Like hundreds of students from foreign countries who throng Chandigarh every year to pursue education, Mohd Hakim Haider (38) selected Panjab University (PU) as his first preference to pursue PhD in Economics after securing a scholarship offered by the Government of India for Afghan students in 2007.
Mohd Hakim is an associate professor at the Department of Economics, Kabul University, and a researcher at the Academy of Sciences in Afghanistan.
On why he chose the varsity
The Indian government is very supportive when it comes to improving the education standards in Afghanistan and has been doing great work in this direction over the last several years. Offering scholarships to Afghan students is one such step.
During one of my earlier trips to India, I visited Chandigarh for two months. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality, the structure and beauty of the city and the standard of education here. This helped me adjust better during my second visit. I hope I can gain as much possible from this university.
Life at the hostel
As expected, the initial days were tough. But I started getting familiar with hostel life gradually.
Getting to know the city
I had been to Delhi and Agra earlier. When I came to Chandigarh, I visited various colleges of the Panjab University that helped me plan my future studies.
Getting comfortable in the institution
I am comfortable and the teachers and students are very helpful.
People of the city
The people of Chandigarh are hospitable. I can even speak Hindi and Punjabi, so there is no communication problem.
Lifestyle it offers
Life here is lavish and colourful.
Fun things I do
I seldom go out with my family to Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Sukhna Lake and other places close to the city.
Hangouts I recommend
Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Sukhna Lake and Sector 17 Market.
My teachers and colleagues at the university and my neighbours and Indian friends are best source of information for me. The internet is another good option.
What I dislike about the city
Sometimes, a section of youngsters indulge in some immoral activities at public places. That is why I hesitate to take my children to such places. The lack of hygiene in some roadside eateries around the city also disturbs me.
Tough for outsiders?
Since people here are very helpful and hospitable, there should not be any difficulty for outsiders to settle in this city.
The Indian government is very supportive when it comes to improving the education standards in Afghanistan and has been doing great work in this direction over the last several years. Offering scholarships to Afghan students is one such step
Mohd Hakim Haider