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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 23| June 6, 2010|


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Distant Diary

Walking through a different lane

Nabila Choudhury

JOSEPH Addison once said, "Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate, no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament. It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage." He was right. For many of us education remains to be the only dream. In follow up to this dream, many students travel every year, and leave families and friends behind for education abroad. Their journey leads them a complete new life, with complete new circumstances that they are often may not be aware of. And there begins a new journey compiled of many new things. From my personal experience as it relates to friends and associates, I can tell that moving abroad can be difficult and full of obstacles. Students who leave families behind and travel all alone are probably the worse victims in this scenario. With no close acquaintance, job, or shelter, they are often faced with many hardships.

Students living here lead quite a challenging life. From this young age, they are forced to take strict responsibilities and not just attend school or spend their time with books. There is barely any time for recreation, as full-time jobs fills the hours when school and books are away. Perhaps a thousand things cross their mind? "Will I fit in? Will they Like me? Can I make new friends?" At first, students find it very difficult to sink in. They feel lonely and isolated. Always being around bengali acquaintance, and speaking bangla with friends, their accent in English becomes their enemy as they are surrounded by a diverse group of people from all around the world. Obviously, there are students coming with perfect communication skills in English, as they have attended English medium schools in Bangladesh like I did, but there is another half who come with weak communication skills in English. For them, at the start language becomes a huge problem, as they strive with ESL (English second language) classes and trying to pass them.

Coming from Bangladesh, or even other countries I am confident to say that most people face the weather challenges here and may find it hectic. The temperature during the months starting from December and ongoing January-March can be pretty harsh. The minus temperatures or reaching zero forces the citizens to dress warm, very warm, what may almost feels like walking out in blankets sometimes. Coming from a warm country like Bangladesh, the new students as they refer it to be, "FROZEN," does not enjoy the new weather changes very much.

One of my best friends whom I have known from my kindergarten days just joined a University in Kansas the past year. She left her parents, an older sister and many friends behind, and made the first and most important priority her education, as she traveled alone with a student visa. She was only allowed to work in the school campus which limited her spending and income. Because of a student visa, she was unable to find a job elsewhere and the hours offered in the school campus were not sufficient. Moreover, food is a big problem. The cafeteria for the dorm closes everyday at five pm and after that students are responsible to store snacks, bagels, or packs of chips. Many of these students, spent many nights starved without a solid dinner. After all, how many days and months can one survive in pizza, burgers, or taken out food like thai food? It gets boring and tasteless after a while. What students living abroad probably misses the most is the home-cooked biryani or beef prepared by their mothers. Food is a major problem for many of these students traveling abroad.

During my personal under-grad experience, I met many students who lived all by themselves without their family. These students had full-time jobs, as they maintained attending school full-time too It is quite a challenge to maintain being both a full-time student and a full-time employer. It enabled them very limited time for assignments and study time in preparation for exams. However, looking at the bright side I can say that this strict routine prepared them well for the real world as they have well enhanced it for years. As a result, they will be more practical and appear way more experienced in job and work criteria in their resume than any other.

Lastly, the time of holidays such as Eid-ul-Fitr and the month of Ramadan must be a time when students are constantly reminded of happy times from the past that was spent with family and friends. For many of them it turns out to be just any other ordinary day, as they leave for work or school, which is actually a escape from the celebration. I'm personally proud of all the sacrifices that these youngsters put up with, for the sake of a better education. I am proud of their sincerity and courage as they prepare very hard for their future. You see, in the end, they are the true winners.

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