For Hajira Maryam Mirza getting to Oxford University this fall is the ultimate goal.

Hailing from Karachi, the 26-year-old recently got accepted into Oxford University where she plans to pursue a Master’s in South Asian studies. However, there is just one little catch, the fees to attend the prestigious school.

“I did my O levels in the Emirates but later moved to pursue my A levels,” Mirza said while speaking to Geo.tv. “I pursued my undergraduate in Istanbul on funding and scholarship at Bahcesehir University.”

She added, “I also juggled multiple part-time works in an NGO for visually impaired people, teaching English, research assistantship at my university and also babysitting.”

I was doing all this to be able to sustain myself independently, Mirza added.

Talking about her journey to Oxford, Mirza said for her thesis she proposed to write about Imran Khan’s communication strategy and its attempts to use both nationalism and Islam. “Considering the timeliness of the subject, it will dwell into the meaning behind Khan’s rise in the context of the rise of identity politics around the world,” she said.

When asked what the response has been to her funding page that she has set up, Mirza said, “I am trying left right and center. I recently met President of Azad Kashmir Masood Khan and reached out to him too asking if any funding from the government is possible because I have been contributing writing, especially on the topic of public diplomacy, communication, and Pakistan’s soft power discourse.”

The 26-year-old who is adamant on hopping on a plane to Oxford this year said, if she fails to get the £24,000 in the next sixty days she will request for a deferral. “I really want to pursue it this year, she said. “I have been working for it for the past couple of years honestly, once Masters is out of the way, I can focus more on writing and then pursue a Ph.D. so I can teach, write and do active research at the same time.”

Oxford will craft my skill-set when it comes to utilizing proper research methodology, she added.

Mirza is currently working at TRT World Research Centre as a researcher and a journalist with South Asia as part of their core annual forum team.

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