Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The "Amazing Experience" of Attending College in Pittsburgh, by Former GlobalPittsburgh Intern and Duquesne University Student From Pakistan

By Fazlur Rahman
Lahore, Pakistan

If you are considering the option to study at an institute in Pittsburgh, USA then I would definitely second your decision.

I got the great opportunity to study for a semester in this city at Duquesne University. From August till December 2011, I consider them as the best period of my life. I have known about Pittsburgh and its reputable institutions from even before, and fortunately, I was placed in this city by my Program Agency IREX for the U.S. State Department Global Undergraduate Exchange Program for Pakistan.

I became very excited and search on Google about places to see in Pittsburgh and nearby. As the time gets closer, I became more excited. I reached Pittsburgh on August 19, 2011. The International Office of Duquesne University was very supportive and helped me in getting me settled. I was picked by Cultural Ambassador of Duquesne University. The journey from airport to university dorms was amazing. The beautiful green hills on the way, and then, when we came out from the tunnel, the beautiful skyline of Pittsburgh made myself believe that I will definitely love my four-month stay in Pittsburgh.

Academic Walk - Duquesne University

Duquesne University, I found it a great place to study. The environment, faculty, dorms, student life, everything was amazing. The International Office and other administrative units were really helpful in everything.  Since I was on State Department Program, I had to complete community service work hours, and to give country presentation. I enjoyed both of them. The spirit of community service was seen clearly among the students at Duquesne as Duquesne is a Catholic university and its Campus Ministry and Office of Service Learning emphasize on community service. Through country presentation I was able to give an introduction about my country Pakistan to the students and officials of the university. I was also inducted in Critical Skills Program which helped me to enhance my academics and professional skills. This program gave me lifelong learning and made myself more efficient.

At Annual City Basketball Game - Consol Energy Center

Exploring Pittsburgh and United States, that was my next aim other than academics. Day by day, I started loving Pittsburgh more and more. The beautiful scenery specially of hills and the Three Rivers, make this city as the most awesome city of the United States. I traveled around twelve states of USA but I found Pittsburgh as the best place to study and live. Luckily, my room window opens on the Bluff Street, and I always had the scenery view of Southside hills across River Monongahela. It was either the walk from Duquesne to Southside to enjoy nightlife of Pittsburgh or walk to Pittsburgh Downtown to go to Cultural District for performance shows or shopping, these walks were most amazing. The home of Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey Team, Consol Energy Center was just across the street from Duquesne. The home of Pittsburgh Steelers Football Team, Heinz Field and home of Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball team, PNC Park was just fifteen minute walk from my university. The city enjoys the privilege to be the ‘City of Champions’ when Steelers and Penguins won the highest titles of American Football and Hockey respectively.

View of Pittsburgh Downtown from Mt. Washington

In a nutshell, I really like the location of my university campus as well ease in mobility around the city. Oakland, where the world’s prestigious universities University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University have campuses, is around 10 minutes drive from Pittsburgh Downtown, and it makes the students mobility very easy. It was never a problem for me to explore the city without owning car. Either the places worth visiting were on a walking distance or the bus ride made it convenient to visit the places. The transit system is very good if you are studying in the regions nearby city centre and living nearby them.

Pirates vs. Reds Baseball Game at PNC Park

I visited Heinz History Center, PNC Park Heinz Field, Kennywood Amusement Park, Cathedral of Learning, Mt. Washington, and many other places in Pittsburgh. Whatever interest you have, you will find the place or activity for it in Pittsburgh. I always felt proud of saying that I am studying and living in Pittsburgh. So, I would suggest you guys that do consider a option of studying in Pittsburgh.

Niagara Falls (It is just four hour drive from Pittsburgh)

From Pittsburgh, it is very easy to visit famous and large cities of USA. I visited New York, Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore, Niagara Falls, Detroit, Buffalo, Toronto via Megabus which is very cheap and convenient and goes to these cities daily. Philadelphia and Chicago are also very near. Many airlines operate at Pittsburgh International Airport and you can fly to various places in the USA from here. Amtrak also have two trains going from Pittsburgh covering the routes to Washington D.C., New York, Chicago. Other bus services make the transit easier from Pittsburgh to anywhere in the East Coast and Midwest.

I would say that studying at Duquesne University and Pittsburgh really makes me more academically qualified. And Pittsburgh city made me to enjoy the life in true sense. This city made my four months amazingly memorable. I still miss this city and one day, I will visit it again :)

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