13 Pakistanis you will meet in US colleges

Published: August 5, 2011

This post refers mostly to the, gently put, “fresh off the boat” Pakistani students studying in the States. Some might be a mix of multiple categories, and some none.

I’m not sure if the same kinds of Pakistani students are at every campus, but these are the ones I’ve come across on a few campuses across the States:

1) The Princess: So you may have been the best looking girl in your elite school’s class of 20 or so kids, but you’re pretty average looking on this campus of thousands of students. It might be time for a reality check… or a hair straightener?

2) The Alcoholic: Welcome to America, where the booze is as endless as the food is in Lahore. There’s an excuse to drink and celebrate every day in this kid’s world.

Naan in the cafeteria? I’ll drink to that!

Least favourite IAFF professor going out of town for Monday’s lecture? Clink, cheers!

Zardari’s birthday? Rounds on me!

3) The Pennsylvania: This kid was miraculously born in America but has no recollection of his/her time spent here. When you ask them where they’re from, they’ll throw out some unknown town in Pennsylvania or Ohio.

“I’m an American citizen, I was born here.”

Congrats on knowing the Constitution, but you still pronounce your v’s like w’s brah.

4) The Royal: He confuses unassuming goras into thinking he comes from the non-existent royal family of Pakistan.

“Man, I hate doing laundry. In Pakistan I have a driver, 4 maids, 3 cooks, 2 chokidaars- you know vhat a chokidaar is right?”

His maid even has a maid.

5) The Homesick: Aw, can’t make fun of the bichara. He just misses sneaking cigarettes with his boiiz, going on long drives, and spending every waking moment with his 17 second and third cousins.

6) The Connection: “Man, can’t believe we got in trouble for veed. In Pakistan I can do whatever I want. I’m the great-nephew of Chaudhary Jootaywala.” “Who’s that?” … Silence.

This is the underaged kid who thinks he can go to any club without an ID and just charm the guard, or tell him who his second uncle twice removed is and get inside.

7) The Starer: He knows you’re Pakistani. He’s Pakistani. Instead of creating conversation… you’ll just stare at each other.

8) The Holder: You can’t blame this kid. Pakistan has left an enormous imprint on him. Despite being plastered on Thirsty Thursday, this trooper always makes it to Jummah. Hungover… but holy.

9) The Foodie: This is my favorite kind. This one is always down to get chicken korma or mango kulfi anytime, anywhere. No distance is too great, no time is too late.

10) The Good Kid: This is the type of person your parents want you to be friends with. Actually, this is who you should be. This kid hangs out with the straight-edge goras, because much to his dismay, all Pakistanis are corrupted. They can be spotted in the library, in the dormitories, or… the library. If they don’t have exams, they may be at MSA meetings too.

11) The Revolutionary: “Man, America is great. The power never goes out, the girls are hot, the streets are clean. I’m going to make Pakistan like this.” Good luck.

12) The Music Major: His parents tell everyone he’s becoming an engineer. Little do they know, little Bilal is becoming B-Pak and trying to “create a dynamic fusion between eastern instrumentals and western rock and roll”.

13) The Indian: Perhaps its because of a lack of Pakistanis on campus, a reluctance to share your drinking habits with fellow countrymen, or maybe just love for the neighbors, the Indian is a Pakistani who believes 1947 never existed. “We’re all the same man.” They can be found at bhangra practice, distributing pamphlets for the ISA, or grabbing some langar with the Sikhs. The Indian knows no borders.

You’re sure to encounter at least a few of these in their four, maybe six year college careers.

If you have come across others not mentioned above, feel free to comment.


Anam Zahra

An undergraduate at George Washington University studying International Economics and International Development

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://twitter.com/Tooba_Hatif toobahatif

    lol Hilarious.. I have a friend and i think he pretty much fall into the category of The Holder and The homesick..! ;)
    Interesting Observation.. !Recommend

  • Ali

    First article??? ever!!Recommend

  • Humayun

    Which type are you Miss Author?Recommend

  • asaad

    Serious waste of time…!!!Recommend

  • Hala

    What about the one who doesnt want to be friends with any Pakistanis? Even though they were born and raised in Pakistan pretends not to be from Pakistan or know anything about the culture.

    Or the ones that are ever ready to be friends with you because you have one thing in common: your country.

    :) Recommend

  • Irfan


  • irfan

    Really Nice :)
    Yeah I have seen people who are obsessed with politics of Pakistan. They spend all the time in CRITICALLY analyzing what should be Pakistan’s next step in the foreign-relations. Recommend

  • saad

    Girl, u have some serious insecurities and complex issues…!!! Grow up..!!! U r no longer anyone;s li’l Princess as well…!!Recommend

  • Owais Siddiqui

    lolz @ chawdry Jootaywala!Recommend

  • Syed Hussein El-Edroos

    I met a few of these types at university when I was studying there in the 1970sRecommend

  • Agha

    The son of Choudhry Jootaywala…hilarious lmaooooRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/noman.ansari Noman Ansari

    This is ‘effing brilliant!!! I laughed, nodded, and I laughed some more. You’ve got them all down, except one: Pakistanis that will only hang out with other Pakistanis on campus, and will not socialize with the “natives” beyond what they have to. Recommend

  • Aitch

    Good analysis. I soooo have ‘The Indian’ friend.Recommend

  • Master Ji

    @ Anum You fall in 1 rightRecommend

  • Maria

    Hilarious… specially #11Recommend

  • Taimoor

    Lol @ the Revolutionary!! :P Hahahhaha Girls are hot, streets r clean..m goyn to make pak like diz!! :P Hahahahha hillarious! Recommend

  • Fooz

    what about them starers? ones who come from a farmtown in Pakistan to States and havent seen malai jaisay skin wali larkiyan.. and they stare and they stare, and stareee… coz they white! and wear skimpy clothes :DRecommend

  • Naveed

    @ET….seriously I mean was this the reserve stock you rolled out just to fill in space ??. what a waste!Recommend

  • Taimoor

    Lol @ the revolutionary! :P “Girls r hot, street r clean”..I m goyn to make pakistan like this :PRecommend

  • Hassan

    Hahaha, i would be The RevolutionaryRecommend

  • hedgefunder

    we had good few of these types too, in late 70s, when i was a student, but i really do not recall any single one of them, who had sincerity to actually worry about grades or studies!!
    As i am quite sure that their parents had plenty of money!!
    The girls were really unique too, and they were renowned for their dislike for Asian guys, yet were very subtle & receptive with yanks !!! Anyway they were always classed as teasers!!!!
    But i dread to think as to what sort of lifestyle they now have in today’s pakistan !!!Recommend

  • pardesi

    You forgot the religious fanatic who thinks the cure for all the ills in the world is Islam. he will be the first to celebrate the conversion of Paris Hilton to Islam, even if the news is not true.Recommend

  • Norwegian Pakistani

    Wow, talk about large scale generalized observation!Recommend

  • dextor

    Rightly said still a lot many r missing among them…i am not in states but i have soo many students like them around me.,..most of the guys here are under number 9….we only want food everything food…we need no reason to arrange a food session for 10 peoples….Recommend

  • Le American in Pakistan

    You forgot ‘GHETTO gangsters’ these are the Pakistanis that really want to be part of ‘da hood’… saw a fair share of them in University…never thought i’d end up in THEIR country…but the food guys are the best- although their dorm rooms smell of curry and spices 24/7, they will welcome the opportunity to cook and impress the white chicks:)

    I agree with Pardesi, you did forget the religious (i wouldn’t call them fanatics, more like CHASERS) they try to convert convert convert.Some of them are really nice though and also open up their doors to feed you…the foood is sooo gooood!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • tam

    i suggest u nt to ryt more!Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam Zahra


    Yeah, this is my first article on E-Tribune. I’ve written at a couple other places though and have my own blog.Recommend

  • http://enterakt.com shobz

    LOL i can so identify with this as you will find the same people in the UK. The “Alcoholics” I met were the ones who used to drink like there was no tomorrow (Yeah the same people who used to claim earlier that they did not like alcohol.) Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam

    I grew up pretty confused, as I’ve lived in America since I was 3. This things don’t apply to me as directly. However, if I had to pick, I’d be a less extreme version of the holder and therevolutionary.Recommend

  • right on

    Quite right from a couple of different buy biased towards pakistanis..any kid coming in from a third world country can be related to this article and what about Indians? They’re not a whole lot different that whole lot differentRecommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam

    Wow! I’m surprised the ‘stereotypes’ are that old! My parents make it seem like their generation of Pak students were ideal. Guess this proves them wrong. However, your generation did do well… Excellent doctors, engineers, ext.Recommend

  • asad

    zardari’s birthday? Rounds on me!

    [email protected]!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Ali

    Another way to promote wat “nonsense”?

    Why does she not mention the religious Pakistanis that we have in almost every college? I am living in Houston TX. Author needs to get over her azaad khayali!Recommend

  • hedgefunder

    Trust me there was nothing that different except that the locals were less inclined to accept the outsiders and obviously the technology and study methods have changed too, as for the lifestyle on campus, i think its pretty much similar, as i do vist my old Uni in California every year, for our old boys day!!!
    You always have those who are there to study and others who are there to chill.Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam

    Unfortunately, or fortunately, I grew up outside of Pakistan so never got to experience the princess phenomenon. However, you’re still wrong… I’ll always be my dad’s “lil princess.” Sorry if this touched a sore spot, but most of the types above are people I’m friends with… So take a breather.Recommend

  • Saad

    Abdullah Humayun?Recommend

  • Shazeb Ali

    WOW!!!! And then there’s always a pakistani trying to be different and writing a blog just to show he/she is different :PRecommend

  • m q

    There is one more type especially among females, the “new hijabi girl on the block”.
    They are the type that only hang out with Arab girls, desperately wanna become Arab, try to say a few Arabic words here and there, are always thinking negatively about the PSA but are die hard MSA fans! They have recently started wearing hijab, after being influenced by the Arabs on campus, and many times are also seen wearing knee length kameezes on jeans. They will tell you stories of how unislamic their lives used to be and how “immodest” their dressing habits used to be before they were brought to the right path by their fellow Muslim sisters on campus!Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam Zahra

    @right on:

    Yeah, a lot of these things are also true for Arabs students, and I guess Indian students too. I just noted the Pakistanis because I spend a lot of time with them. These are supposed to be taken negatively. They are simple observations- everyone has character flaws.Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam Zahra

    @Le American in Pakistan:

    Hahaha, I haven’t really met the Ghetto Pakistanis. I go to a pretty pricey school where the international students receive less than $10k of financial aid. They are paying around 50k a year out of pocket, so they’re not really in the ghetto crowd. I wanna meet them though!

    The religious Pakistanis I’ve met are typically Pakistani-American. I haven’t met too many religious Pakistanis. I should venture out. :PRecommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam Zahra


    I’m glad I haven’t met any of the ones that act like they aren’t Pakistani. Thats lame.

    I’m a lot like the second one you mentioned. I always make friends with Pakistani, after movign on from being the Starer. :PRecommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam Zahra


    hahahahahahaha, i need to meet these people!!Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam Zahra

    @Shazeb Ali:

    hahaha, except everyone here is a pakistani writing a blog…Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com The Only Normal Person Here.

    hahahaha…You forgot the identity crises ones.Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam Zahra

    @m q:

    Whoa, I’ve met like some people sort of like that. I do hang out with a lot of Arabs and love throwing Arabic words. People often think I’m Arab too, but I love being Pakistani!Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam Zahra

    @Master Ji:

    I mentioned before, I grew up here for my entire memorable life. I’m a holder and a revolutionary… but less extreme versions.Recommend

  • http://none Bangash

    Only “The Starer” is accurate. Rest are wrong.Recommend

  • Usman

    Loved it! Really interesting and relating.Recommend

  • Dr.Rafia Javed

    Humorous Piece of Keen observation…My sis falls in category 12(The Music Major)Recommend

  • Naveed

    Your are missing one kind.

    H1B: You will find this Guy working at almost all on-campus jobs (But little you know he works illegally off campus too on the weekend). He works about 60 hours a week and has no life, but has one mission and one mission only “I will get this college thing done on my own”. Even with this kind of work load he manages to get higher grades then his peers. His friends refer to him as H1B (Work Visa). Recommend

  • Eman

    This is great. There are also those religious fanatics. And the ones who blame ‘Umreeka’ for all the problems Pakistan is facing.Recommend

  • Bile

    I love the humor! And what makes it even more funny is that it’s true!! Good one!Recommend

  • http://www.aanyafniaz.wordpress.com Aanya Niaz

    The Pakistan who moved to the US 3-4 years ago, pretends to have no relation with his/her Pakistani heritage, mimics the Amurrrican accent, takes delight in beer pong – embarrassed to attend PSL events/meetings, “like, I don’t like, speak Urdu, like uh” Oh but they are otherwise eager to call themselves Pakistani if they need a job looking for “unique, ethnic, natives of Pakistan”. HAAA! Recommend

  • Mastishhk

    @ Anam Zehra.. Considering the fact that this is ur first blog,,gr8 job done..I like your polished sense of humour. You will also be getting brickbats for this write up but don’t let that dishearten you(i knw u won’t get disheartened though). Keep writing such stuff..nice n pleasant break from the routine !!Recommend

  • Ali

    I hate it when Pakistanis or any South Asians use the term “Fresh of Boat (FOB)” for their own people. Just because they’ve lived in the states for longer makes them think that they’re special. I actually feel sad for these kids, because they really don’t fall into any category. They’re too white on the inside to be called brown, but still brown enough to not be labeled as white. Basically they only have each other, they look down on brown people and make whites their idols. I’m sorry if this sounds generalized, because I know quite a few decent and well rounded American Born Pakistanis, however the author gives me a totally different vibe.Recommend

  • Qasim

    @Anam Zahra:

    so by telling us ur at a pricy school,u just defined urself as the princess and the royal.oh im sorry?thats wasnt on purpose?:pRecommend

  • Choas A.D

    Awesome article, what a gag-fest! particularly the “revolutionary”, you nailed that type perfectly!Recommend

  • Sarah

    Haha hilarious! Some of it so trueRecommend

  • Choas A.D

    you really did miss out the Pak2Pak bluetooth connectors…they ONLY pair with their Paki peers. All other human handsets are incompatible ;)Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    That’s what a first blog should be about… Way to Go!!!Recommend

  • anonymous

    what about the kind that makes fun of pakistanis born in US who think they’re too cool to associate with fobs?
    on another note though, some of these categories are spot on at describing some of the US bred pakistanis i knowRecommend

  • Maryiam Qureshi

    OMG! Perfectly laid out the facts! I have had most of my Pakistani friends fall in either one or many of those categories.. Keep observation! Good job girl!Recommend

  • Mir Agha

    I see you got the hair straightener out.Recommend

  • Syed

    I’m Pakistani, came here to college last year. And frankly, I find your observations a bit insulting, some people just come to study and live their lives no differently than the ones they led back home. I can bear testament to that, moving abroad isn’t a “fun” experience as everyone deems it to be, it requires a certain effort on most people’s part to readjust, and to start a social life all over again. Your scathing assessment of others aside, where do you think you fit in these 13 ? :)Recommend

  • Syed

    Infact, I have a classification for your kind too !
    The liberal arts major who (if an international student) went only because an “american degree” says so much more about you than a “desi” one. Chose whatever major guaranteed acceptance and here you are. :)Recommend

  • Salman

    I can see few guys are disagreeing aggressively, I am sure they have read about the category they fit in :). Thumbs up for the article. Recommend

  • http://www.mrksmedia.com Zeeshan Rasool

    Hahaha I’m sure this is a very helpful article for our future FOB’s (fresh off the boat). Also, we have the same breed in Canada and I’m sure it’s the same around the world. No matter what, hain tou Pakistani na :DRecommend

  • http://data.babarkhan.com Babar

    I agree on some context but rest is an not rightRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/britpak Mohammed Abbasi


  • Nawab Ali Khan Khattak

    Anum keep it up good work ,but way to go . cheers Recommend

  • LayMan

    You sure did give some kids a good laugh ..

    Otherwise better luck with writing next time.Recommend

  • Raj

    They can be found at bhangra practice, distributing pamphlets for the ISA, or grabbing some langar with the Sikhs. The Indian knows no borders. This is BS, I have very good Pakistani friends, we eat, socialize and do business together. But one thing is certain Pakistanis never eat Langar at a Gurdwara.Recommend

  • pagla

    Haha dont listen to these losers…i am studying abroad and I TOTALLY relate to this… great work!Recommend

  • Jehangir N.

    @Anam Zahra:
    @right on:
    Regarding the Indians (the ones with Indian passports, not the ones with the Pakistani passport), they do have similar characteristics. But on the whole, they are overwhelmingly from the middle classes and the upper middle classes. Most are on either scholarships / loans from home and are in dead-heat competition with themselves, each other and especially the Chinese. They are an overwhelming presence on most campuses. In the last five years, they are the largest group of foreign students, surpassing even the Chinese and the Koreans. The work hard and frankly, don’t carry the complexes and ethnic baggages that Pakistanis carry. A good many of them wish to return home, because that is where they see their individual and national future. This is partly out of patriotism, but oddly, also because of cold-hearted financial considerations. The Indian market to them is the reason, why they sought higher academic qualifications in the first place. And the Indian market is the reason, that draws them back. That said, it would be very interesting to have an Indian blogger draw up a list of Indian academic stereotypes on Western / US campuses. I had two Indian classmates in my freshman year. One a Muslim and the other a Jain. The two had dietary habits that were poles apart. The Jain was a strict vegetarian and a teetotaler. The Muslim avoided pork, observed Halal, also a teetotaler. But, they totally enjoyed everything else in good measure. Especially, taking the mickey out of their fellow desis. In that sense, they were all round, equally opportunity ‘badmaash’. The Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans, all were victims of their barbs. Imran and Aniket, if are reading this fellows … hope you are doing well. We are all, a long way from home. Guess, that experience would classify me as ‘Indian’ and ‘homesick’ on Anam’s scale. Good article. Keep writing.Recommend

  • guria

    lol funny article Recommend

  • Maria

    Funny write up. I can attest to meeting some of these types in College. You forget to mention that the Pakistani guy or gal who passes for a European and blends in fully but then reveals himself as a typical Pakistani Paindu when you were never expecting it! As for the “Indian” who forgets about 1947 and the 2 nation theory, I find that this guy is invariably someone who has have of family in India and only part of his family migrated to Pakistan so he tries to fit into both camps at College! It was never one of us so called “native” Pakistanis. Keep up the good work with your writing!Recommend

  • Londoner

    LMFAO. hahahahhaa. This has got me all confused :P :P Its like I am a different guy from the list everyday :D :DRecommend

  • Lazzy desi

    lol funny !!!!… u still missing sme Typical lazzy desii Livin in america Categoriess… Recommend

  • http://www.navajotraders.com Rafay

    What about the Pakistanis born in America who are NUTS about cricket? They wear cricket player shirts and are super proud of representing the land of the pure! They play cricket every chance they get and talk about it like we all know what the heck it is. I was born & raised in the US and have a lot of Pakistani influence in my life, but I guess I’m too “American” to get into cricket.Recommend

  • uoft

    hahahah hilarious, i think i’ve meet every kind you’ve mentioned during my university time. so true.Recommend

  • mmk

    Horrible article.
    Not looking forward to reading your next.
    Did you have a lack of content? it seems like it. Recommend

  • Sidra Ayub

    This was a good read and sure we all know Pakistani men like that at our universities. But, it’s funny how you’ve pointed all those who end up looking like hypocrites or making a joke of themselves. You missed out on those who actually promote and defend Pakistan by shutting those around them who have nothing but completely condescending views about Pakistan. These are the Pakistanis who haven’t yet lost hope and respect their country and support their people. Maybe you could call such a kind “The Defender” or “‘The Proud-ie”.
    Just an observation.Recommend

  • Zohaib Khan

    So basically what you mean to say is that we have to fit someone into these stereotypes??Recommend

  • xcess

    Excellent article and brilliant deduction. A must read for all the high school / metric / some level graduates waiting anxiously to catch the next flight out. Its an eye opener for all others who never got the chance to experience the ‘college life’ of America. Read and weep fellas.Recommend

  • AuthenticBilla

    funny stuff !!!
    well you also forgot those kids who are of Pakistani Origin and spend all there life in some middle eastern country … and when they come to States they present themselves to be an Arab … as if that’s better than being Pakistani … or is it ?Recommend

  • AH

    This should be a compulsory guide for all international students, not just Pakistanis. It would save them from possible shock, disbelief, anger and utter disappointment. Recommend

  • Spo

    This is a horrible article. Most people commenting here do actually fall under one of the categories including the author. Recommend

  • M

    A really sad article by an immature person. The author of the article has not grown up yet. She should wait until she matures before becoming a writer. Recommend

  • Meez

    A silly piece of writing. Perhaps the author can categorize the Americans in the universities too. For some strange reason, its only the Pakistanis criticizing fellow Pakistanis like the author. This is sad and shameful for us Pakistanis. Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam


    Hey Ali,

    FOB is used very light-heartedly. A lot of us (people who grew up here) call each other FOBs. Its just used when you don’t do something thats the norm. And I’d like to disagree- “new immigrants” do very well making friends and the likes. The come from money and don’t have a problem almost buying their friends. And this article was about people from Pakistan who come here to study, not American borns.Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam

    No, I was raised in America (Does that make me the Pennsylvania? No.) so these things don’t apply as directly to me. I’m just saying that the type of Pakistanis I go to school with are quite privileged, usually coming from KGS, Aitch, LAS, LGS, ext. so it’s a different crowd than what most people were talking about. Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam

    @Mir Agha:
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. best comment ever. and yes, yes i did.Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam


    Hey, like I said earlier (first sentence maybe) that some people may not fall into any. I’m US raised, so many of these categories don’t apply as directly. However, raised in a very conservative Paki culture at home, I’d say the holder or the revolutionary.Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam


    LOL, except I’m not an intl student and my school is one of the best in the world for the major I’m pursuing. Better luck next time?Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam


    That’s interesting, because I’m not The Indian at all, and a lot of my friends and I went to Langar. It was held at the University, not Gurdwara though.Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam

    @Sidra Ayub:
    Sidra, you’re right, those people do exist. However, I feel like all the Pakistanis above (except Pennsylvania) have that characteristic. Pakistanis coming abroad will defend Pakistan to the last nail, and thats what makes them so awesome!Recommend

  • http://anamzahra.wordpress.com Anam

    @Zohaib Khan:
    Not at all. Reread the first and last sentence of the article. Recommend

  • Hassan Khan

    we appreciate ur article kid :)Recommend

  • http://www.accidentallyhuman.com Sanya Shiraz

    Haha good job. It made me laugh. Lol.
    P.S People who’re complaining need to get over it and embrace the fact that this is a BLOG.Recommend

  • Mehar

    What about the ones who instantly assume that they’re goras?Recommend