Having started her education in an ordinary neighbourhood school, Hira Naz’s life underwent a sweeping change during a visit to an exhibition. Naz wrote about her arrival at the PakTurk Schools, which she sums up as ‘I felt as if I was on a different planet’, her teachers, and her success that propelled her to a medical school in Pakistan.
As salaam-u-alaikum! My name is Hira Naz. I am currently studying as a medical student in a medical college in Pakistan.
Since I am asked to write about the time I had spent in PakTurk and the memories I had there, the words come short for me to describe in words that wonderful time of my life I spent and witnessed.
I had a family other than my biological family in PakTurk. I joined PakTurk as a student in 2012 on scholarship.
I used to study in an underdeveloped school in my hometown. One day, we were invited to visit PakTurk on occasion of the Third Eye Model Installation Exhibition, in which projects made by students in science, arts, and social topics were displayed in the school grounds and the day was also celebrated in a cheerful manner. I entered the school with my old school friends, holding the hand of my little sister. When I saw the beauty of PakTurk for the first time, I was astonished. It was as if I was in a palace specially made for children and I was daydreaming of studying there.
I felt as if I landed on a different planet
While walking along the displayed projects and watching the students standing with full confidence and speaking English so fluently as they explained their handmade projects, I was so surprised; it was as if I came to another planet and I did not know what they were actually speaking because I hardly knew English then.
This event of my life happened when I was just 11 years old and studying in Grade 5. After the program, I and my little sister returned to our neighbourhood and reached our home. I was so excited and, with bright eyes, I gave details of what I had witnessed that day to the members of my family.
Days passed and my dream of studying in PakTurk was already blurred. Winter vacation started and it was also the time for usual admission campaigns of the schools in our city. My school teacher called me and asked, “Will you not take admission in PakTurk?” I replied her with a “No” because I knew the financial status of my home and it was crystal clear that my family would not be able to pay any huge amount for my tuition. Hearing my negative answer, she added, “You still have a chance there, because PakTurk has announced scholarships for bright students.” Listening to what she said, my heart was filled with the light of hope, so I asked my teacher, “What do I have to do? Please guide me.” She said, “Just go home and ask your mother to get a scholarship form from the PakTurk School.”
I came home and insisted my mother, “Just believe me! If I try now, I may get lucky!” We got the form from the school and I showed it to my father. I could see the anxiety on my father’s face possibly because he did not wish my dreams to be shattered.
When she saw my name on that list, my mother first thought I had failed
My family encouraged me and I started to prepare for the test a month before at my tuition with full passion. I tried really very hard as it was very obvious that I was weak in English, but I was also a hardworking and quick learner.
I went to PakTurk on the test day with full faith and gave my test. I looked at the sky with tears in my eyes and prayed to Allah to give me a chance to study in PakTurk. Little did I know that my prayers were answered. A week later I was called to the school. I still remember my mother saying that she was called into the Principal’s Office where she saw a list of students with my name and some other students’ names were highlighted. At first, she thought I was dropped out. When she learnt that I was selected for the scholarship, she got very happy.
I joined my classes and got a beautiful chance to meet Turkish people. My first Turkish subject teacher was Miss Sumeyra. She was very sweet, kind, and lovely. We used to love our Turkish classes the most because we were very curious to learn a foreign language. To be honest, it was the love and interest of our Turkish teachers that made us so fond of this language, because we know “what is taught with love lasts forever.”
My teacher who changed my life…
Time passed and everyday was like a new challenge for me. That was because I had to try really hard to cope up with the standard of education in my school. I started improving with every grade and this was because of the struggle put up by my family, teachers, and myself.
I still remember like yesterday when I first met my favourite and life-changing teacher Miss Zeynep. I spent a huge amount of time with her as a student. She used to give us the best guidance in classes and I was very interested in listening to all what she was saying. I remember myself questioning her a lot in those guidance classes. Those were the times that changed me into an entirely new person.
I should not forget to mention the time when I participated in the national rounds of the Turkish Olympiads for singing a song. My Turkish teachers and my classmates had encouraged me a lot by saying that I could sing well.
I went to Islamabad and tried my best in the competition. I could not qualify but it was a great experience which I still remember: My mother had stitched a very beautiful gown for me only for that occasion. It still brings me to smile when I remember how very confident I felt as I looked very nice in that gown.
We used to have sports weeks, Third Eye exhibitions, spring festivals, flower exhibitions, speech competitions, essay competitions, drawing competitions and Math competitions in our school. In addition to our academic studies, we were also socially active for boosting our confidence, growth and learning.
I learned many things I now apply in life at that time
We loved overnight stay programs in the school hostel where I learned a lot of things which I now practically implement. Reflecting back, I now feel that my Turkish teachers cleared the path for me to know Allah, love Him wholeheartedly, and to do everything for His sake. I am very thankful to them for this ease. I pray for my teachers a lot.
While it is not a conclusion as it does not end here but summing up, I will continue writing about these in my whole life and still the words will come short to describe the feelings I have for my school, teachers, and those times.
Sooner or later, we all get to our destinations; what really matters is the process that we should love and enjoy. If I ever got a chance to relive the life that I lived in PakTurk, I would definitely avail that opportunity and this time I would spend more and more time with my favourites – Miss Zeynep Simsar, Miss Fatima, Miss Sumeyra, Miss Ruveyda, Miss Esra, Miss Zeynep and the other Pakistani teachers like Miss Aseela and one of my Urdu Literature teachers.
I love PakTurk and Turkish families.
Two Countries, One Heart…