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College expenses for an international student

Organized by: Sirajus Salekin

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Hi, I am Shaown Salekinn, a native of Bangladesh. I came halfway across the world to Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana to get college education. None of my extended family members studied abroad ever, and only my dad and one of his brothers have college degrees. Nonetheless, everyone in my family appreciate and realize the value of education so much. My mom couldn't even finish tenth grade because her family was so poor, and the social stigma associated with women studying further than high school was strong. She wanted to finish school, but she was not able to. My dad has several siblings, and it was almost impossible for my grandfather to educate all of them properly. Still, many managed to finish tenth grade (and most finished there) After finishing elementary school, I was sent to a religious school, endorsed, and expected, by most of my family members. While I learned a good amount about my religion, I experienced, at the same time, what it was like to be part of the least-privileged, "least-enlightened" medium of education. I struggled to get back to the mainstream. The three mediums of education in Bangladesh share more differences than similarities in terms of content, implied purpose, and the apparent social, economic classes they serve. My parents always supported my dream of studying at a great place. So even though Earlham's aid was a lot, that wasn't enough to cover with their annual income. So they decided to use all their savings, and sell the only piece of land they have. I finished two  years of college. Right now, all the savings are gone, but unfortunately they couldn't sell the land because it's really hard to sell for its not-so-awesome location. So right now I'm uncertain whether I'll be able to go back to school in the fall. I worked the past summers full time, but I managed less than one-third of the total cost. I'm working this summer too, but it's beyond my capabilities to match the skyrocketting increase of college tuition and fees every year. I study Computer Science and Physics, but I also have deep interest in visual arts and theatre. However, I can't even think of majoring in those because they are not "practical" enough, and it will be nearly impossible to get a job as a foreign national with those degrees here. So for now, staying in school is the biggest challange for me. I don't have a second chance; I cannot drop out. If I do, I will be deported within 60 days, with all the time and money I spent so far will go to waste. I would appreciate any amount I get, because that gives me a little more hope for staying enrolled. I will have to pay around 12,000 USD this year to Earlham. Initially, I'm setting a goal of raising a fraction of the total cost: 1000$. Literally, every penny counts. Thank you so much for listening to my story!


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Sirajus Salekin

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