Student News

International Student Spotlight: Zulaikha Nadeem

Photo of Zulaikha Nadeem
Zulaikha Nadeem

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 3, 2021) — As an international exchange student from Pakistan and a cultural ambassador, Zulaikha Nadeem has made her mark on campus.

Nadeem became a Wildcat through the Global Undergraduate Exchange program in Pakistan. This program is a prestigious scholarship that awards emerging youth leaders from diverse communities across Pakistan with the opportunity to attend American universities and colleges for non-degree academic study.

“I was a girl who had never been outside my home," Nadeem said. "I came here and I was expecting a cultural shock, but I didn’t have it.”

Although Nadeem didn’t experience the culture shock that she was expecting, she still had to make some adjustments. The International Village Living Learning Program (LLP) on campus, located in Blazer Hall, helped her make new friends and deal with this significant change.

“I thought I’d stick to more international students, but I have made really close friends with all of the Americans in my dorm. The LLP really helped me learn English.”

During her time here, Nadeem has gotten involved in various ways and truly immersed herself in the community. As a part of her program, she is required to complete community service hours. However, Nadeem has exceeded this requirement and has worked overtime at the Campus Kitchen each week.

“It has been a really wonderful experience. It feels good to address hunger and serve students who may not be able to afford meal plans. I used to volunteer back in my country, so volunteering has always been close to my heart.”

In addition to her commitment to service, Nadeem has made sure to attend as many events as she can on campus and get involved as much as possible.

Her favorite event on campus has been modeling on the Catwalk.

“You wear things from your culture and showcase your items,” she said. “I gave away a lot of my jewelry. It felt good to have people admire my attire and touch everything asking. It was one of the best experiences.”

An incredible ambassador for her country, Nadeem has been able to learn so much about the United States during her short time here.

Nadeem’s exchange program will end on Dec. 17, when she will return to Pakistan and finally see her family. Although she is excited to see them, she can’t help but reflect on her experience these past few months.

“I’ve met a lot of friends here. Back home, I was very introverted, and after coming here, I now consider myself an extroverted person. I cannot imagine how this all happened in only three months, but it happened."

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