If you are thinking that there is no way out, then you are wrong. There is always a way out, it’s just that some ways are more difficult than others.
There are only 3 ways to go abroad:
1- Student Visa
2- Professional migration: Note that Professional migration is usually only possible for entrepreneurs, specialist professions like doctors and engineers.
3- Asylum [Coming soon!]
Undergraduate Education Around The World.
In our modern world, education is the best way out simply because an educated person can become financially independent. And financial independence is crucial for taking independent decisions in life. If you are a young woman or man, who has the talent to challenge themselves, then the world is open to you.
The opportunities for education around the world are incredible. If one can pay for them, there is an endless range of options for anyone who wants to get an education. However, for a Pakistani student who cannot afford to pay or her parents refuse to pay, these opportunities are very difficult to utilise. This is generally the case for undergraduate scholarships. The funds for Masters and PhD courses tend to be comparatively easier to achieve. Difficult but not impossible. Every year, hundreds of Pakistanis are afforded generous scholarships at the undergraduate level — some of which are even worth more than 60, 000$ per annum. In this article, a short overview of these opportunities is given.
The United States are one of the best locations where anyone can hope to achieve a good education. The United States government funds education in the US for Pakistani students. This program is known as “Fulbright Program.” The program usually covers the entire cost of education for the recipients. However, the program is limited to post-graduate students. Apart from that, the US government does not give any form of financial help to the Pakistani students. Thus, public universities (universities owned by the US government) do not give any financial aid to international students, and the opportunities for merit scholarships are limited.
However, the US education system includes a large number of private colleges and universities. Many of these universities are extremely well-funded. Some of them, including Harvard University, Princeton University, Dartmouth College and Amherst are need-blind for all students. This means that if you are applying from Pakistan, and you cannot afford to pay anything to the university, the university will pay for ALL the costs of your education providing that you are admitted to the institution. Apart from these institutions, many other universities in the United States tend to give generous scholarships to international students. Most liberal arts colleges — colleges which have smaller class sizes and focus on both the breadth and depth of education — do give some scholarships to international students. Many Pakistanis have been able to successfully get them.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that admission to universities like Harvard is extremely difficult. Moreover, it might be easier to gain admission in need-sensitive schools but even admission to those schools becomes a huge challenge if one is applying for financial aid. One needs to be among the very best of the best to enjoy these opportunities.
What do you need?
Being academically good is just one of the requirements of these scholarships. Your academic transcripts should reveal your intelligence and diligence. Your SAT scores are crucial in revealing your capacity to deal with college level reading, writing and your basic mathematical capacity. Apart from that, one’s courage, determination, struggle to live one’s dream and, in short, their entire personality are also important. In fact, personality is the most important thing, because a perfect transcript does not guarantee admission but an impressive personality can invite leniency with transcripts.
How do you find the right school?
There are various ways to search for these scholarships with various engines easily available on the internet. However, the best places to look for these scholarships are the websites of the colleges themselves. There are many of these lists on the internet. You can use Google to search for them. Once you find the name of a liberal arts college or a private university, you should find the school’s website and find the international section to see if the school offers financial aid to international students or if there are merit scholarships for which international students can compete. It is good to explore those websites as you can get a much better idea of whether you and the college are good matches for each other. Moreover, there are many private liberal arts colleges which are for “women only”. Many of these colleges like Mount Holyoke have given substantial aid to Pakistani students.
UK offers one of the best educations in the world. However, there are very few generous scholarships available. International education is a business enterprise for the UK as well. Thus, it is very rare to find a full scholarship for an international student there. However, there are four types of scholarships offered by prestigious universities which, unfortunately, are very difficult to gain admission into. We encourage you to search for others through an internet search engine.
Many European countries cost the same for international and local students. Many of the public universities in Europe charge extremely low fees which might range from 500-1000 $ per semester. There are scholarships to cover even those amounts. However, one would still need to pay for the living expenses. Furthermore, there are limited opportunities for part-time employment which could cover the costs of education to a certain level in such countries as Germany, Finland, Norway and France.
Nevertheless, there is a language barrier to gaining admission in these universities. Most people would need to learn the language of the place where they want to live for 3-4 years. The experience as an international student in a foreign, English speaking country can be extremely tough, and without even a common language it becomes even tougher. Also, many universities require a basic command of the language they teach in and for a successful college experience, one needs to learn the language at least till the intermediate level before going to that country.
The embassies of those countries can be of great help in searching for the right universities and learning the language. Just search “Embassy of Austria in Pakistan”, or the embassy of any other country that you are interested in. Go to the ‘contact us’ section, and send them an e-mail explaining them your language proficiency (or desired proficiency), the field you are interested in and any other questions that you might have. These e-mails tend to be extremely helpful.
There are various scholarships and educational opportunities provided by various countries including Malaysia, Turkey, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Some of the schemes are government based in these countries while universities might also offer many merit-based or need-based opportunities.
Canada also offers good opportunities for education and work after education. Scholarship opportunities in Canada are present but are limited. University of Calgary, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta and McGill University are one of the many universities which offer scholarships for international students. However, these scholarships are extremely difficult to get as many of them are offered to only a few students a year and competition is high.
Middle Eastern countries especially the gulf countries like United Arab Emirates and Qatar now offer good opportunities for an international education. Many of the top universities have opened their campuses in those countries. There are many scholarship opportunities (both government-offered and university-offered) available in those countries. For instance, the government of Qatar offers generous loans through the Qatar foundation. Moreover, New York University Abu Dhabi also has a generous aid program for international Students.
Education outside of Pakistan
Here is a link to an external online open-source list of websites that Pakistani students can study at without any fees.