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22 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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With a Suitcase of Love and Memories

Liyalu
With a Suitcase of Love and Memories

My name is Liyalu. I am from China. I’m a junior student majoring in accounting at SIAS International University in Henan Province of China. My English name is Rachel, but now I have a Bangladeshi name my friends gave me _ Mala. It is interesting that there is the same word in Chinese, but it means spicy!

In high school, I met a foreign teacher from Ukraine named Victoria, and we became good friends. Over the six months, my spoken English improved a lot. For the first time, I felt the charm of cultural differences, which deeply attracted me. Since then the thought of going to other countries to experience different cultures was born.

At the end of 2017, I found that opportunity with Daffodil International University (DIU) Winter Camp 2018 and immediately signed up for the project. Then I started to collect information about Bangladesh. At the time, I knew nothing about Bangladesh but Bengal tigers. But some online articles about the country made me afraid, I began to hesitate whether I should go or not. Finally, I chose to attend the programme and got full scholarship.

There is an old saying in China _ “Seeing is believing.” I wanted to experience this mysterious country in person. So, I started my fantastic journey with 32 students and officials of SIAS International University to attend the DIU Winter Camp in Bangladesh from January 14 to 20, 2018.

I never expected the first surprise would be my broken suitcase as soon as we arrived at Dhaka airport. So, I went to see the airport staff. Actually, I didn’t think this little thing would be dealt with, but their careful attitude to work made me have a crush on Bangladesh. They did deal with the little thing, at last. Outside the airport, we were greeted by volunteers, who surprised us saying “Huanying” in Chinese. The people on the roadside smiled at us and they were really welcoming and friendly.

I thought Bangladesh is hot, so I just brought T-shirts and a thin coat. However, I was shocked with the huge temperature difference between day and night in winter. Our accommodation was very clean and tidy. On the first night, we went to the dormitory and found all of our rooms were cleaned by ‘aunty’, which deeply touched me. In the morning, we explored the green DIU campus, and attended sessions about employability, leadership and life skills.

Over the next few days, our schedule was packed with all kinds of activities and there was hardly any free time. We went to scenic spots, ate local food and did a lot of interesting things with the volunteers, like playing golf and basketball. I am a person who likes to try new things, but it is not easy to eat with your hands for the first time. The second thing that impressed me was visiting the national museum, which made us further understand the culture and history of Bangladesh. Behind the museum, there is a handicraft market, where we bought a lot of things as gifts for family and friends back at home.

When I first arrived in Dhaka, I couldn’t adapt myself to the weather or food and was eager to return home to China. However, the volunteers, staff, drivers and guards with their company and meticulous care made me want to stay. When I left a week later, we became so emotional on parting that we said “take care” with tears. We sang and danced together, had bonfire party, rickshaw rides and so on. The time at the ‘Old Home’ at Gazipur made us think of old age and care about family. We spent so much time on the bus, which made us talk to each other more, learn from each other and feel the difference in customs and cultures of the two countries.

In general, the feeling that Dhaka gave me is crowded and busy, but it’s so natural. Bangladesh has a unique cultural landscape that is worth visiting. The sky is clean, and the leafy trees make for nice scenery. The journey by boat on Meghna River made our Bangladesh trip filled with joy.

Thank you Bangladesh for making me see a different world; thanks DIU and SIAS for arranging the great winter camp; thanks to the staff for offering meals on time every day; thank you for your company. Thank God we met you! Looking forward to meeting you all again. Next time we meet, I will give you a big hug! Wish you all the best.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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