From Srilanka to Bangladesh: The Experiences I Encountered

Posted on February 12, 2010 in YKA Editorials

Sivapathan Silojah:

Experiences are the first lessons that teach how to make a difference in life learning from the undergone changes and to become different in essence. I have encountered the influence of a place, Asian University for Women (AUW) in Bangladesh, where leaders and activists, who are working for International Development and Women’s Issues, are performing as stakeholders.

In 2008, after I finished my secondary studies, I decided to study liberal arts at AUW, Bangladesh. I was born in Kalmunai, a small town in Eastern province of Sri Lanka, and I had never been out of my town for more than two weeks for whatever purposes. For the first time in my life, I had got a chance to come across new experiences in a totally new world. I, myself, did not believe that I would survive in Bangladesh as I was an introvert. After going through a great battle, I said to myself, “time has come for your new life, Be Ready”.

I have gone through all the processes of alertness for being apart from my family and friends. On 28th March 2008, I traveled to Bangladesh via India leaving my country where landmine explosions are frequently happening and welfare camps are rooted almost all over the country.

At the very first day of AUW life, I was shocked to see that it was no longer the place where I used to hear only my own language, Tamil. I have undergone a cultural shock, and it was very hard for me to overcome from the fear of interacting with students from various countries. I was deeply disappointed seeing my way of life that has totally been changed in a busy and complex life. Gradually, I have understood that it’s essential to acknowledge the dominant thoughts of disappointment that impact my ability to reach my goals. Awareness of feelings and thoughts can help choose a way to take actions which moves me closer to my goals. Sudden and unexpected disappointment dragged me to depression. Fear of disappointment is very dangerous as it gives me a painful life. Every one experiences things in life that affect people on unconscious mind. One of these blockages of success is fear of disappointment. It thrusts people to be proactive. Past life is often filled with failure. If one focuses on abrupt collapse, that person will be under trepidation in his or her lifelong. In this way, disappointment damages my confidence and fills me with tension and frustration. In this university, the situation teaches me how to control the overwhelming feelings of loneliness and concentrate only on my goals. It had taken about six months to be social in this place.

Educationally speaking, this is the part of my life that changes my view on social life and personal life. I have seen the hazardous issues of poverty and environmental impacts of human activities in Chittagong. At that point, I have changed my career from IT to Environmental Engineering with the thought of doing something for the betterment of everyone’s future.

“A small group of people can change the world.” This is the basic idea of AUW women leadership program. AUW was established as a bridge of promoting good relationship, friendship, and familiarity with culture between Eastern and Western world. AUW is a factory of producing highly educated pupil whose interests are studying and indulging in other activities that involve critical thinking and mental effort. Being a part of that society is a credit for my social life.

Education can show what should be the innermost part in social issues that can be changed from bad to good by people who tie their life to a goal, not to desires. AUW has a goal, offering liberal arts education with graduation and professional training to women across Asia and members of AUW family work extremely hard to show their dedication to do something truly significant in women’s development field. They showed critical pathways to leadership development. I came to know how to achieve sustainable development and social and political equity. Overall, it is true that I will be recognized as genius by the educated society, and the skills I have learned from AUW will help me contribute in the progress of Asia as a developed region.

The writer is a Bangladesh based correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz