“Coming to terms with the fact that I’m different, unique. I have a responsibility to represent my culture and my country,” she said. On the flip side, many Pakistanis only know about America from the media, and she does her best to share with them the diverse society she has found here.
Another big misconception some people have is about Pakistan’s relationship with India. Akram worked her booth at the International Fair with several others, including senior Sukhi Srivatsan, whose parents are Indian. Their booth was titled the Indian Pakistan Unity Booth.
“The unity booth shows that even though India and Pakistan are political enemies, we share common bases and similar culture,” Srivatsan said. “My Pakistani friends are like sisters and brothers.”
Srivatsan was actually born in Africa and spent most of her life in the Middle East before moving to America four years ago. She said her experience in the United States has been positive. Most Americans are interested and eager to learn about her culture and she has not encountered any direct racism, though she said religion does tend to be a “touchy” topic.
The International Fair offered many ways to experience culture. Along with the many multimedia presentations and brochures, traditional music and cultural artifacts, there were plenty of opportunities for interaction. Akram and Srivatsan did free Henna body painting at their booth. The Japanese Club offered origami. Students Against Sexism in Society provided a “Women of the World” coloring book. The Korean Club had traditional games, one played on Korean New Year similar to jacks, said junior Sarah Won.