Exchange student seeks American education to challenge expectations

“Raised in Dubai, which is very diverse and a multicultural country, I grew up with all sorts of people: British, Americans, Arabs (from all sorts of Arab countries), Indians, Pakistanis, there were a whole of bunch of people,” Danishmund said.

“That has helped me get more adaptable and understanding towards them. I can talk to people on any topic. Due to this, I was very comfortable when I moved here. It was no dramatic shift for me to come to States.”

“Dubai is a country where you keep moving, so I think that’s something I will take with me in my future; i.e. you are constantly moving and changing. Like Dubai has taught me that the ‘only thing constant is change.’”

“My dad said that I can go to any university in the United States if it is Texas, because my brothers were here. Having two elder brothers and me being the youngest, my dad has sort of “protective parameters” for me. I am literally Daddy’s little girl. Anything that I have asked for, my dad has given it to me, he is like my hero. And I am my Dad’s favorite.”

“He would go slightly practical on me, whenever I ask something from him but he would make stuff happen for me. I am here because of his support. From my dad – I got this sense of security. I just know that anything I do, I have his back. He is one of my biggest supporters for me in every aspect of everything.”

“My mom is one of the most important people who shaped me, since I am literally the only girl in family. I have learned a lot from her personality,” Danishmund said.

Her mother’s influence has also had an impact on her education.

“I’m pursuing an MBA right now and going out of my comfort zone and doing these things kind of stems from her. She is kind of a rebel in the family, because she was the one who went out of her city in ’70s and was studying in Islamabad. It was a great deal at that time, especially for a girl who is coming from a conservative family. I felt that part of her life, though I never told her about this, nor will I ever but she is my inspiration. My mom is always like that there is whole lot more that you are capable of, she is my reality check.”

“I am odd ball, black sheep of the family. I don’t think I am like anybody in my family. I think I am more or less like my mother. I can take things seriously and not so seriously at the same time so it’s both a strength and a weakness because at times life requires you to cut that shit out and take stuff seriously and at the same time you know it’s not the end of the world, if it doesn’t work out. I will be ok,“ she said.

“I got that from my mom. I still remember when I came here my brother told me don’t even bother unpacking, you won’t make three GP and you’ll have to go back. It was either this or I go home, it’s not like I could go to any other university.”

“I didn’t give up, because that’s what I learned from my mom,” she said.

And here she is, proving herself and graduating this year with flying GPA. Her last bit of advice to everyone; it turns out what she has learned in this entire process of shifting to a new country and adapting its life style.

“Anytime anywhere you go, you take your mind and heart with you, changes can be both good or bad,” Madeeha said.

“Work things out, always give it a thought. I am completely all about following my dreams, being open-hearted, being open to change and you might get hurt in that process but that’s ok, that’s being human.“