Why it Matters: Maaz Shahzad, Law (2017)

‘I would like to express gratitude on behalf of myself and my peers for the transformative impact of donors’, and in particular alumni, generosity. In order to truly convey my appreciation, I would like to tell you a bit about myself.’

I was born in Pakistan in 1999. The first few years of my life were spent between my mother’s village, whose only source of water was a well dug by my grandfather, and my father’s city, which is home to my earliest memory – of falling into an open sewer. Upon moving to the UK, I had three things drilled into me from a young age: education, education and education. I was made aware that education would be my passport out of the life in which I grew up, my opportunity to see beyond living in cramped conditions with extended family or council accommodation. Life had always been about surviving, and maybe with a decent education, I could survive better. Thus, I utilised what I share with so many other Cambridge Bursary recipients: a bit of talent, a lot of luck and inexhaustible determination. In 2017 I received my offer to read Law at Trinity College.

Arriving at Cambridge, I learnt that there was so much more to experience beyond the lecture theatres and libraries. I stopped fixating on survival and started considering how to seize every opportunity. With the help of the Bursary, for the first time in my life, I was no longer restricted in what I could eat, do or experience. I was able immerse myself in everything that College and the wider University had to offer. From Union talks and high-level sports to the Varsity trip, I no longer felt limited or excluded. What’s more, I was able to comfortably arrange frequent travel to London to attend a myriad of open days, interviews and assessment centres. In the absence of financial struggle, I was able to fully explore my future prospects. I have now been fortunate enough to receive an offer to train with an international law firm, where I hope to work on international infrastructure projects and sustainable development. Whilst education was a passport out of my situation, the Bursary was the key to broadening my horizons.

I hope to make the most of this opportunity and my Cambridge education. I aspire to help my family, work to improve infrastructure internationally, and emulate your generosity to fund students like me.

Thank you,

Maaz Shahzad, Law (2017)