Road to university: Aftikhar Mominzada | Aga Khan Academies

Road to university: Aftikhar Mominzada

09 April 2021

Tell us about yourself

I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and lived with my parents and three siblings until I moved to India. I speak Dari, Farsi and Persian at home, and spent my early childhood in a close-knit community.

Do you remember your access to education in Afghanistan?

Back in Afghanistan my school was very close to my house, around a 10-minute walk. The subjects were taught in Dari and I had more subjects compared to the Academy. Generally in Afghanistan, education is provided by the government. Compared to the Academy, the school I attended did not have such a wide variety of athletic and extracurricular activities. The Academy definitely provides a more comprehensive education and teachers are supportive and helpful. One of my fondest memories of my school days back in Afghanistan is when I used to spend time after school with friends enjoying the food booths in the neighbourhood.

How has your experience at the Academy impacted you?

With this experience, I got to study the International Baccalaurate curriculum and I have made close friendships with classmates. The experience has enabled me to be more aware and form my own opinions about various subjects.

Do you remember when you first learned that you had received a scholarship to attend the Academy?

I was with my parents when I received the letter of admission signed by the Head of Academy. We were so excited about the adventure that lay ahead! My younger brother wouldn’t have anyone at home to spend time with, however, but I knew he would be fine after a couple of months of me leaving.

What was your experience like when you first came to the Academy?

The food and weather were two major issues that I had to deal with during the first three years. Otherwise, the experience of living in a new environment and a shift in the mode of education with assignments, projects and research being conducted with the help of technology were major changes that added more value to my experience. I was still quite young when I started living in the residences. The challenge certainly helped me become more resourceful.

What opportunities have you taken part in at the Academy?

I enjoy debating so I have been part of the Model United Nations (MUN). Over the past two years, I have been part of the core team and executive board for MUN. I have participated in numerous debates on a national, as well as a regional level. As an Academy student I have been fortunate to receive many awards, recognitions and credentials. I have also been part of the school swimming team and have achieved some successes which I am proud of.   

What would you say is your favourite part of being a student at the Academy? 

I really like the vision on which the Academy is established. As a student, I feel I am involved in a significant project. This helps me align my own aspirations with something really meaningful.

How have you been supported during your time at the Academy? 

All of the teachers and staff members have contributed to my enrichment, and my classmates too. My economics teacher, Mr Rajesh, has been of great support both in the classroom and in giving me advice outside the academic sphere. Also, in the past two years, I have learned valuable lessons from my university counsellor, Ms Pragati. She is very supportive, and despite me incessantly approaching her for university issues, she goes out of her way to help me and other students. I recently found out that Ms Pragati has been spending every single vacation working on our university applications. It really inspired me to be diligent about studying. 

What does the university scholarship mean to you and your family?

The cost of higher education is a big barrier to good quality education. With this scholarship, I will be able to continue my higher education and learn more about economics, business and finance, as well as technology. I enjoy these areas of study. Without this scholarship, I would not have been able to access these opportunities at all.

How do you think your time at the Academy will help you during university?

I will live and work with people from different backgrounds. At the Academy I have learned to be flexible and open to new ideas. I think it will be easy for me to adjust to a new environment.

Tell us about your brother and the work you have done with him which has now meant that he too can attend university in the United States?

My brother, Saadat, is a brilliant person. He wanted to study abroad so we worked together to create his profile. I used my experience and the lessons Ms Pragati taught me to support Saadat. Everything worked out well and he received a full scholarship to a university in the United States. He is now working on his visa application.