News

Academics and Social Involvment Completes Hasnain Zaidi's Pursuit for Balance at Duke University

Related Articles

Not having a lot of choices at home for attending college, Hasnain Zaidi knew coming to the United States to study would afford him an opportunity both academically as well as so socially.  “Well I’m actually pretty international as far as backgrounds go.  My family is originally Pakistani, but I was born and raised in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates over in the Middle East,” he says.

“I spent middle school in Toronto Canada, but for the most part lived the bulk of my seventeen years before college in Abu Dhabi.  I choose to attend college in the U-S, primarily because there weren’t a whole lot of options close to home.  I was looking to study either in the United Kingdom, Canada or the United States just because the quality of higher education there is really top notch and its very hard to match the quality of the liberal arts education both academically, extra curricular wise and socially that you can get in the U-S and that is sort of why I started focusing on colleges in the states.”

So, after a bit of Internet research and personal gut instinct, Hasnain is attending Duke University.  He says, it is only by luck that he ended up there.  “I’m currently at Duke University.  I’m a senior over here and I got lucky is all I can say far as why I chose to come to Duke.  Most international students do not have extensive experience with American colleges and so what I did was I went online and pulled the U-S news top ten rankings, top twenty rankings and requested view books from the schools that seemed interesting and the ones that I had heard of and looked into which ones seemed interesting and when I say looked into I mean I visited the website and looked at pictures.  I read brochures and articles online and that was really the extinct to which I knew about Duke,” he says.

“I never knew anybody that had visited here, hadn’t even actually heard about the basketball team before I got here and so it really was a shot in the dark,” he says.

“I found that I really liked the way the campus projected itself.  I liked the image that they showed of themselves.  Sort of the image that I got of Duke was a place where you could work hard, but also be part of a community and that was important to me was to be in a place where I would be welcomed and a place where I could make a contribution.  So I got that sense from Duke and of course this could have been completely incorrect, but luckily it was spot on exactly what I found on during my time here, but really in the end it was by chance that I wind up at Duke.”

Hasnain is studying Public Policy. He says that wasn't his initial choice, but after giving it some thought, he is able to take some of his other interests and unify them into this one area.  “I chose to major in Public Policy studies and it has been a bit of a journey getting here,” he says. 

“I started off my career as a pre-med student.  I was pre-med for two and a half to three years of my four here and so it was an interesting transition.  I had always looked at doing something non-traditional sciences, I never intended to be a Biology or a Physics major per se, but I wanted to do something that would meld all of my interests and so Public Policy is one of the stronger programs here at Duke it has a huge focus on engagement and really making a difference within my community and that is a message that resonated with me a lot,” he says. 

“It is also one of the more international programs with a very global focus and so that is important to me to be able to take those interests and unify them together.”

For Hasnain being able to study in the United States has been vital to him.  He tells us why.  “I think it has been vital.  I think just from the perspective of receiving a college education has been huge, but the particular brand of college education that you get here its so fundamental to the development of young adults and I am a firm believer in that I could have studied in the United Kingdom, but in the UK what they have is you need to decide your program upon entry, so I would currently be enrolled in a pre-medical program. I would be on my way to being a doctor which would not have been the right choice for me because after having getting to Duke I decided that is not what I want to do with my life,” he says. 

“So to have the flexibility, you know to come into college undecided and say ‘look I’m just going to see where the world takes me has been huge, but then also just from a personal growth stand point.  The kind of things I have leaned both inside the class, but especially outside of class and being able to interact with such a diverse set of intelligence and articulate peers it just help me grow to another level that I don’t think would have been possible.”

After graduation this month, Hasnain already has future plans.  “Currently the plan is to stay in the United States for a little bit. I have a job working for a major consulting company and I would like to gain some experience.  I guess in my perspective a lot of what is going on in this world, is really driven by what is going to the United.  It’s the center of innovation, the center of excellence and so to be able to be in that atmosphere and the work atmosphere here is really exciting,” he says.  “So I am going to do that for a few years and then potentially live somewhere abroad.”

 

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs