Published today: “Experiencing the ‘Student Visa Syndrome'” on the Daily Star

An outreach program on U.S. student visas that was hosted by the Consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka last week was covered by me for the Daily Star, and it has been published today. The program took place in Floor 6 lounge in Banani and included interactions between students, embassy members, comedians, and Bangladeshi students who had gone through the visa process and succeeded already. To read, check it out online, or buy a copy of the Daily Star today for the Star Campus magazine, found in practically every corner of Dhaka, of course.

Or, read below.

Experiencing the ‘Student Visa Syndrome’

Olinda Hassan
Photos : IMS

Getting a US student visa is like asking a hot girl out on a date. As local students gathered around the stage, comedy duo Naveed Mahbub and Muhammad Solaiman performed with a simple message- anyone can study in the US if you follow some easy steps- you do not need to go through one of the many visa- agencies around Dhaka. The performance was part of an outreach programme held by the Consular section of the US Embassy, designed and executed by Integrated Marketing Services Limited. Not just this act, the programme also comprised of an information session with consular members and a discussion with local students who have successfully obtained the go-to signal on their passports.

Naveed Mahbub and Muhammad Solaiman.
The question and answer session.

Bangladesh has a history of sending a good number of its brightest minds to further their education in the US, but even then, a stigma is still attached with the process of getting the actual student visa. The fear of rejection can sometimes deter students away from even trying. “Getting a visa to study in the United States is something that each one of you in the room is able to do by yourself,” said Vice Consul, Brigid Ryan from the US Embassy.

But why do students from Bangladesh still get rejected from obtaining a US student visa?

“Actually most student visa applicants are issued visas. Generally, Bangladeshi students are going to good schools to get a good education and they have the funding or personal finances to pay their way. The requirements for obtaining a student visa are posted on the State Department website and consular officers adjudicate accordingly,” explained Ryan.

The three things to bear in mind for a US student visa application are: 1. Intend: showing that the sole purpose of your trip is to be a student, 2. Qualify: exam records, I-20 forms, academic marks, and proof of admission, and finally, 3. Fund: proving you can actually afford to study in the US, whether through scholarships or personal support.

Often, prospective students may miss out on one of the sections, or use a middleman to go through the entire process which will guarantee a rejection.

“I found the session really helpful, especially on factors like CGPA, GMAT and TOEFL scores,” explained BBA major Synthia Afreen from North South University who would like to pursue her MBA from the US.

Sometimes funds are not easy to come by for you, despite being accepted by a top tier American university. In that case, the US embassy will try to assist you in going abroad. This is when high results on standardised exams such as the SATs, GMATs, and GREs become especially crucial for the US student visa.

As for intend, not only do you have to prove that you will only be a student when you go to the US, but that you also plan to return to Bangladesh after completing your desired degree. “I was a bit worried about the intention to return. In case this question arises, it will be easier for me to prove because I am a faculty member at BUET,” explained PhD bound Mukhlesur Rahman, who will be entering Northeastern University in Boston this fall, while sharing his experience with the visa procedure with the audience.
Acquiring an American education is still highly popular among Bangladeshi students, many of whom cater their academics around the prospect from an early age. Not only for the Ivy League academic rigor, but many students aspire to study in the US to experience the American cultural lifestyle. To get more information about the US student visa process, find information on facebook under “US Embassy-Dhaka”: facebook.com/ bangladesh.usembassy.

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