Awais from Pakistan, became a part of the McKenna family when he joined BFF in 2018 and was placed in Fuquay Varina, NC. Throughout his exchange year, Awais was a committed student and a cultural ambassador, and he fully embraced the experience. The alum network that is created through the exchange programs is remarkable!

Awais is a perfect success story of the opportunities students can have if they participate in an exchange year. Five years after his experience, we checked in with Awais, and he eagerly shared what he is up to now.

“During my exchange year, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture and embrace diverse experiences that have shaped my personal and professional growth. Since then, I’ve been involved in various endeavors that reflect my passion for leadership, entrepreneurship, and making a positive impact on society.

Here are some of the activities I’ve been involved in:

  1. Executive of the Speaking Club: I’ve served as the Executive of the Speaking Club in the Public Speaking and Literary Society at my university for two consecutive semesters, drawing on the skills I gained during my exchange year’s public speaking classes.
  2. Co-founder of FARHANG: FARHANG is an e-commerce startup dedicated to empowering women in Sindh by bridging the gap between their craftsmanship and the market. Through FARHANG, we’ve been able to provide financial stability to skilled women, allowing them to lead happier lives. Our startup was shortlisted and received incubation support from the Punjab Information Technology Board, providing us with invaluable learning experiences.
  3. Co-founder of Agrofibre: Agrofibre is a startup focused on creating fiber from sugarcane bagasse, addressing sustainability challenges in the agricultural industry. Our participation in the Hult International Prize in 2023 earned us the recognition of being the 1st runner up. Although we couldn’t make it to the final round in Melbourne due to financial constraints, the journey was a testament to our commitment to innovation and social impact.
  4. General Secretary at Sukkur IBA University Model United Nation 2.0: In this role, I facilitated a simulation based on United Nations activities, providing students with a platform to engage in global policy-making and discussions, further enhancing my leadership skills and commitment to fostering positive change.

My exchange year experience has instilled in me a sense of leadership, resilience, and a drive to uplift marginalized communities. I credit programs like YES and platforms like BFF for providing opportunities for personal and professional development, allowing individuals like myself to thrive and make meaningful contributions to society.”

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