Photo: Ranak Martin
Over the past few years and even long before that, students from all over the globe (Europe, America, Nepal, Bhutan, Philippines and several other South East Asian countries) have been coming to Bangladesh to seek education. These students mainly aim to enter at the undergraduate level in several esteemed universities like the University of Dhaka, Dhaka Medical College and Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology.
However, in the recent few years due to the flourishing growth of private universities more foreign students got the opportunity to pursue their higher education in Bangladesh. These foreign faces are spotted in universities like NSU, AIUB, EWU, IUB and Bangladesh Medical College and many other private and public universities.
Foreign students' lively presence in AIUB
Nur Wahida Zuchrifah
IT was on last Sunday, 6 June, when we had six lively students from the land of Uncle Sam (i.e. USA ) among us. We were deeply engrossed in our regular class of Professional English with group tasks when a group of white men and women entered our classroom. However, that wasn't a surprise for us as our course teacher Faheem sir had informed us earlier about their presence in Dhaka . These young university students Hilary, Rian, Jack, Heather, Michael and Trent from Colorado and Kansas had come to this country on a cultural exchange program. And the person who has been managing their Bangladesh program is Mr. Zachary J. Meese, popularly known as Zach, a bubbly 'almost-Bangladeshi' American, working in Dhaka as an educational consultant.
Anyway, we had in fact prepared ourselves to welcome them whom we usually call as 'foreigners', though they later convinced us that they were not one of those typical outsiders. But our real surprise started after they had entered the classroom. The whole atmosphere changed. Those who were talking closed their mouths, those who were writing dropped their pens, and all attention poured down on those newcomers (it's just me being too dramatic). What I did, however, was to observe them (especially the guys, lol) while they came in. Thank you God for creating such wonderful creatures! They finally set themselves comfortably in front of the class. The amazing interaction was initiated when our charismatic friend from Turkey Muhamed Atmaca took over the microphone and started his spontaneously humorous speech.
The World Cup, which has already kicked off, acted as the main subject to unite all in the classroom, including AIUBians of Turkish, Iranian and Indonesian origins. I could apprehend how football unites the world. Besides being supporters of their American team, they were divided into Brazil and Argentina which made our Faheem sir explain how Bangladeshis have been 'craze-clad' with only these two teams during the World Cup, as if no other teams ever exist in this competition! While our American guests wondered about the origin of 'Argentine craze' in Bangladesh , we told them about Maradona's influence since his 'Hand of God goal' and 'The Goal of the Century' in 1986.
The two girls, who were in Salwar-Kamiz, told how they have already appreciating the Bangladeshi traditions and have been looking forward toward wearing Sari. My female classmates will happily take this responsibility, I am sure.
Around 20 minutes before the bell rang, we were divided into small groups with one American in each. This mediated us to interact more intimately. What not did we talk on! May be I will tell you later about those. But let me tell you secretly, they are coming to our campus after 17th and will spend almost a week among AIUB students and with different clubs, taking part in lot of cultural and co-curricular activities. What amazing fun that will be, isn't so? Anyway, it was an incredible experience for us to meet new acquaintances from the land of Uncle Sam .
(The writer is an Indonesian student of English Department at AIUB pursuing her Major in Linguistics)
Foreign Students at IUB
FOLLOWING the philosophy on which the University is founded: the best of both the worlds, IUB has tied up with some of the world's best universities and institutions to provide an academic environment relevant to the contemporary world. IUB has established collaborative arrangements in research, faculty and student exchange and curriculum development with a number of foreign universities and institutions including Harvard, McMaster, Stanford, Brown, the University of Colorado, Hamline University, the Higher Education Consortium of Urban Affairs (HECUA) in Minnesota, Middlesex University in UK, Pokhara University, Nepal, Can Tho University, Vietnam.
There has been a steady flow of international students and visiting scholars to its campus. IUB's pioneering program, Live-in-Field Experience (LFE), where students get a distinctive opportunity to learn about rural life, complement the unique course, National Culture and Heritage, a comprehensive study of the history, society and culture of Bangladesh.
These programs have received acclamation from home and abroad. IUB has been successfully hosting study-abroad programs for cohort of foreign students on a regular basis in partnership with top tier universities of USA such as Harvard, Vermont, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, USA and Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs. In fact, IUB is the first private university in Bangladesh which has hosted the highest number of international students and top scholars from across the world.
Besides, the university has recently established a constituent Bangla Language Institute (BLI) which will conduct Bangla Language Teaching program for students from anywhere around the world throughout the year and cater to the requirement of peace corps, Fulbright critical language enhancement award, Fulbright language teaching assistant , Foreign language studies and short course for NGOs and members of the diplomatic corps. Meanwhile it has an ongoing summer Bangla language teaching program for students from American Universities conducted by Bangla Summer Institute (BSI) in association with Council of American Overseas Research Centers.
· Currently, (from June 6, 2010) IUB is hosting 15 students from various states of United States of America to its Bangla Summer Institute. This is the fifth batch of the programme where students came from various reputed universities of The United States.
There are three calibers of students in this batch such as, 12 students are in the elementary level, two of intermediate and one of advanced level to whom, the instructors are providing lessons. The students are of various backgrounds; from universities such as, George Mason University, Georgetown University, Lehigh University, University of Illinois and many more.
· At present there are 12 foreign students studying at undergraduate level at IUB. The students are of different nationalities, such as Palestine, Chinese and Nepalese.
Photo: Ranak Martin
Foreign Students in Dhaka University
Md. Naibur Rahman Upol
HAVE you ever seen a game between the football team of Bangladesh and rest of the World? I guess the answer is no. But for me and the students of University of Dhaka, it is quite a common scenario. The members of the teams or hybrid teams may not have inherited the soil of this country but they all found their seats in some great academic institutions of high echelon. Yes, I am talking about the foreign students who reside in Sir P J Hartog International Hall.
Nazir Imran, A final year student of Department of Pharmacy, University of Dhaka, came to Bangladesh from Birganj, Nepal with an ambition of fulfilling his dream. “I always had a dream of exploring education from different corners,” he said. Nazir seemed very content about the facilities they are getting in the International Hall. The international hall not only offered him to meet some other Nepalese but their local relatives also.
Though Sir P J Hartog International Hall is situated in DU campus area, but this hall is affiliated with Dhaka Medical College, Sir Salimullah Medical College, BSMMU, Dhaka Dental College etc. According to Dr. Nazrul Islam, provost of International Hall, “Students are always preferred than teachers affiliated with various departments or institutions to get a seat. Obviously foreign DU students are the first preference.”
Kaiser, A student of Salimullah Medical College residing in International Hall, from Pakistan, thinks five years is more than enough to consider Bangladesh as “home”. In his point of view, the best parts of Bangladesh are Salimullah Medical College, International Hall and Cox's Bazar. “Whenever the home sickness seems severe, I always try to visit some places and that's how I have already seen some various districts of Bangladesh such as Comilla, Rajshahi, Cox's Bazar, with my Bengali friends” he said.
He felt very connected with Bangladeshi people which made him morally obliged to visit Nimtoli.
Md. Rais, a first year student of Dhaka Medical College who came from Malaysia, is very attracted to the Bengali culture. He was delighted after watching the celebration of Pahela Baishakh. He finds Pahela Baishakh synonymic to the word “Colourful”. Agreeing with Kaiser, Rais praised the Medical education system of Bangladesh. “I was offered from some medical colleges of Egypt but I preferred Bangladesh for its medical syllabus especially in the PG level.”
Dr. Parmeshwar Sah came again to Bangladesh to take his MS degree in urology from BSMMU, better known as PG hospital. He first came to Bangladesh to take his MBBS degree from Mymensingh Medical College in 1996.
Dr.Abul Hasnat, a British-Bengali student of DMC, is very grateful to the Home Ministry for amending the act and allowing the 3rd and 4th generation of people living in England to come again to Bangladesh. He said, “The medical education system of Bangladesh is helping us to be enlisted in the worldwide competitive education system.”
All the students from Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Somalia, Iraq, Palestine and others shared a common statement about the facilities they are getting here. They all are concerned about the effort the authority specially the Provost is providing. One name which seemed to be very popular is that of Syed Hasan, office assistant of the International Hall. He is the other name of relief for the foreign students. I was astonished to watch a man communicating with Palestine students in their languages and then after with a Nepalese in the language of Nepal.
No matter how much we abuse our education system, it will not change until we adjust something new. The brand value of Bangladesh's education system is still very high which allures a good number of foreign students every year. I hope and wish policymakers would be more concerned than ever.
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