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Shukria Shinwari (sophomore) is an international student from Afghanistan.

Penmen Abroad

From Afghanistan To New Hampshire

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“I heard Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) welcomes students regardless of their faith, race, personal beliefs and religions. When I came to campus, I found it true,” said Junior Shukria Shinwari. Shinwari is an international student from Afghanistan. She attended the first girls’ boarding school, School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) in 2011. SOLA is a nonprofit organization that helps young Afghan women to get a better education both inside and outside the country. Shinwari got accepted to Southern New Hampshire University in summer of 2013. She came to the United States to not only get a better education, but also to get a new perspective about a bigger world.

“Coming to SNHU was the best decision I made,” said Shinwari. “I am from the eastern part of Afghanistan where women can only major in medical science and education. Four of my older sisters graduated from medical schools; they work as practitioners and doctors.

I was interested in political science. I want to be part of a change in my traditional society and coming to SNHU was my first step toward that change.”Shinwari majors in political science with a minor in Psychology and a certificate in Terrorism and Home Land Security. She hopes to work with Foreign Affairs in Afghanistan.

Coming to the U.S. was not an easy decision for Shinwari. She had to live far away from her family. She was worried if she could adapt the new culture or make connection with other students. After her freshman year, she joined different student organizations on campus, such as International Students Association, Student Government and Math Club.

“I have found SNHU faculty and staff very supportive of international students. As an international and a Muslim student, I feel very safe and welcomed.” Shinwari also studied abroad in the United Kingdom in fall of 2016. “I learned a lot about UK’s culture and political system through my classes. It was an absolutely wonderful experience.”

Her experience at SNHU and in the U.S. in general has been a very eye-opening experience. She suggests all students to study abroad wherever they are interested in going. “I am a political science student. To me, it has been very interesting look at international politics from different perspectives, and then make my judgment.” Shinwari has made her SNHU experience a success. She is hoping to make more progress and make more connection before her graduation. “I am very thankful of my family for supporting me and I am very thankful of SNHU and SOLA for giving this great opportunity to study in the U.S. and become a future leader for people in need.”