How HU TOPS Changed My Life

As I sit down on one of the empty benches outside the Engelska Parken campus of Uppsala University in Sweden, with a chilly breeze, empty tree branches, and a ground full of crisp yellow autumn leaves around me, I cannot help but remember the very first time I visited Habib University.

To be honest, I was not so happy that day, visiting the fanciest campus of any university I’d ever seen, and thinking about how I could never afford to study there. Even with the best grades, the thought seemed like a distant dream. But things change, and your hard work pays off, one way or the other – it did in my case.

In 2016, I was granted the opportunity of enrolling myself at Habib University on a 100% scholarship through its HU TOPS program. Choosing this over other established university admission offers seemed quite risky at the time to friends and family. But what is life worth if not for decisions that surprise you? This reminds me of when we would often hear, dar k aagay jeet he (there’s victory beyond fear).

The same year was also one of the toughest years of my life. I was preparing for my final year exams of the first semester when I lost my father to Leukemia, which left our family struggling with loss, trauma, and financial crises. I remember my instructors offering condolences, easing my deadlines for me, and being extremely supportive during that difficult time. I realized then that I did not just choose a university for myself, but a community, that would be there for you, in whatever way they could.

Four years later, I became one of the first graduates through the HU TOPS program and I can safely say it was the best decision of my life. It turned my life around for the better.

A year into the program, I presented HU TOPS at Merit’n’Merit (Nazimabad branch) at the request of my mentor Safi Ahmad Zakai. Through that session, another student like me got the chance to study at a 100% scholarship at the best university in Pakistan.

I would keep on writing about my 4-year journey at Habib University in this blog and how my time was studying there, from the course selection to the degree structures, from the work-study opportunities to the benefits of a liberal arts education, to the global exposure at Habib University that granted me this 100% scholarship at Uppsala University.

If you’re a student from a local board, have big dreams, and want to change your life, apply to HU TOPS. I am currently pursuing my master’s on a scholarship. I want to thank Habib University for getting me to where I am today, and I feel indebted to the institution for everything it has provided me with. I want to express my gratitude to Habib, its flagship HU TOPS program and the generous Mohsineen.

With that, I hope this piece of writing benefits a student, a family, and a generation.

This blog was written by Ubaid Ali Faruqi, a Computer Science alumnus from the Class of 2020.


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