The Department of English and Humanities at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) in collaboration with its Alumni Association organized a talk on March 27, 2021 with Rebeka Badiozzaman, a highly accomplished alumna of the department, and Mohammad Shams Ud Duha, PhD student at Purdue University, USA. The talk, “Aiming to Study Abroad: Behind the Scenes (Canada and USA)” was focused on providing guidance to students who aspire to study abroad.
Rebeka Badiozzaman, a Learning Technology and Change Management Consultant (Instructional Design, E-learning, and Digital transformation) with her own consulting firm, and Mohammad Shams Ud Duha shared their experiences about the various aspects of studying abroad, in Canada and the US respectively, beginning with the preparation phase. They stressed the importance of the Statement of Purpose where students should highlight their personalities and weave a story by building connections among their different experiences. Speaking about the basic requirements for applying to Canada or the US, Mr. Duha emphasized that students must allow enough time to prepare for standardized tests required by most US universities, such as the GRE. Ms. Badiozzaman added that finding the appropriate programs can prove to be overwhelming, so ample time and patience are needed.
To apply for a PhD in the US, Mr. Duha suggested finding a suitable supervisor. He also said that students should apply to a balanced selection of universities to increase their chances of success. Ms. Badiozzaman mentioned that climate, living conditions, and living costs of the location must be considered carefully. She also emphasized the importance of mental health.
The final topic of conversation was funding. Ms. Badiozzaman noted that full funding is rare in Canadian universities. Students should therefore have the funds to live in a foreign country and not rely on any part-time jobs to pay their way. Mr. Duha described various options for funding in the US. The speakers pointed out that students may not need a lot of experience or research before applying. However, it is important to portray a genuine interest in participating in the program of choice.