Areeb Irfan is a bright 17-year-old hailing from Islamabad, Pakistan. He is now living with his host family in Sioux City, Iowa and enjoying all the new experiences that are coming along his way. Recently, Areeb tried out for his high school’s football team and also went water-tubing at Lake Okoboji. But one of his earliest proud moments since arriving in the United States happened on August 14th, which was Pakistan’s Independence Day.
Areeb wrote a special piece about that day to share with the IRIS team, his friends, family, and most of all, his beloved country.

Independence Day is what every person as a good citizen of his country celebrates and cherishes. This is that blessed day which gave the residents of that country an identity to cherish and be proud of. This day in every country’s history marks an achievement of an important milestone after substantial sacrifices and hardships which are borne to finally carve a hard won victory in the pages of history. Independence Day is actually why we are and who we are.


Areeb presenting in front of a group of staff and student leaders at Morningside College.

My case is not very different, I am a proud Pakistani and I am obliged with the duty to represent my country in the best of its interests on a year long cultural exchange program in U.S.A. and what’s a better moment to be your country’s banner-man than on it’s day of independence?


By the collaborative effort of my host parents (which I am grateful for), who teach at Morningside College at Sioux City, Iowa; on 14th August 2015, I actually got this golden opportunity to present in front of the cream of that college. I presented my country in front of the Student Staff of the Residence Life Office at Morningside College. These 71 students are student leaders from across campus who oversees the Residence Halls and Student Programming on campus throughout the academic year. Moreover my host parents also arranged a special cake to celebrate my Independence Day which had Pakistan flag on it.


I talked to these students about my country and its background, how it came into existence and what is its demography, its food, culture, dances, events, and most importantly, about its religious and ethnic beliefs, dominantly about Islam and its true beliefs of peace, prosperity and general coexistence with references to original examples and beliefs.


Happy to share his culture, Areeb had a makeshift stall decorated with Pakistani cultural goods and the cake his host parents got for him.

I also had a stall with all the intricately -designed and handmade Pakistani artifacts, its world famous woodwork trucks (truck art) and auto-rickshaws, handmade bed sheets and clothes as well as some beguiling pictures from the Northern Areas of Pakistan which everyone found fascinating and overwhelming.


I am looking forward to spending this year in the best way possible and spread light about my country to the apex  and this event was inextricably a golden sparrow addition in my exchange year. I am definitely looking forward to such great opportunities and many more better ones to come during this year so that I could cast them in in the best way possible.


Areeb Irfan
Sioux City

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