WorldTeach volunteer Emma Hiza spent her last year teaching at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. Now that she has returned home, Emma has realized how much this experience has allowed her to grow. Read her awesome blogpost to see just how positively teaching abroad could influence you! Thanks for sharing, Emma!
It’s taken me a while to write this, and even as I sit here I am not sure that I really know what to say. It feels strange to write this sitting in a coffee shop, drinking coffee and listening to strangers speaking English.
I’m back in America now. It’s been luxurious and wonderful to sleep in a soft bed, drink good coffee, eat bread and cheese, and see friends and family. I’ve overindulged honestly… in the first week I was home I think I managed to make myself sick on coffee, bread, and cheese. That being said, it really hasn’t been hard to adjust to the change in food, accommodations, or seeing my friends and family. What has been challenging is this sudden, sharp disconnect from everything that was so important to me for 10 months. I spent most of my time in Chittagong thinking about school, planning for classes, grading essays, attending events at the university, and working with students on all kinds of things both inside and outside of the classroom. My life revolved entirely around the university and my students. And suddenly I am no longer there. It’s been a tough adjustment and in a lot of ways my life feels as though it lacks purpose at the moment. I’ll be starting graduate school in Baltimore on July 1st and (even more excitingly!) Mercy and Kritika arrive at JFK airport on June 25th. There are things to do in preparation for both of those things, but it’s hard being so far away.
I miss the enthusiasm and brilliance of my students, and my daily interactions with them. I miss their questions, their insights, their thoughtfulness… I could go on. Or at least I think I could. It’s hard to know what to say sometimes. I run into this every time I see someone for the first time since I got back: How was Bangladesh?!! What does one say? That’s a tough question to answer for any job or experience that lasted a long period of time. It was amazing, inspiring, really hard sometimes. I learned a lot. I hope my students learned a lot. I was given a lot. I hope I gave back as much as I got… (I doubt the last one is true, though)
In short - It’s nice to be home. And I miss my students and my job.
The “sort of” in this post title is because I don’t think there’s really any way to conclude this. I’ll probably abandon this blog as I start graduate school in July. But I’ll keep thinking about Bangladesh and AUW. And hopefully the experiences I had and the things I learned will inform judgements and choices I make in my future. Or maybe they will bring me back to AUW. Who knows.
For Exeter alums (or just interested individuals) check out the piece I wrote for the summer issue of the Bulletin and please check in on Mercy & Kritika’s blog through their summer experience at Exeter - http://frombangladeshtoexeter.wordpress.com/. They will be thrilled to know that people are interested in what they experience and learn this summer in America.
And finally, for all of your attention, support, and love throughout this year… Dhonnobad.
If you're interested in learning more about WorldTeach's program in Bangladesh, visit our website at www.worldteach.org/bangladesh. We'd love to have you join us!