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Why did you decide to study abroad?

“Imtiaz, finally we are moving to Oman” was something I heard from my mother with great enthusiasm. This took place before, I confronted one of the bitter hurdles of my life. Something that will change my views on hard work and perseverance. One of the human beings fundamental processes is interpersonal communication, that perceives meaning and reaches an understanding. This leads some people to learn more than one language in order to bridge the gap.

In my hometown at a colony in Bangladesh, I was a cheerful boy with a handful of friends. I studied there in a primary school, and I was academically competitive. Things changed drastically when my father was offered a job in Oman, and so we shifted here. It was a smaller colony with people from various countries mostly India. I was admitted to grade five in an English medium school. Therefore, Hindi was mostly spoken in the colony, English at school and Arabic at other places. Most of the time I was alone and in 'English' classes I was “transparent”. It resembled ''no English, no friends'' for me. I felt alone and alienated. The only situation in favor of me was that my class teacher was also a Bangladeshi and that she made lessons somewhat understandable by speaking 'easier' English with me.

My transition to this new dimension of the universe made my life tremendously harder. Almost all the time I strained my nerves to understand what they were saying and why they were laughing. Constantly dealing with language differences and the new physical surroundings made me tensed. Moreover, I fell back at studies as my first term results showed. Studying in a new language can be a stressful experience especially for a primary level student such as me. I can remember receiving my report card from my class teacher while she uttered 'Not Satisfactory'. Tears began to run down my cheeks, as those words were pronounced, as if I knew in my heart, but was desperate to be wrong. Reaching home, I slammed close my room's door, threw myself on the bed and grabbed a pillow over my face while I sobbed. I felt it heavy on my chest as I was getting out of breath while I wept. That was the first time I cried like that since my grandmother's departure from this world.

I knew my parents were disappointed and so was I. So the day after my results I planned to change everything wrong with me. I started spending a great deal of time with my books. Also, I increased watching English movies. What I did differently was imitating the actors to develop their way of speaking. I started communicating in class despite the awkward beginning. Deep down I constantly thought to myself that I must make the difference.

In the second term results day, my class teacher instructed me to stay with him after school. I could clearly hear the thumping of my heart. He called my father to school and handed him my results while congratulating me for holding the second place. And that moment was a turning point in my life. After about two months, I made a lot of friends. My teachers started liking me. My class participation rose significantly. As a life-learned lesson, I helped out the new students who came after me. One matter that can't be left unsaid is that I scored an overall IELTS band of 7.5, the same boy who couldn't speak English just a few years ago.

My bitter experience showed me that by harnessing my innate abilities, I can deal with any situation. It was undeniably a blessing in disguise. I succeeded in overcoming the hurdle before it might have caused more problems. Looking back, I realize the pain I felt shaped the person I am today, somebody who is unafraid to convey himself.

How did you pay for your study abroad experience?

I came to Oman when my father was offered a job here. In the school, I attended my tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, meals and other expenses are supported by my father only.

What is one thing you wish you would have known about studying abroad before you left?

Have an open mind. Be ready to take challenges. Never fear to take risks. Never fear to fail.

Did you experience any discrimination abroad because of your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or a physical disability? If so, what did you learn from the experience?

.Luckily, I haven't yet felt any Cultural insensitivity. The places I've lived didn't give rise to such circumstances.

How has studying abroad benefited you, personally and academically?

I was able to 1) Meet a diverse range of people 2) Make lifelong friends 3) Discover new and exciting foods 4) Learn three distinct languages 5) Learn self-reliance 6) Gain a greater knowledge of different cultures 7) See my own culture through a new lens 8) Learn more about yourself 9) Gain life experience 10) Visit a lot of places 11) Learn to appreciate the smaller things more 12) Gain a global mindset 13) Gain an unforgettable experience because “variety is the spice of life”.

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