Life of a Northerner at NUST
Life of a Northerner at NUST
If you grew up in Chitral, like I did, you can see the surprised look on people’s faces when you tell them that you are from the northern areas. The good thing about people here downtown is that they admire northern areas of Pakistan and appreciate the natives. I moved to Islamabad five years ago, and it’s been one year at NUST, yet I still get bombarded with questions and remarks on my being a “northern girl”.
One of the most important aspects of my experiences is that the entire campus values the perspective of people from different types of backgrounds. Diversity prevails at NUST, and multiculturalism and diversity are very imperative to your university experience as they help prepare you for the real world. University may very well be the first time you have been exposed to certain cultural groups, and believe it or not, this happens in various degrees for all students alike. Whether it’s your dorm-mate’s religion that you’ve never heard of, or your teacher’s race, learning about other cultures is vital to being a successful adult.
And above all, learning experiences aren’t just limited to your fellow students’ race or ethnicity; they also include simply being around people different than you. How boring would life be if you only talked to people who were exactly like you? University is as much about experiencing new things as it is about getting a degree. As for my experiences, here are some of the common questions I am asked almost on daily basis about being a northerner:
- “Oh Chitral… So you are from Gilgit Baltistan?
The common misconception about Chitral is that people think it is a part of Gilgit Baltistan, but wait here, guys: it is last corner of Pakistan which is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Some people need to enlighten themselves by reading more geography!
- “How far does it take from here to Chitral?”
It isn’t so far, guys! It just takes maximum ten hours – not far albeit. The place is worth your time. Trust me.
- “What’s snow like?”
The white cushioned stuff, that in numerous years has gone over my head (I am 64 inches tall, so just try imagining what it’s like on a day off), is lovely until it goes to slush. After that, it’s irritating. It’s like “every day I am shoveling”.
- “Do you speak Pashto, because your accent sounds like that?”
I don’t speak Pashto, and the accent is because Urdu is a second language for me. The accent of the person depends on the place they live in, as well as their mother tongue. Chitrali people speak chitrali language which is known as “khowar”.
- “Do northern people really feel less cold?”
Let me be honest here, people – no matter where they belong to – feel just as cold regardless of which region they live in. Moreover, contrary to myths, I am sharing my experience that Northerners are more likely to change their clothing than people downtown – be that for warmth, or to be cooler. We aren’t snow leopards, man!
Well, these were some of the common questions I have been asked about my background, but honestly, my experience at NUST has been wonderful till now and I hope it will be more delightful towards the end. I would like to conclude by sharing the quote:
“Keep your language. Love its sounds, its modulation, and its rhythm. But try to march together with men of different languages, remote from your own, who wish like you for a more just and human world.”
― Helder Camara, Spiral Of Violence
By Fariha Mansoor
Mass Communication, S3H