My name is Fayyaz Ahmed. I grew up in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, a city of twelve million. I come from a place where family bonds are really close and there is a strong sense of community. I did my schooling in Bangladesh under the British system, but then had the privilege of attending the Mahindra UWC of India.
Going to UWC opened an entirely new world for me. Prior to that experience I was confined to my own culture and I had a perspective that was limited to those things that comprised my life and surroundings. At UWC, however, I met and bonded with people from all over the world, giving me the opportunity to learn firsthand about different cultures, perspectives and ideas. The close interaction with people from all around the world has enabled me to think more rationally and practically, and made me a much more mature person today. For me, studying people themselves is one of the most important “subjects” in life and it is important no matter where you go in life or whatever career you choose.
While at UWC I also had the privilege of performing a lot of community service, which helped me realize the responsibility that each individual has to society. It is important to make a difference in life, no matter to what extent. Each week as a volunteer I taught English at a nearby village to kids who lived on two meals a day. Their families lived far below the poverty line. What amazed me was their ability to extract happiness from little things in life and their determination to succeed. Once a little boy asked me how he could become a pilot and fly airplanes one day. I didn’t know what to say, knowing that he would not likely get past the fifth grade because of poverty. On the same day while going back to my campus I saw some people living in a garbage dump. Those experiences made me promise that I was going to do the best I can to fight poverty and injustice.
This hope was one of the reasons I chose to come to study in the US, and Lewis & Clark seemed like a really good college. I thought it would be a place where I could be myself and still feel part of a community. The college had a good reputation, good professors and seemed to be the right choice for me. Attending UWC broadened my horizons, my knowledge and my perspective. I hope that Lewis & Clark will do the same.