In this tale, I depict my motherland, once brimming with potential, now reduced to a wasteland by the country’s inept political leadership. It’s a land where justice feels like a distant dream, human rights are overshadowed by the whims of those in power, and the significance of human resources is neglected. The education system lacks the quality needed to nurture minds to their fullest potential, and employment is often granted based on connections rather than qualifications.

My story begins in the bustling streets of Bangladesh, where the cacophony of daily life mingles with the vibrant hues of culture. As a young scholar, I harboured dreams as expansive as the sky. I was eager to explore the vast realms of knowledge, transcending the borders of my homeland.

Since the inception of my graduate studies, I’ve been actively involved with various voluntary, environmental, and non-profit organisations. Although I had to hear different negative comments from my friends, seniors from my department, and my fellow teachers, I kept on track, which I enjoyed.

Despite the initial negativity, it was later intriguing to witness the same seniors expressing interest in joining similar activities upon seeing me receive invitations to visit countries abroad through similar initiatives. Their interest wasn’t rooted in the cause I worked for but rather the awards I received.

This commitment towards volunteer activity has enriched my life and opened doors to international expeditions. Engaging in global meetings with like-minded individuals has been profoundly inspiring, fuelling my passion for connecting with diverse cultures and environments. These experiences have broadened my perspective, allowing me to embrace and learn from the rich tapestry of human experiences worldwide.

My dedication to volunteerism seamlessly transitioned into my professional life as I continued collaborating with non-governmental organisations. Participating in various international conferences, workshops, and seminars has been both professionally enriching and personally rewarding, cementing my commitment to understanding and contributing to a world without borders.

The culmination of these enriching experiences ignited my pursuit of higher education, propelling me to diligently prepare for and apply for doctoral opportunities abroad. Pursuing a PhD wasn’t just an academic endeavour but a quest to quench my thirst for excellence and carve a niche in the scholarly world. Abroad, I discovered a superior research environment teeming with enriching training opportunities. Surrounded by fellow scholars, we could collaborate and support each other’s scholarly growth.

Leaving behind the familiar alleys of my homeland was a decision fuelled by a stark realisation: the resources, mentorship, and academic freedom I sought lay beyond the confines of my immediate surroundings. Abroad, I encountered a world abundant with opportunities that seemed scarce back home—advanced technology, substantial funding, and collaborative networks that became the cornerstone of my burgeoning research career.

However, my departure wasn’t merely a journey but an escape from a system disregarding merit and integrity. Despite being raised by a father who instilled the values of honesty and hard work, bribery and corruption permeated every corner of my country—from banks to police stations, businesses to land offices and passport offices.

Life abroad provided a sanctuary where I could express my opinions without fear and where merit was recognised and celebrated. Professors treated me as a peer, providing a platform to share my thoughts and views, irrespective of my political background.

The opaque policy-making process back in Bangladesh was a source of deep-seated frustration, hindering my aspirations to contribute meaningfully to my country. As I continue my journey, I hold onto hope that the system in Bangladesh will evolve into one I can wholeheartedly embrace. Until then, I’ll work from afar, contributing to the global academic community and advocating for systems that value integrity, transparency, and merit.

Bangladesh, my motherland, now shrouded in darkness, compelled me to seek light elsewhere. My journey isn’t just personal; it’s a narrative of leaving behind the familiar to seek a place where I can grow and make a difference. It underscores the transformative power of education and the influence of global citizenship.

To aspiring scholars in Bangladesh, I urge you not to let the boundaries of nations confine your dreams. Knowledge knows no borders, and your potential contributions are limitless. This detailed account reflects my personal journey and a broader narrative shared by many scholars navigating similar paths—a story of resilience, hope, and the unwavering pursuit of a world where merit and integrity pave the path to success.

Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman (Apu)
PhD Candidate,
Food Security for Equitable Future Research Group,
Department of Sociology,
Lancaster University,
Lancaster, UK.