When Borders Dissolve

JU News Desk
Published: October 2018

For someone who is new to a country, everything can be overwhelming. Right from the language, culture, food, and travel, you experience something for the first time every day. And depending on the kind of person you are, you will either grow to hate it, love it or make the best of it.

Coming to us from Bangladesh is Saqib Haider, a second year student of Computer Science Engineering at the University’s Global campus. Although not entirely new to India, Saqib feels there is so much to learn and experience here.

He has been to India on several occasions to visit his sister who was a student at the Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi. Besides New Delhi and Bengaluru, he has been to Kolkata and Bardhaman in West Bengal and finds West Bengal’s culture similar to Bangladesh’s. “The food, language and attire are almost the same,” he says.

On being asked why he chose India and JAIN in particular, he says, “I have always had a fascination for computers, right from my school days and a dream of creating my own computer game. That is one of the reasons why I chose India. The quality of education here is definitely better compared to what we have back home. Bengaluru is home to several educational and research institutes of repute. Not only is it the best place to study Computer Science, it is also affordable. I chose JAIN because it is one of the best universities in Bengaluru. The University has a good record when it comes to placements. Besides, most understand English in Bengaluru so it is easy to manage.”

So how difficult was it to settle down in a place so different from his? “I did face a culture shock when I first came to Bengaluru. Now, of course I can proudly say that I have adjusted well. Earlier I was shy, an introvert basically. After coming to India, a lot of things have changed. I am more relaxed now, and friendly. I have made friends and have become more independent. You have to learn to adjust where ever you go and try to mingle with others. Out of 10 things, there will be 2 or 3 things that you might not like,” he says.

One of the things that most find difficult to adapt to in a new place is the change in food. “Yes, the food was difficult to get used to. It still is. Our dishes are sweet and less spicy, which is not the case here. I love dosas – Masala dosas, Set dosas. I do not mind vadas. Ask him if there’s anything he does not like, and pat comes the reply: IDLIS. “Even after being here for a year, if there is one food item I don’t think I’ll ever get used to, it is the idli.” The Green Chilli Restaurant is a popular hangout for many and seems to be one of the go – to places for our students as well. “On days when idlis are served for breakfast at the mess, I make a quick trip to the Green Chilli Restaurant which is close to our campus. Otherwise, I do not mind the menu for lunch and dinner.” Besides the restaurant, there are also plenty of places in the City that students frequent. Saqib and his friends are regulars at food and entertainment venues such as Amoeba, Mantri Square and Vega City Mall.

In spite of a busy study schedule, Saqib takes time out to pursue his hobbies which are football, coding for programmes and playing video games, though he does find it slightly difficult to devote much time to them.

On enquiring if it was easy to make friends here, he replies, “I was late by a month when I joined and was worried if I would fit in. But the second week onwards, I started making friends. It happened gradually, but I can definitely say that people are friendly. It is easy to make friends in the hostel. Everyone is ready to help. At the end of the day, all of us have experienced this at some point, so we understand what the other person is going through.”

India is a country known for many festivals. Prayers, food, colourful clothes, decorations, games, dance and music are an intrinsic part of most festivals. So how was it being part of new customs? “When you have got an opportunity to be in a different country and given a chance to experience new things, you should join in. I like the culture here. I did a lot of research about South India, especially on Bengaluru. So I knew what to expect but of course experiencing it is different. We celebrate quite a few festivals at JAIN and it is fun to celebrate it with friends. We do not celebrate Diwali and Holi in Bangladesh, but I wish we did,” Saqib says with a smile.