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Meet Joveria: masters student, second generation immigrant, and Konexio’s Spring Intern!


Joveria joined the International team this January as Konexio’s Development and Communications Intern. She currently lives in Bologna, where she is pursuing a Master’s in International Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Beyond her studies, she is passionate about her family and proud of her Pakistani background. Joveria draws connections between her parents’ experience of starting over in the US and Konexio’s students, who seek re-skilling to establish a livelihood in a new country.


We had a conversation with Joveria to learn more about her academic and professional journeys.


This interview with Joveria has been lightly edited for clarity and length.


Please tell us a bit about you. What is your current position and what was your journey before Konexio?


My name is Joveria and I am Konexio's new International Development intern. I was born in Pakistan and I went to the US when I was quite young. I lived in the DC area for most of my life. I was on the pre-medical path for the majority of my time in undergrad. I did my degree in public health, but I've always been interested in international affairs. Once the pandemic hit when I graduated in 2020, I began self-reflecting on my career path and decided not to go to medical school. For the next few years I was a communications consultant and I worked on social media posts and newsletters. One of my clients recommended that I apply to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and I am now doing a master's in international relations with one year in Bologna and one in DC. 



What inspired you to apply for Konexio?


What inspired me to apply to the internship at Konexio was the mission statement. As a child of immigrants, I very much appreciate their focus on providing very relevant and important skills to vulnerable populations, especially women. When my dad first moved to the US, he struggled to find a job because English was not his first language. I imagine that if he had access to Konexio's programs, he would have had a much easier transition. 



Looking ahead, how do you envision this experience shaping your career path?


Well one, I think being an intern while in grad school is obviously something I've never experienced before, so I think it'll really push me to balance and manage my time well. And because I don't really have an international relations background, the exposure is going to be new and this type of communications work is going to be different. Also, prospecting for funding is a unique process that I’ve never had exposure to from a non-profit point of view. I think that it'll help me develop new research skills. I’m sure this internship is going to be a very positive influence to my career path.



What is one trait that was common throughout your academic and professional career?


I would say perseverance, as cheesy as it sounds, just because being pre-med was really hard course-wise. I had to accept that I'm not going to be a straight A student, and then when I decided to switch, I had to go through the process of telling my parents that I'm not going to be a doctor anymore. But I persevered through their reaction. Then graduating during the pandemic having to find a job was tough. So I have come up against a lot of obstacles and turned out okay.



You moved to Bologna last year to start this master’s program. How does it compare to home? 


The obvious difference is that it's very European, very Italian compared to DC. And I think what I miss the most is the architecture, but also Bologna has beautiful sidewalks. I also think the cultural difference between the students is unique. When University of Bologna students graduate, you see everyone in their crowns and there is confetti everywhere. Versus back in the States, we have a very structured graduation program and you have a gown and a cap. 


​Something that I don't miss from back home is having to drive somewhere for a few hours to be in a very different city with a very different culture. Here, you can hop on a train and be in a unique location. For example, Parma is just an hour by train from Bologna, and it feels very different. Its known for parma ham and parmesan, and Bologna is known for being an important student center. Back in the States, I drive four hours and I'm still in Virginia [laughs].



Living abroad, how do you stay connected with friends and family back home? 


It's really difficult. Right before this interview, I was replying to a friend’s voice memo which she sent to me in early January. It’s just really difficult because of the time difference. I stay in contact with my parents because they call me, so that kind of forces me to talk to them. It's really difficult with my friends also because we all have our own busy lives. I don't think I'm ever going to adapt, but I think all my loved ones and friends understand. 

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