many universities of different countries which not only saves time but money also. “It took nothing but 15 minutes to reach this spot and then gather free of cost information about different programmes being offered by different universities,” he said.
The most encouraging thing that was noticed in the expo was the participation of girls. “Girls are very keen to go abroad for higher studies but it requires a lot of courage,” said Sadaf Noreen, a student of Quaid-i-Azam University.
Noreen was doing her Masters in Microbiology and intended to go for specialisation in her field. “It is your parents’ trust that is required to progress. I am here as my parents wanted this,” she added.
Another young girl, Aatiqa Ayub, who is the student of Masters in Mathematics, said that such expos were a good initiative as they not only provide an opportunity to interact with representatives of various universities but also create awareness about higher education.
“I think these expos should be organised on the premises of universities so that girls could easily take benefit of it,” she added.
The scholarships offered by various universities were another big attraction for the students who appeared asking for the eligibility criteria for it. “Even a small scholarship makes a big difference. One of the universities has offered me a scholarship of 2,000 pounds which would be a great respite for me if I apply there,” said Rahim Mustafa, a student of Engineering.
Instead of gathering information about students on paper, the expo organisers provided laptops at the registration desk where every student submitted his or her data about personal details and areas of interest for future contact.
“This time, we have introduced new software to ensure that the latest information reaches every student looking for opportunities to study abroad,” said HR Consultants Education Manger Nadia Irum. She said that similar expos were recently conducted in Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad and the turnout of students was comparatively higher than the previous year.
Talking about the trends of students, she said that this year, students were keener to gather information regarding higher education opportunities on business administration. “Other popular subjects were Information Technology and Engineering whereas only a few applied in arts related subjects.”
Agreeing to what Nadia was saying, Arafat Shahid, director (business development) of the HR Consultants, said that the number of students contacting education consultants and visiting the expo has increased. “May be it is happening because of the current economic and political situation in the country,” he pointed out.
Arafat was representing the Brunel University, UK. He said that they have received 60 applications so far for admission in their university. The university was also offering 50 per cent scholarship to students. “We brief students on the strict criteria for the scholarship offered at university and also guide those who come with good grades about the benefits they can enjoy,” he said.
He said that they guide students at every stage of admission from filling the form to their departure. “They also contact us if they face any residential problem and we give them practical tips on how to find affordable residence in the particular area,” he said.
Another busy admission officer was Lale S. Day from the Cavendish College. A Turkish lady by origin, Lale was so happy to see the response of youngsters. She said that students from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad came more informed as compared to students of Faisalabad but all of them had the energy and spark to progress.
She encouraged girls to apply and said that besides enhancing the knowledge, studying abroad contributes in personal grooming. She ensured that in big universities, the environment is extremely secure for girls. Sharing her experience of dealing with Pakistani girls, Lale said that she has met no Pakistani girl indulging into any wasteful activity other than education. The expo will remain open today (Tuesday) at Serena Hotel from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.The news