By Clara Snyder | Staff Writer
Syed Mahedi Hasan — Khulna, Bangladesh, doctoral candidate — arrived at Baylor in the fall of 2019. At that time, there were about eight Bangladeshi students at Baylor and the Bangladeshi Student Association hadn’t yet been formed, Hasan said.
“It was very hard for people to find us, so that is why we created this association,” Hasan said. “It was very tough for one person to answer all these questions … We created a group so that new students can ask questions.”
Almost two years later, Hasan said the member count has grown to about 40 Bangladeshi students.
“[One of] our main plans is to tell students in the Baylor community about our culture, our foods and those types of things,” Hasan said.
Hasan said in Bangladeshi culture, it is very common for individuals to desire to become acquainted with a new place. The Bangladeshi Student Association provides a place where new students can get familiarized within a group, according to Hasan.
“When a new student comes in, there are a few things we usually do,” Hasan said. “We find a place for them to rent, we take them to the grocery stores and make them acquainted with how to pick things … [and] what to expect and what not to expect from a class.”
This past fall, Syed arranged a get-together for the Bangladeshi Student Association at the same time as Durga Puja, the religious festival happening in Bangladesh. Atik Amin — Dhaka, Bangladesh, doctoral candidate — said Durga Puja is one of the biggest religious festivals for Hindu communities in Bangladesh.
“At that time in our country, there was a religious festival going on, so in lieu of that, we thought of arranging it for the people who are here,” Amin said. “There is another plan to arrange these festivals in coming years as well. So, if we have an organization, it’s really helpful when booking places from Baylor operations.”
After applying to several universities in the United States over many years, Amin chose Baylor. Amin said Dr. David Jack, mechanical engineering professor and researcher, responded to Amin’s reaching out in a very amicable way. Due to his background, Amin said he admired the work of Jack.
“I used to edit all the meetings held by Dr. Jack,” Amin said. “I found that other people in the group were highly talented, and I thought that if I could meet them personally, it would be helpful for my career and personal improvement.”
According to Amin, 8,000 Bangladeshi students got their visa for the United States. Although the country is smaller compared to others, the number of Bangladeshi students coming to the United States is increasing by the day.
“Generally, the United States is the first option for every student for their higher status; you can say that it’s kind of a tradition,” Amin said. “Apart from tradition, the vessel that a United States university can give to a student is much higher than any other countries.”
Hasan said the United States is attractive to Bangladeshi students because of the country’s unique opportunities, so he expects more students from Bangladesh to come to study here.