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STUDY ABROAD : Once you arrive - Must read

5 Misconceptions about pakistanis you’ll face when you study abroad

A list of five of the most common Pakistani stereotypes you'll encounter abroad

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We've come up with five stereotypes about Pakistani students (written by a Pakistani student), that you might encounter when studying abroad!


1. Pakistani men love their mums

There is a misconception that all Pakistani men love their mums. You’ll often hear that, to a young Pakistani man, their mother is completely faultless. She must be obeyed without question because her ruling is absolute! Never in your wildest dreams has your mother ever been wrong about anything.


You will do everything that you are told, from cleaning the house and doing your homework, to going into town to collect tonight’s dinner – every single day. When your mum makes a curry you sit next to her and watch with great care as she passes age-old recipes down to you. There is a misconception that a young Pakistani man must learn from their mother exactly how to act and behave; should they deviate from her wishes ever so slightly, they will have disappointed her.


But this isn’t always the case! Not all Pakistanis accept that when they open their wardrobe, they see clothes handpicked by their mother staring back at them! And not all Pakistanis who study abroad are missing their mothers (that much!)


2. Pakistanis are obsessed with fast, shiny cars

Some Pakistanis are absolutely obsessed with fast cars and loud V8 engines. According to Pakistani stereotypes, the day that you get your first car and take your friend into town there can be no food or drink consumed in the vehicle. In fact, the thought of a Pakistani’s car with a Coca-Cola stain on the seat fills them with so much dread that they hyperventilate just thinking about it, but this nonsense isn’t true for every single Pakistani; in fact, it probably only applies to a handful of the population.


All over the world hundreds of people are driving around in fancy cars every single day. Vibrant colours, flashy grills, lower bumpers and gigantic spoilers are all examples of car modification – but there is so much more to a Pakistani then their apparent love for cars and you shouldn’t assume that they all love to modify vehicles.


It’s only safe to assume that a Pakistani student studying abroad loves cares if they turn up to university on the first day in a modified black Supra…


3. All Pakistanis are extremely hard working

A few years ago, if you asked a Pakistani if they were a hard worker then they would have said yes. You only need to look at the amount of Pakistani nationals that travel to the USA and the UK every year to undertake challenging degrees or jobs to see that Pakistanis work harder than the average person. Arguably however, the stereotype has become far less accurate in the past couple of years.


Sure, Pakistanis work hard, but doesn’t everyone? It could be possible that coupled with the belief that a mother can do nothing wrong, and the strict enforcement of an efficient work ethic makes for a hard-working Pakistani teenager. But not every single Pakistani is hard-working and it’s not accurate to think that they are. Don’t assume that a Pakistani studying abroad will score the highest in every single test. A lot of the time international students are busy trying to juggle work with socialising and a completely new culture, so levels of work are likely to drop off slightly anyway.


4. Anti-Indian

According to some, Pakistan’s nationalism is primarily focussed on its intense hate for Indian people. Ever since independence over half a century ago a fear and hatred of Indian people has existed in Pakistan. But has the relationship improved?


In a broad sense, the relationship between Pakistan and India has improved; this might be because the repercussions of the bout for independence does not affect the younger generations of Indians and Pakistanis as much as it would have 30 years ago. On top of this, you just have to look at the intense – but somewhat tasteful – rivalry between the Indian and Pakistani cricket teams to realise that the relationship between the two countries is on the mend.


5. Pakistanis don’t know when to stop talking about cricket

Yes, it’s true – Pakistan’s most played sport is cricket. But just like Britain’s most popular sports are rugby and football it doesn’t mean that everyone plays them.


It’s fair enough to assume that a Pakistani loves cricket if you mention a top spin bowl to them and they don’t stop talking for the next 20 minutes; but this doesn’t mean that all Pakistani people adore the sport. A lot of youngsters in Pakistan don’t play any sport at all!


Did you know that a huge amount of Pakistanis are actually passionate about hockey? They even hold a world record for winning four Hockey World Cups – and have won three gold medals at the Olympics too. Football and squash are also extremely popular sports in the country, so next time you speak to a Pakistani, don’t ask them about cricket. Instead, ask about Jahangir Khan, who went 555 consecutive games unbeaten in squash during the 80s. 

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