Travelling to Pakistan – An unexpected beginning.. by Radoslava Koleva

Radoslava Koleva is a 4th year student of International relations at the University of National and World Economy (UNWE) in Sofia, Bulgaria. These days she is on a 2 months internship at Hajvery University, Lahore. The following article is written by her  which gives a glimpse of her expectations about travelling to Pakistan.

You can read about it in the news or in books, you can hear people discussing it, you can look at pictures, but you know nothing about it until you’ve visited it: Pakistan. That’s the first and most important lesson I’ve learned here in Lahore so far.

radi3I have been in Pakistan for only few days, but I already love it and I feel like I don’t have the words to even start to describe life here. I came with a positive and open-minded attitude, but still whatever my expectations were, they were exceeded. I received the warmest welcome I’ve ever had in my life, not only by a particular person, but by the people as a whole and even by the city itself.

When you walk around Lahore, emotions overwhelm you. It’s noisy, it’s crowded, it’s hot and humid and amazing! People, bicycles, rikshaws and cars surround you in a constant busy flow which gives Lahore its vibrant outlook. There are many Pakistani flags and portraits of national heroes which demonstrate the great place the country takes in people’s hearts. They look happy and busy and most of all friendly.

My stay here has been amazing so far. I caught myself thinking: “Is it possible that this happy lively place is the scary country they describe in news articles?” The country has some problems and the people don’t deny that, just like I wouldn’t deny that democracy is struggling in my own Bulgaria right now. But one issue should not create the whole profile of a country. It’s not fair to its people and it’s not fair for us to be misinformed.

 I caught myself thinking: “Is it possible that this happy lively place is the scary country they describe in news articles?

As an International Relations student I try to stay informed about the current events and about the situation in every part of the world. Yet obtaining truthful information turns out to be a rather complicated task, especially when there is a deep-rooted and biased opinion in people about an issue. International internships and exchanges are a great tool to do exactly that: see for yourself and experience things first-hand.

As to the Hajvery University, I already feel at home, because everybody has been helpful, welcoming and friendly. It looks like a great place to study or work and it offers a vast variety of courses. Furthermore, there are many social activities like exhibitions, debates, societies, and of course this blog. Part of my contribution will be a free course in Italian, another a workshop on International relations, which I hope would enrich the students here even more. As a whole being an intern here is fun and I can’t wait to see what happens in the weeks to come. I know better now and I don’t set any expectations. Undoubtedly they will be exceeded.