54 Students Attend PDO before Embarking on Semester Exchange Journey


The new year saw 54 undergraduate students selected for the Global Undergraduate Exchange (Global UGRAD) Program commence their semester exchange experiences in the United States. A month before they took off, in December, they assembled in Islamabad to attend a pre-departure orientation (PDO) organized by the Programs department. The PDO sessions were carefully crafted to equip the U.S.-bound students with essential information about American culture, campus life, visa requirements, and travel guidelines.

USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar congratulated the students on being selected for this great opportunity, noting that thousands of students from all over Pakistan apply for this merit-based program.

“Global UGRAD participants are selected for their potential not just to excel in higher education but to bring change and development to their communities. The Program gives students a chance to engage in community service activities and builds a spirit of volunteerism, as well as the opportunity to study at excellent colleges and universities in the United States. This semester exchange helps build new friendships and mutual understanding between the people of Pakistan and the United States,” said Akhtar.

Minister Counselor for Public Affairs Bettina Malone shared well wishes with the students as they prepared to embark on the semester exchange.

“Your Global UGRAD experience will be life-changing. Be open, be curious, say yes to opportunities – to join clubs, events, and happenings. Make the most of your time in the United States,” said Malone.

The spring 2024 cohort represents all four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the Islamabad Capital Territory, with women making up 61 percent of the group. Since its inception in 2010, the Global UGRAD Program has supported approximately 2,500 participants who now serve as emerging leaders in their communities across Pakistan.

This exchange program provides participants a unique opportunity to enrich their education by spending one semester of nondegree study at a U.S. university or college. During the program, students will also volunteer for community engagement projects in American host communities to strengthen their leadership skills.

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