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Global Storyteller: Mostakima Lubna and Samaher Salem

Mostakima Lubna is a graduate student in the College of Textiles, and Samaher Salem is a graduate student in the College of Natural Resources.

Have you traveled in your life?

We both have traveled a lot in Bangladesh, our home country, for education and leisure. Just last month here in America, we traveled to six states and spent New Year’s in New Orleans.

What has been the best part of your international experience?

The company and friends we have. Everything is easy here, and you can get hotels at a click of a button. In Bangladesh, it is difficult because the internet is not readily available everywhere. If you do not plan much in advance, it will not go smooth. You must know all the details beforehand. In Bangladesh, you can hire a driver with a car; sometimes it’s stressful here having to drive yourself.

Did you have a lot of support coming to the United States?

Yes, we had a lot of support. We both have faculty positions in Bangladesh, so they supported us, and our family encouraged us too.

What is your best memory when traveling here?

The diversity! Everything back home is familiar to me, and nothing is new. We know the weather, the rain, the seasons, everything. Here everything is new. It’s been different for me, especially the fall season and the snow. 

What would you tell people planning to study abroad or travel for work or leisure?

I encourage people to come here because the way people think is totally different. When you grow up somewhere, you begin to want to know things that are different than what you have always known. Back home, we just knew it was either yes or no, nothing in between. My perception of judging people changed. People accept each other. You must know a lot more about culture and diversity and how people talk. I appreciate diversity. We have a phobia back home that people in the U.S. hate us because of what we see on the media, but people are nice and easy going. Don’t be afraid to go somewhere and learn how people are; appreciate that people are different.

Say something random about yourself.

Mostakima: I easily get excited to try new things.
Samaher: I like to play soccer and cricket.
Mostakima: He also likes to organize people in a way to represent our culture.
Samaher: And she’s a good cook.