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International Exchange Student
Near East South Asian (NESA) Undergraduate Exchange Program
Sponsored by the State Department of the United States, the NESA program aims at promoting mutual understanding between the people of the NESA countries and the Americans. A handful of undergraduate students from Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia, India, Oman, Yemen and Palestine are selected after a series of interviews conducted by the US embassy in the mentioned countries and placed in universities across America. Students in the program are expected to attend these universities as full-time students for an entire academic year. During the course of this academic year, NESA students are required to room with an American roommate, do 20 hours of community service, 100 hours of non-paid internship and give two presentation about their countries, one to the University they are at and the other in a public institution (high school etc). As a NESA student from Pakistan I am attending Clarion University, majoring in Environmental Geo sciences.
Heavily populated (imagine more than half of USA's population crammed into a single state the size of California), Pakistan is a hub of cultural diversity. Just 60 years in to its being, having gained independence from British rule back in 1947, Pakistan's journey has been long and arduous. It has been changing hands, from a democratic country to military dictatorship every few years. Today, we are under the military dictatorship of General Musharraf who is currently trying to battle Islamic fundamentalists wanting to replace military rule with Taliban-type rule.