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Education UK fair
An insider's view

When I first signed up for the Education UK Fair in Chittagong, as a Student Helper, I had no idea what lay ahead in store for me. We were a handpicked team, consisting of around 24/25 Student helpers, out of which 18 of us were assigned to work in the main stalls, and the rest of us were assigned various other miscellaneous duties. Luckily I was one of them ones who were assigned to the stalls. .

The pre fair work constituted of attending two orientation programmes, which were organized and led by Mr. Ahad (Education promotion, British Council). We had to follow lectures of the various entry requirements, FAQs, and information about individual colleges and universities that were arriving.

By the time the second Orientation program was finished, a few of the many unknown faces had become familiar with me. It was as if we were united; I was sitting in the third row, and the constant giggling that our row did kind of helped in bringing us together as a group. We met as strangers, but parted as friends, making our way back to our normal lives' routines, and waiting impatiently for the fair to begin. On the 14th we went to Hotel Agrabad (all the helpers) and the 25 of us prepared around 3000 goodie bags from the British Council, in about three hours.

We sat together, working in groups; conversation, jokes and laughter flowed freely, and I was sad when the evening concluded after a short briefing about what we were expected to do the following day. Did I mention that we also decorated our individual stalls?

The next two days went past in a blur. Once the fair started, the first customers I encountered were the Directors from my school (NOT a pleasant experience when you're bunking school and being 'supposedly sick'). For the next two days faces came and faces went; there were so many customers that I lost count of exactly how many times I explained the exactly same thing to different people. It's a wonder I can still talk.

We had prepared around 3000 goodie bags, but ALL were finished during the pre lunch session of the second day of the fair. What was amazing was the fact that amongst the 3000 people who did come, only around 50 constituted of English medium students, the rest were Bengali medium.

I loved working there, especially with so many Student Helpers of a wide age range. Few things will always remain in my mind: one Student helper Ishita mentioning "We're like 'cows'… we keep getting herded from one place to another!" and my delegates always exclaiming "Jennifer, Jennifer! Go take a break! Go have fun with your friends. Go! Go!" (I wish all bosses were like this!).

By Jennifer Ashraf

Lost in the City with
Edward P Jones

"…long before I learned to be ashamed of my mother…" the words, uttered in a deep, rich voice made this reporter stop in her tracks as she tiptoed into the room, ten minutes late for the event. The speaker was none other than the 2004 Pulitzer winner Edward P Jones, and he held the small audience spellbound as he read an excerpt from a short story from his prizewinning collection Lost in the City.

Edward P. Jones was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award and recipient of the Lannan Foundation Grant, Jones was educated at Holy Cross College and the University of Virginia. His first book, Lost in the City was originally published by William Morrow in 1992 and short-listed for the National Book Award. Mr. Jones was named a National Book Award finalist for a second time with the publication of his debut novel The Known World which subsequently won the prestigious 2004 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

On Friday, March 18, the American Center hosted a 'Literature Evening' with this literary heavyweight at the American International School, Dhaka, in Baridhara. Teachers and studies of Literature from various schools formed the bulk of the audience.

Mr. Jones read us a short story, then proceeded to answer questions related to his books, his literary career, and even shared insights about the writing process itself. Many a budding writer gained useful tips, while teachers also gleaned useful information on guiding and encouraging their students. It was definitely an evening Literature buffs won't forget in a hurry.

NB: The American Center Library is now open for circulation. Patrons may use the library for browsing, research, Internet access, video viewing or language study with their audio tapes. Most materials can be borrowed for a two-week period; speak to the Library staff for information on membership.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Real life Rising Star
Living and breathing music

“I need music 24 hours--whether I sing, write or listen to it. My songs in my forthcoming CD Astitiya reflect my life when I was going through adolescence. They also capture moments of the present," says Laura, 20, a singer of Bangla rock, soft rock, alternative and keyboard player. In 2002 she also sang for the CD Bangladesh, titled after the group with the same name.

However, she has to walk a tightrope with her studies. Soon to begin classes in North South University, she calls her music "a big hobby."

What's unique about her music is that she composes most of her own songs. She has written songs with her father, Omar Khalid Rumi. These are Amar mon, Boye jay and Ichhe Korey. Both father and daughter perform with the band Bangladesh. While Laura sings, her father is the lead guitarist and lead vocalist with the group.

Laura was all of 15 when she composed Ichhey Korey. In fact writing came naturally for her--at the tender age of seven, she used to write poetry "When other people played computer games, I just used to write," asserts Laura.

Who are her role models? First, she cites her father as an inspiration. Besides, she is an avid listener of Mark Knopfler, Shania Twain and Sheryl Crow.

Along with the band Bangladesh, Laura and her father have performed at venues such as Sonargaon hotel, the Indian High Commission, Alliance Francaise, AIUB, Fantasy Kingdom (Ashulia), Army Stadium, Privilege club, and many private shows.

Talking about the popular response to her music, she says, " The music sense and choices of our generation are different from those of the person on the street. School and university going students understand music a lot better than the masses."

Laura began her music career by playing drums. As she says, "At that stage, I never thought of becoming a singer or keyboard player. I picked up drumming in a day. According to my father, I always had a beat sense." Her debut --and only time-- as a drummer was at the AIUB in 1998. Later she began to focus on singing and playing the keyboard.

There are, however, hurdles along the way. One is balancing singing with studies. Then there is the changing taste of the listeners to reckon with.

As she says, "Sometimes you give the audience a song which they like today; tomorrow they may not like it. Sometimes it is difficult because I am a girl on stage. There could be thousands of people looking at you and making comments or even screaming. Once I felt like going off the stage and catching one of the people."

By Kavita Charanji

Step Up
Intro to technology and management and CIMA

The International Institute of Technology & Management (IITM) offers a distinctive educational perspective in Bangladesh. They believe that application focused learning is the best avenue for student growth; therefore, they invite industry practitioners to participate in running some courses for students. Students not only gain practical knowledge but also achieve necessary industry linkages.

CIMA Program IITM's flagship is its Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) program. CIMA is a globally recognized professional certification from UK and has members and students in 156 countries with 11 offices worldwide. CIMA has over 73,000 registered students worldwide at any given time. Over 30,000 companies receive CIMA training and CIMA has approximately 2500 internship scheme members.

The CIMA qualification is particularly valuable to both employers and students alike. CIMA is a viable alternative to local BBA or MBA. It is universally recognized as being the qualification that provides students with commercially relevant expertise across many management accounting functions. The CIMA certification is of true global.

A student has to complete 15 courses for CIMA Certification. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) and Institute of Cost and Management Accountants (ICMAB) graduates also receive some exemptions.

Anyone looking for more information regarding admission in CIMA can contact its office, whose location is given at the end.
Corporate Trainings & Consulting IITM train individuals to develop skills, continuously exploit technology in response to changing demands of the competitive business environment and use the accumulated learning for productive use. They offer a wide range of career oriented diplomas at various times of the year.

IITM makes new inroads in the world of Professional Education.
IITM establishes partnership with CIMA Global, UK (www.cimaglobal.com). for the 1st time in Bangladesh Through our affiliation, students of Bangladesh will now have added opportunity to receive dedicated local tuition support from IITM at affordable cost. Students can also avail transfer opportunities to international universities through IITM www.iitmbd.org

By Taskin Rahman

UCAS Application

I'm crossing my fingers in the hope that you have at least completed your necessary primary research of universities! Now that the first step is complete, second is the 'Application' itself and obtaining an UCAS Application Form. You can go to the www.ucas.com web-site, and request one by submitting your contact details. However if you are really pressed for time, drop into one of the British Council branches, and ask for one from them.

Be it from the British Council or from the UCAS web-site, in the end, you'll receive two things: the UCAS application form, and a booklet called 'Advice for Applicants'. Remember to read through this leaflet extremely carefully, as it contains crucial information about how to fill in the application form. Start with the basics, i.e. your title, name and address. ALWAYS provide an address where mail is guaranteed to reach you!

Remember the six universities I asked you to choose? This is where they come in. each university will have an UCAS code, which you find by browsing the official UCAS website. Remember to also note down your course/ subject code, and include that along with your university choices. The second page is reserved for your exam results, i.e. all the official examinations you have ever sat for, along with their results.

The hard part comes in Page 3 this is where you get to list your work experience, and then your 'Personal Statement'. Although for some the prospect of writing one is exciting, others may view it as an earth-shattering challenge. If you fall in the latter category, I recommend signing up with ESSAY SOS at essay_sos @ yahoo.com. They can help you immensely with your personal statement, and maybe even write it for you, incorporating your ideas into an outstanding statement. Your Personal Statement is the MOST important part of your application, as this is the only chance you get to allow the university to look at your as an individual, a living person…instead of one of the few thousand students who are competing for places at their institution!

Once all the three pages are done, your work is all done. Almost. The 4th and last page is for your recommendation. For this purpose you can go to someone, preferably your principal/ high school teacher, who knows you well enough to write your recommendation for you. Additionally, please note that you'll have to pay a fee of 16 Pounds to UCAS (in the form of a Bank Draft).

Do this all and then send your application off to the UCAS address, which will be given in the Advice for Applicants booklet. Till next week, Ciao!

By Jennifer Ashraf


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