The ‘Club for Short Evening Courses (CSEC) AMU, is going to organize a certificate course ‘Mentorship Program to Study Abroad’ which would be moderated by Mr. Zulfiqar Sheth. It is a month-long program which aims at building necessary skills to crack scholarship exams and admissions in reputed colleges abroad along with enhancing ‘English-proficiency skills’ and ‘Personality Development’ of the students. The program commences on 11 November, 2016 and ends on 2nd December. It is divided into 4 phases in which the Workshops would be conducted for different themes.
The last date to register for the workshop is 10th November, 2016 at CSEC room at CEC with a registration fees of ₹20. After the completion of the four workshops, certificates shall be provided to all the participants. The Companion (TC) talked with Mr Faisal Nadeem, the Secretary of CSEC, and to Zulfi Sheth(henceforth ZS) the excerpts of which are as follows:
TC- What are the aspects of studying abroad?
ZS- Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport. Beside world class education and training, studying abroad gives opportunity to try new things, meet new people, experience a new culture at first hand and look beyond what’s right in front of us. It helps improve our English and provide a chance to learn other foreign languages.
TC- What are the main phases involved in preparing for studying abroad?
ZS- (There are) four vital phases. One, planning. One should begin planning very early because it is a lengthy process that takes almost a year. And many scholarships open 8-9 months before the commencement of the course.Two, building necessary skills. After you have zeroed in on your plan, you have to build certain skills like writing application essays, statement of purpose, CV building, internships and community services experiences etc. The third is English proficiency and competitive tests – one need to take tests like IELTS or TOEFL and GRE. Higher score will enhance chances of getting admission in good universities and winning scholarships. Four, preparing documents like transcripts, reference letters, certificates, health examination reports etc for admission and scholarships.
TC- How do you find studies at Aligarh Muslim University and how is the studying abroad different from here?
ZS- I come from Gujarat so being in AMU is no different from being abroad, especially on two accounts: culture and language, and homesickness. During my early years I struggled a lot but slowly I picked the momentum and now I am enjoying being here. AMU has lot of resources – the most important is its diversity. If I can say my study abroad has made me globally aware then AMU made me nationally aware.
Here in India we restrict students to particular fields like arts, commerce and science but while studying abroad, I liked being able to select courses on a range of subjects and not just restricting myself to my field of study. Moreover I liked that community service, internships and practical trainings are considered an integral part of a students’ education.
TC- Being a recipient of different scholarships to study abroad, how was your personal experience?
ZS- My communication skills improved, I gained experience working internationally and in cross-cultural communication skills. Just to give you an example, before I went to the U.S., I applied for an internship at a prestigious international organization. Even after sending many emails I did not get a callback. When I returned from the U.S., I again contacted the organization and this time, I got a response in 3 hours! When I probed, they attributed it to my improved communication style. During my study abroad, I got an opportunity to travel to various parts of the world which made me culturally more aware and more open minded.
My international experience also enabled me to make lifelong friends from around the world. I had roommates from Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, China, etc. — Yes it was like we had a mini world at our home! It was a fantastic experience to get to know other cultures first-hand. It was really fun sharing our food, views and different ways of doing things. I also managed to learn some Spanish and teach Hindi to my friends. These international friendships made me realize how connected we are and how we face similar issues around the world.
My experience abroad helped me discover new strengths and abilities to conquer challenges and solve problems. When it comes to study aboard programs, people encounter situations that are unfamiliar and learn to adapt and respond in effective ways. My international experience has given me a lot of confidence to achieve my dream. It has empowered me so that I can empower my surroundings. In short, my international experience expanded my horizons. I tasted new foods, saw new sights, heard new languages, learned new views, met different people.
In talk with Faisal Nadeem (henceforth FN).
TC-The Club has started its first course for this session, the workshop on the ‘Mentorship Program to Study Abroad’. What is the main purpose behind it?
FN- Primary purpose behind it is to make students aware of how easy it is to study abroad and convince them that it is not meant only for rich students, since there is an illusion among the students that studying abroad is a difficult task and only rich students can afford it, which is not true.
The second purpose is to teach the students about how to apply for scholarship, where to apply, how to choose the university, what documents are required, how to apply for foreign tests etc.
TC-Who are the targeted group of students? Can Non-AMU students or AMU alumni also be the part of this program?
FN- We have targeted those sections of graduates and masters students who are from poor or average family , are good in studies and wish to study abroad but cannot go due to lack of information.
It is not for non-AMU students and alumni but we will make this workshop available on YouTube so that they can easily access it.
TC-As a Secretary of the club, what is your goal, strategy to achieve your goal and what are your expectations on the outcome of this program?
FN- Our goal is to reach those sections of students whose desire is to study abroad but cannot go due to lack of knowledge and information about scholarship, TOEFL test, documentations, etc. which are required. Strategies to achieve our goal are:
First of all we have circulated the information on social media (platforms) like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram etc. to reach students, and also circulated posters all over the campus and separately in the Women’s college.
Secondly we have designed the workshops in such a manner that all information will be provided in sequence and implementation will be done by students during the workshop.
At the end of the workshops, we will make sure that all necessary documents are ready and complete information is there with the student.
TC- What are the future programs we can expect from CSEC?
FN- In future, the club will be organising workshops on-RTI, legal awareness, health and happiness, budget etc. basic computer program course and lectures by prominent figures to motivate students to become part of big events
The students of AMU are excited to be a part of this workshop. “Many a times we don’t have complete information about this and end up having certain presumptions but this workshops shall clear all our doubts and inform us about all the required eligibility criteria and skills,” says Sara Fatima, a final year Geology undergraduate. Tuba khan, a second year English student says, “There are many opportunities abroad. But the type of studies and entrance pattern are quite different from India. Rigorous training and awareness programs are required to make us competent enough. Having such kind of workshop is an answer to all of our needs.” In this competitive world, such workshops are the need of the hour. Students should be well-equipped with information about the vast options regarding their career. Lack of knowledge hurdles the process. This workshop by CSEC at AMU is an attempt to overcome the different hurdles a student has to face.