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‘No place like N.L.’

Bangladeshi arts graduate putting down roots in new home

Student Life

By Terri Coles

Jill Jubabir was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and grew up in the country, but says he had the chance to travel and see other parts of the world as a child and teenager.

His experiences visiting places like Japan and the U.K. left him open to attending university anywhere in the world, including St. John’s, N.L. (Incidentally, his arrival at Memorial marked the first time he visited North America.)

Since arriving in January 2015, he says he has found a home – a place where he wants to build his career now that he has graduated with a bachelor of arts degree, majoring in communication studies and minoring in sociology.

“I absolutely love this province. I have not been applying anywhere else,” he said. “The enthusiasm and the people here – I’ve travelled to a lot of places around the world. There’s no place like Newfoundland, so I’m not leaving that easily.”

A global search

When it came time to attend university, he faced a competitive application process in Bangladesh.

“There are amazing universities back home, but  they will be taking like 50 students, and there’s 100,000, 200,000 people applying.”

Jill Jubabir hopes to work in the film and television industry right here in N.L.
Photo: Submitted

He decided to take his search global and got in touch with about 100 different universities all over the world while still in high school.

One of the universities he looked at was Memorial. He had never visited Newfoundland and Labrador, but was interested in Memorial for its affordable tuition rates, overall quality of life and the value of the degree.

Mr. Jubabir’s interest was also piqued by one program in particular: communication studies, his eventual choice of major. The program allowed him to explore his interests in writing and film, he says, while providing a lot of versatility for his future career path.

“Communication is such a wide degree,” he said. “You can go into pretty much anything.”

“I didn’t know a single person in all of North America! But I made it through and I’m sure everyone can.” — Jill Jubabir

The support he received from faculty members, in particular Dr. Dwayne Avery, was key to his success in the program, he says. At one point during his program, Mr. Jubabir needed to visit family in Australia to provide support to his cousin after she went into early labour.

The flexibility Dr. Avery and other professors gave him to complete his coursework removed a lot of stress from the situation, he says.

“The professors, the teachers, were really amazing. The faculty, I really can’t thank them enough.”

‘Just go for it’

With his degree completed, Mr. Jubabir is now looking for work in the province.

He hopes to work in the film industry one day, but is open to any experiences that allow him to stay in St. John’s and begin to build his career in his adopted home. To other international students considering making the leap to come to Memorial, he advises them to take a chance on themselves.

“When I came here, I needed a lot of help in terms of mental and moral support,” he said. He found that help from people all around the world, both here in St. John’s and from friends and family elsewhere.

“If you’re scared of being alone, you will never be alone,” he said. “I did not know a single person before I moved to Newfoundland. I didn’t know a single person in all of North America! But I made it through and I’m sure everyone can, and everyone will. I would say just go for it.”

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