My first week at KI was an experience in itself. There were people from all over the world trying to find something common among themselves. What I found most surprising was how people my age or younger than me had travelled to different countries. I had a comparatively modest background in travelling. But my reasons haven’t been a lack of ambition at all.
My journey from Lahore to Stockholm has been interesting to put it mildly. Dreaming a dream in Pakistan for a single educated female can become a challenge at times. In my country wide contrasts exists. There are people strictly adhering to religion associating themselves to the religious history of their country. There are also people gradually weaning off religion but keeping up with traditions. Some conform to nothing.
When I started to look beyond the borders to find ways to expand my horizons I met two kinds of people. One who were extremely encouraging and also those who were completely against the idea but did not say it in so many words. But they did tell me to consider the fact that I was “single” and a “female” and I had a family (as if I didn’t know that).
I also had someone come to our place to talk me out of the entire thing because it was out of place for someone like me to have aims to go abroad. I believe it wasn’t religion but more a tradition of how females in the society are supposed to sacrifice their dreams to let the men in their lives achieve success.
Although I have had the most supportive father but even he had doubts about whether it was okay to let me steer my journey the way I wanted. In Pakistan the general concept of getting a girl educated is to find a better suitor for her in the future. People usually question why a parent should spend money on sending a girl abroad to study instead of spending it on her wedding.
The attestations, the visas, the finances are a part of another chapter that had to be dealt with. Apparently the higher education commission likes to torture people for thinking about going abroad.
As you can see I had to weigh the possibilities and opportunities in terms of knowledge and experience time and again to tell myself that it was a fight worth fighting for. But I need to add here that I have been lucky to have found dreamers like me who encouraged me despite the opposition I faced. They made my journey possible.
So word of advice, choose your own journey. Live your own life. Aim high and dream big!