Aktarul Ahsan, studied at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Strasbourg in 2013
“If somebody asks me what I liked most in France, I would answer the people” – Aktarul Ahsan, 34 years old, from Chittagong, about his experience in Strasbourg, France in 2013
“I am Aktarul Ahsan, 34 years old, from Chittagong (working in Dhaka), Bangladesh. I am a PhD student in the Institut de Physique du Globe de Strasbourg (IPGS) in Geology, Université de Strasbourg, France. I passed the first four months (18August-20December 2013) of my PhD in Strasbourg, France.
I am a Geologist and have been working in the Geological Survey of Bangladesh since 2007. I started working on the Seismotectonics of Bangladesh-Assam region in 2011. I was then introduced to three world-renowned French scientists who were working with us as a collaboration work with Singapore, France and Bangladesh.
When I started working with French scientists, I found that they are really knowledgeable, learned, skilled and very much friendly. As human beings they were great as well. It was very easy for me to work with them as friends. They were very much eager to teach us what they thought and what they knew. Such qualities of them attracted me most and I asked them if they had any scope to enroll me as a doctoral student under their supervision. I was lucky, they agreed and I was registered as a PhD student in IPGS, University of Strasbourg.
During my academic period in France, I experienced many new dimensions in science. They seemed to me very much updated with the laboratories, equipment and technology. Their education system is very much advanced and friendly. It’s not hard or difficult to have good grades because of their systematic educational system. Teachers are very much cordial to the students. I found that every teacher was very much dedicated. My supervisor is a researcher. I found him very much knowledgeable, hard working, honest, intellectual, dynamic, and very much cordial to me.
If somebody asks me what I liked most in France, I would answer the people. I had many friends in my short duration of stay. Each and every one of them was so nice and good with me. They were always taking care of me, teaching and introducing me with their cultures, manners, foods, etc. I was so interested to be introduced with their culture and I liked it so much. I knew that French people are the most artistic in the world and I realized it every step in my stay. Everybody has his/her own style of doing and way of living.
I was trying to get introduced with French traditions and cultures. I tried French traditional foods, traditional drinks, especially cheese. I was really surprised to see that they have more than 300 types of cheese!! I liked their different kind of breads, sweets, cakes.
I was lucky enough that I had a Noël (Christmas) in Strasbourg, which is the Capital of Noël in Europe. I saw the big gathering every day, just after the office hours, I saw the stalls, I enjoyed shopping from there, I tasted the warm wines. It was a really nice experience. But I was sad also as I had to fly back to my country before Christmas.
My experience in France was good. I didn’t face any problem with any neighbor, or in any circumstances. I got help from everybody whenever I asked, and even when I didn’t ask.
Not speaking French was never a big problem. I always used English with my colleagues, friends and even in the super malls. I found that most French people understand English, maybe they don’t like to speak English or maybe some of them don’t speak English very well, that’s why they don’t feel confident to speak English. But yes, of course, I felt that if I could speak French, I could make more friends, I could join friends’ parties more easily. I learnt some words and phrases in French, whenever I used those words, I saw my colleagues and friends were very much happy to hear that from me. It was a good feeling.
Well, my goal is now to complete my research work and enter the open world. I am not intending to work only in my country, I believe that as I am working with French experts now, I can work with experts worldwide. Definitely, I will share the knowledge and experience that I gained from French scientists with my friends and colleagues in Bangladesh. I will always keep in mind that I can also think big, I can also think more now.
I would like to say to prospective students, choose France for your next destination for higher studies, because the French way will make you grow more than you can imagine.
France is a good place to live, French people are good people to be friends with, and French researchers are good to be followed. In a nutshell, France will please you in your every step!”