Pakistan bought a steel mill from the Soviet Union. Under the purchase agreement, USSR was to train a certain number of people in Metallurgical Engineering.
Pakistan Steel Mill advertised a free engineering scholarship to study in Russia. Initially, they were looking to only send 15 students. They received 1500 applications. From those they narrowed the selection down to 100 students based upon their last grades. The they interviewed those 100 to select 15 boys. I was one of the lucky ones to be selected.
Here is a picture of us just before we left Pakistan. It includes a representative from the Soviet Consulate as well as some officials from Pakistan Steel Mills.
We arrived in Moscow in August, 1971. From there we went by train to Leningrad for a year. In Leningrad we studied the Russian language at the Podgotivitelnii Fakultet, which transalates to "Preparatory Faculty". Here we studied not only Russian, but basic physics, chemistry and mathematics in Russian so that we could become familiar with the technical terms in the Russian language. We were expected, at the end of the year, to attend a Russian college and be able to understand and take notes at a lecture.
This is a picture immediately after our graduation from the Podgotovitelnii Fakultet. Compare it to the picture above, which was taken a year ago. You'll agree there is a marked change.
I have to apologize for the quality of most of these photos. Several of us got into photography as a hobby. We even bought the equipment to develop and print our own film. However, developing and printing color photos was not within our capabilities, so we took a lot of black and white photos. Many of my photographs got water-damaged over the years in storage.
History of Leningrad
The Russians organized many activities during the year in Leningrad. Some of these activities were to enlighten us about Russian culture and history. There were many trips to museums and historic sights. There were other activities where the foreign students were able to put on demonstrations of their culture for the benefit of the Russians as well as for the other foreign students.
Many of these activities took place in a beautiful building called "Dom Druzhby", which means "House of Friendship". Following are some photos taken inside and around "Dom Druzhby".
We lived and studied in the same building. It was a 5-storey building. The first two floors were where we attended classes and we lived in the top 3 floors.
The following photos are taken in front of and around the Podgotovitelnii Fakultet.
These are some photos of the Pakistani students around Leningrad.
One of the activities organized by the Podgotovitelnii Fakultet was a costume party. Here are some pictures from thet.
Some photos inside the dorm.
Cooking in the common kitchen one each floor.
Celebrating of the student's (Kaiser's) birthday
Reading a letter from home
Following are some photos taken using the self-timer. They were taken just to experiment with the camera and the processing, but somehow they survived.
Two photos of myself taken at a professional photo studio
One of our Russian language teachers with a few of the Pakistani students.
A photo taken at the Zimnii Dvoretz (Winter Palace), about an hour away from Leningrad.
Somewhere in the woods around Leningrad.
And now, off to Moscow!