Alumni association meets Islamabad Alumni associations are good forum for those who have studied at the same educational institutions to keep in touch with each other and there are a number of such groups in every country. In Islamabad, the alumni association of the London School for Economics (LSE) is trying to establish itself with the effort of a few enterprising graduates — among them Kiran Afzal; Faisal Khan Toru; Shahid Iqbal; Ali Basharat and Amin Jan Naeem (older and wiser) — and the ground work has been completed, so the association is all set for registration.

A good start was made last year by inviting prospective students of LSE to meet those who have already benefited from studying there so that their journey to a whole new world is less stressful. The event was a great success and very helpful for the students, so repeating the exercise, the association held a get-together at the Islamabad Club for a new batch of students — some of them confirmed, some on offer awaiting their results. The function was attended by members of the alumni association; representatives of the British High Commission and the British Council and a couple of anxious parents. The guest of honour was the DHC, British High Commission, Peter Tibber.

Addressing the gathering and acting as co-ordinator, Kiran Afzal welcomed everyone and gave a brief resume of her experiences of studying at LSE and living in London, with a vivid description of what the university looks like – no large grounds and different campuses, just blocks of buildings in the middle of London. The LSE has the largest, well-stocked library and an excellent support system for students from around the world. “Yes, it is a little stressful because you may not know anyone, you are in unfamiliar surroundings and you are homesick,” she said. “But there are people to help you and you will soon feel at home.”

Barrister Faisal Khan also gave his views and shared his experiences, which were on the positive side, saying while you had to study very hard at LSE it also gave you the opportunity to meet people from around the world and interact with them, while the opportunity to travel around Europe was another plus point. He also spoke of the efforts being made to make the Islamabad/Rawalpindi chapter of the association an active one and hoped many more graduates would join to make it a viable one as it is important to keep in touch with those who have studied at the same institution, so that experiences can be shared and new bonds of friendship cemented.

In his key not address the chief guest congratulated the students who will be going to LSE and said they will be joining the 10,000 students from Pakistan who are already studying there. He spoke of the ‘very rich UK Pakistan bilateral relationship’ that exists and urged the students to make full use of their stay in London and enjoy what the city has to offer in diverse fields such as art, culture and ethnicity, since people from around the world can be found here.

e urged them to join different study groups and societies that offered options to broaden ones outlook and said he agreed that the most impact they could make in future was in coming back to Pakistan. He concluded by thanking the organisers for inviting him and hoped there would be more opportunities for him to interact with the association.

There was a Q&A session and concerns such as visas; accommodation and other issues related to student life were answered by the relevant persons. During dinner there were more questions asked of the experts, especially by those who were shy to speak up in front of fellow guests! It was a well-arranged event and I am sure everyone benefited from it in some way or another, whether they are going to study in London or remain here to carry on with their lives.The news.

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