pixel In her own words: Kanza Shafiq | Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

In her own words: Kanza Shafiq

Kanza Shafiq is from Pakistan and her dream is to become a doctor


"Like any medical student, I can only be sensitive to human misfortune; to that which affects an entire people and many others around the world. 

I will tell you my story and that of other medical students around the world who seek to fulfil a dream, which is this of caring for others. When the first bombing alerts sounded, it was difficult to understand what was happening, and to face reality head on - hence the difficulty in imagining that I would have to leave.  

I stayed for a fortnight after the beginning of hostilities - it wasn't easy to get out, but you never know what's going to happen and my family was getting more and more worried. Until the food also started to run out.  

At the time, the fact that the university was no longer giving any indication and had closed its doors seemed to mean the end of my dream of practicing medicine. I still thought of trying to return to Pakistan, but then the doors of medicine would also be closed to me.  

In such times of adversity, one has no choice but to look forward, even without knowing where to go, and always bear in mind that one may find the best and the worst.  

I tried to find a solution for myself in Hungary, but in Budapest I was not offered any option. I went on to Madrid, where the process also went on for long weeks, months. Until I heard about the opportunity there was in Lisbon for international students who were enrolled in university in Ukraine. That's when it seemed there was an opportunity to be accepted. And I came here.  

I didn't know anyone, I had to get accommodation, documents so that I could have a legal framework and start my life here again - I won't say it was easy, but I never gave up, not even to open a bank account.  

I told my story to all the people who were sensitive to the difficulty of our situation. That's how I was able to make contacts that helped me get back to living as normal a life as possible. When I finally managed to get the temporary refugee status, I applied to all the universities I could, and of all those I saw, the medical university of NOVA was the one that caught my attention the most. I had the impression that it was something totally unreachable. But nothing is unattainable to those who take the trouble to pursue their goals. Thank you, NOVA!"