Written By : Ambreen Sikander
Living all my life in Karachi, the biggest and the most progressive city of Pakistan, I never actually felt the need to think about living anywhere else, until now. My recent trip to the United States of America has led me to believe that there is still so much in this world that I need to see and learn from.
Being a journalist in Pakistan, a society that was exposed to free and impartial news channels a decade ago, I was selected for the ICFJ Journalism Exchange USA programme which provided me an opportunity to visit Washington DC, Virginia, Chicago, Denver and meet people shaping American news media. Working with the professionals was a great feeling.
Before going to the US, I was not very optimistic after reading and watching anti-Muslim rhetoric going on in America and just like any other foreigner I was afraid to face some hostility towards my faith and country. However, what I received instead was love, love and more love.
I found that American people mostly are open-minded and friendly. The best thing about the Americans is that they are a very tolerant society. Only a minority exists that brews hate towards other faiths, however, even after my best efforts I was unable to find a single hater.
These are the most generous people who love to talk to strangers, and now I know that America is not a shy nation. They are very welcoming to foreigners and love to learn about your culture and nation and despite the common notion that Americans are ignorant people; they proved to be completely the opposite. An average American loves to learn about other nations and is very intrigued by foreign cultures.
America has one of the best structures in the world, their transport system is years ahead than what I have seen in Pakistan, however, I feel that with the help of America, Pakistan can manage to update its road infrastructure and transport system. Pakistan needs a robust subway system which the Americans can help us build.
Now coming back to my profession, I feel that Pakistani journalists can learn a lot from America. The American news media has a long history of professionalism which needs to be adopted by all news outlets in Pakistan. An average American journalist work to pass authentic information to the masses. What I saw here was that people are true to their profession without any prejudice. This quality is perhaps why the American nation has been so successful for so many years.
I met some of the finest people and got to discuss key factors regarding the news media in Pakistan and how we can work together to bring a positive change in the region through professional and accurate reporting. I owe the US exchange program
a lot for this tremendous opportunity.
I would love to revisit and see the rest of the country and meet the American people. I am going home with lots of love from the United States of America and expect my new American friends to visit Pakistan and give us a chance to show our hospitality.