It ain’t Long Island: The Karachi kid

Forget the first 10 people you met at GW – not everyone is from Long Island. Or New Jersey, for that matter. Or even Pennsylvania. Though many times you may hear students asking one another “Nassau or Suffolk County?” GW really does attract students from interesting locales all over the country and the globe. Meet Nazish Hussain.

All of Nazish Hussain’s education has been in English, but her thick accent is impossible to miss.

Hussain grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, speaking Urdu (“It sounds like Hindi, but the script is different”) and English.

Hussain, a senior, attended a private school in Karachi, the country’s biggest city. Most of the school’s graduates attend colleges and universities around the world.

“Most students go abroad for school,” Hussain said. “I have friends in the UK, in Canada, here .”

She chose to come to GW because she wanted to live in a big city and because of GW’s scholarship offer.

“It was strange moving here,” she said. “But it wasn’t a huge culture shock. I had the same adjustment issues everyone else did. It was hardest to adjust to living with others.”

Like other seniors, Hussain is thinking about life after college.

“I hope to work in D.C. or New York after college, but only for maybe a year.” After that, she plans to continue her career in her native country.

“Pakistan is a developing nation, so there are many opportunities,” said Hussain, who is a marketing major in the School of Business.

“Karachi is happening,” she said. “There are international restaurants everywhere.”

Living in the United States, Hussain also tries to educate people about her homeland. “The media portrays Pakistan in a really negative way,” she said.

“It might not be the safest place in the world. But it’s not unsafe. Things are happening everywhere.”

Hussain said her friends often ask her if she is afraid to travel to Pakistan.

“It’s home. What? Am I supposed to never go there?”

She would also like people to know that Pakistan is not as conservative as she thinks most people assume.

“People think that it’s a really conservative place, but it’s not. My family was pretty liberal,” she said. “I mean, my parents let me come here, didn’t they?”

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