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Sunday, 20 June 2010


Like many other youths in Bangladesh, my long cherished dream was to go abroad for higher studies. But it was not an easy goal, especially to go to a European country like Sweden.

A different country

Bangladesh is not like Sweden. It is a small country right beside India with large number of people to feed. Interestingly, only the population of Dhaka, the capital city is more than the total population of Sweden, though Bangladesh is only one third in size of Sweden.

In Bangladesh, most of the people are illiterate and live on hand to mouth. It is a country with many crises with very few solutions. Mismanagement and corruption rule every sector. As a consequence, the rich are getting richer, the middle class are looking for chances to flee abroad, and the poor are staring at God for his pity.

To leave the secure

Anyway, European, Australian or US visa are rare things. Hundreds and thousands of young men are struggling for visa but the embassies do not or cannot provide such number of seals. But I was determined and confident.

At that time, I was a student of Master in Bank Management at a private university in Dhaka. I had already completed half of the program and could join a Bank for internship within next six months. In Bangladesh banking is the most lucrative sector for every job seeker as the banks pay handsome salary, house loan, car loan and many other facilities.

In spite of all these facilities, I deserted my MBM program with all the chances of banking a career only for coming Sweden. My elder brother at first requested and later on insisted me to cancel my attempt to go overseas. Even once we had a little wrangle between us. He did not want me to go Sweden. To him I was little child, who was not mature enough to take care of myself.

At the consulate

However, after all the obstacles at last I got the visa. I can still remember the day. It was a sunny morning when I received a call from the embassy. The man on phone told me to receive my passport from the consulate. I had submitted my passport to the embassy a month before I received the call. I still did not know whether I have got the visa or not.

I reached the embassy with speeding up heart beat. We were about 15 students waiting outside the embassy gate for call. The gate keeper was calling by name one after another. The students were going inside and coming out within ten minutes holding his or her passport in hand. Some of them were smiling with contentment while some of them looked so gloomy that they have gulp down some potassium nitrate.

Some time later the guard called me and I went inside. My mind was still full with fear and confusion. When I reached the counter, the officer returned me my passport and kept my signature on a form. I opened my passport and saw a radish seal mark on the fifth page. At last I got my visa.

Now it was my time to purchase an air ticket.
My first plane journey

Like in other south Asian countries, air journey is very expensive in Bangladesh. As Bangladesh is a small country, it does not require air plane to travel across the country. Only the rich can afford to travel by air within the country either due to their business or of emergency. However, as I belong to a middle class family, I did never ride on a plane before in my life. So, very naturally I was too excited about my air travel from Dhaka to Stockholm.

I bought an economy class ticket of Thai airways. My flight was on 24th august 2009. At that time I was full of emotions; 42% thrilled, may be 30% frightened of an unknown future, grief for leaving my relatives would be around 20% and the remaining 8% was unwillingness to fly for Sweden.

Anyway, gradually the day of my flight came. It was noon when I boarded on the plane. My friend Mrittunjoy Kumar was on the same plane. He was also a student of Dalarna and got visa five days after me. Both of our travel would have been more enjoyable if he could sit beside me.

Travelling by plane seemed very monotonous to me. Though my seat was beside a window, there was nothing to see except clouds. Moreover, the seat was too congested to move my limbs freely. It was about 15 hour’s journey including 6 hours transit in Bangkok. At last I arrived in Sweden at Arlanda International Airport on 25th August.

In Sweden

I was disappointed to see Arlanda Airport. I had already been through Bangkok airport and comparing with that I found Arlanda mere dull and simple. My friend Arif came to the airport to receive me. He brought a spare bus card for me. He escorted me to T-centralen and bought me a train ticket to Falun.

Now, for the first time in my life, I had the chance to see Swedish countryside. I found Sweden simply breath taking. Especially the hills covered with green trees. Bangladesh is a green country with lots of trees and bushes. But Sweden is even greener. Bangladesh has also many hills but interestingly Swedish hills are full of large stones.

I wondered how could the Swedish built such posh roads, highways and tunnels through these stoned mountains. It might have taken them long time of stern effort with lots of sweats and blood. I could not but admire this industrious race.


It was late afternoon when we reached Falun, Dalarna and at the very first sight I loved this town. My three friends were waiting for me at the station. They had come to Falun two weeks earlier.

One of my friends told me about severe accommodation crisis. Many students were coming to Falun from different countries but the local residence provider (Kopparstaden) was unable to provide such large number of rooms.

The situation got harsher because Kopparstaden did not allow staying more than one person per room. Each of their flats contained three rooms and they allow only one tenant for each room. It seemed to me funny that Kopparstaden even could not accommodate all pupils, yet they were stick on their parameter of one person in one room.

Another funny thing was that, it was allowed one male and one female to stay at a single room while two person of same sex were not. So if I had a girl friend and if she had allowed me to stay with her, I could have saved lots of money. Despite of all oddities, I somehow managed a room….