The Refugee of The World
The Refugee of The World
In the camp, I committed myself to study alone. I then ordered some books from Myanmar and some from the local books store with the help immigration officials. I transformed the camp into a university in my mind. I would wake up early every morning and go to study at the mosque as if I was going to the university.
Doing this every day, I completed reading almost six or seven books in one year, some of them on English writing, grammar and language, and others on politics and general knowledge. These books have shaped my knowledge and improved my English writing and speaking skills; I was also able to teach English to other immigrants and refugees in the camp.
After being released from the detention camp, I found the best opportunities to study online. In the following year, I studied TOFLE and IELTS online and started writing stories and blogs, sharing my ideas on social media; I am still getting positive comments on these. Finally, I was able to pursue my goal. I became an online student of Kiron University where I have been studying political science since 2017.
Now, you might be wondering How did I managed to motivate myself to achieve this progress whilst being a vulnerable refugee. What is my motivation behind all this?
I have come to believe that all my past failures and frustrations were actually laying the foundations for me to reach the level of understanding that has created the new approach to life which I now enjoy.
This motivation has been my goal of life ever since high school when I was reading a story titled “Too much knowledge maketh fools” in my English textbook. What I learned from this story has been the key which I use to overcome every difficult situation. ….. This piece of advice was the final gift of the famed professor Disaparmauk of Taxila to his four students.
Remember,” he said to them, “the four of you may be proficient, each in your own subject, but if you don’t have the sense to act suitably to the time and circumstance of a situation, you may have to go hungry.”
This quote has become my lifesaver. What I learned from this lesson is that “no matter how bad or good your situation and circumstance are, no matter whether you are rich or poor, you can still pursue your goal or achieve success if you can think logically when dealing with the situation you’re facing.” Simply speaking, it is not the situation or the people around you that define who you are and determine what you want to be in life. Rather, it is your interpretation of the facts and the education you possess that define who you are and your positive attitude helps you even in dire circumstances.
As you are no doubt aware, the Rohingya people are severely discriminated against by the Burmese majority in Myanmar and they are prevented from pursuing higher education. Despite being faced with all these restrictions, I graduated from high school and then applied to attend the university in Sittway. Approximately six months later, I was admitted to the Faculty of Science.
Unfortunately, my life in that university, for as long as I was there, did not reflect the general view that university life is the happiest time of student life. As a Rohingya, I was often singled out as unwanted. The majority Buddhist students bullied us, calling us “Kollah” which is an insult, an abusive word used towards Rohingya people.
When I compare my country with Indonesia, I would defiantly say that Indonesia is much better than my country. I am generally happy and, more importantly, I am safe here. For that, I am thankful and grateful to Indonesia, even though my basic human rights are restricted.
Imagine if, in your own country, you were denied an identity or a place to call home. If your rights to study, work, travel, marry and practice your religion didn’t exist – because you right to belong is being denied. It is as if you didn’t exist. You are not provided with any avenue through which to prove who you are or where you are from, and this stops you from accessing full citizenship status and totally defines your life as a non-citizen, a stateless person, a pariah.
My life has been a struggle at times, but my hard work, determination, and enthusiasm for my education and my community have brought me to the stage where I can pursue my dreams. I have loved traveling and reading about other cultures ever since I was a little boy, at first sitting in a chair on the balcony at my home, reading about people who lived all over the globe and later on living for almost five years in different countries such as, after my own country Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.
This experience has instilled in me a respect for diversity and a burning desire to be an advocate for the underprivileged on our planet. This goal has been the drive for my f questioning the formal and informal studies. Higher education will equip me to meet the challenges I will face, and will help me to become the strong advocate I want to be.
How do I manage to study online?
First, you must accept that online learning is a solo act, which means you will never have friends to discuss issues with, as in a traditional university environment, and you will rarely have a chance to see the face of your lecturers. Secondly, self-discipline is essential. It is unlikely that you will feel motivated to study just by looking at a screen, which is also harmful to yours, eyes. These aspects all suggests that online study is completely boring and frustrating.
But let me tell this! Everything will seem to be difficult, as long as you think it is difficult. It is all about mindset and attitude. If you can change your attitude towards learning, and appreciate that all things appear to be difficult before they become easy, then you can do anything at all.
Today, I become a Refugee, not because of someone else, but because of me, I am responsible for who I am and the situation I have now is the reflection of my past actions and my present action will be the reflection of my future. It is the phenomenon of life. Therefore, in order to change your lifestyle, you should not rely on people, but on yourself. As the popular saying goes, there is always a way only if there is a will, and, as Plato said “think more”. The more you think, the more you will find the alternatives available.
At traditional school and university, most of the students rely on the teachers and lectures to pass the exams and hence, to gain degrees, which, honestly, only serves to find a well-paid job.
The obvious difference between a traditional student and online student or self-study student is that “the traditional student tends to seek to succeed, while the online student strives to excel. I believe most of you remember what Amir Khan said in his movie, three idiots:
“…Never study to be successful, study for self-efficiency. Don’t run behind success. Pursue excellence, and success will come all way after you.”
Online education is the easiest way to learn anything. I can say this confidently. In the past, the most prevalent mode of education was the traditional classroom education; with new technologies, we now have a great revolution in education, the “online education.” There are multiple benefits associated with online learning that motivates an individual to study.
The biggest benefits of online learning are its flexibility and convenience. No matter where you are or what the time is, if you have internet access over any digital medium, you can start studying.
The online study allows you to dedicate as much time as you desire, with no interruption in your work schedule. The only thing it requires is your focus and willingness to learn.
Online education offers the opportunity for anyone, regardless of their nationality and place of residence, to obtain a diploma of any university anywhere in the world. Students and teachers are able to communicate at a distance, at any time convenient for them. So, online education gives equal opportunities for education regardless of the students’ place of living, health and material status.
I foresee a time when there will be totally virtual colleges and universities, and students will not only take classes at their own institutions but expand their scope by enrolling in courses at the great institutions of learning around the world. Imagine studying political science with Bill Clinton, or with a Nobel Prize winner.
We are in the early days of online learning. The possibilities are limitless.
We, Human beings are social animals and our survival relies on our ability to establish social contracts and social networks. It remains to be seen whether social skills can be acquired virtually, or whether this requires real-time contact. The challenges of non-verbal communication are very difficult to overcome when you depend totally on a screen and a speaker. Those who are most optimistic about technological progress can imagine physiological changes in humans that will facilitate the adoption of truly revolutionary technology we are developing now.
We may see changes in our thumbs as we continuously text and our eyes may get so used to reading screens that they might no longer suffer. This however also means that the gap between the humans who can surf that wave of change and those who are left behind the technological transformation of the world will grow to the point where we might see almost different species of humans emerge in the world.
How far does one need to learn and what is the goal of education?
Socrates believed there were different kinds of knowledge: important and trivial. Trivial knowledge is your skill, which is important only to you, but the most important knowledge is, he said, "how best to live’’ in a society, and in a country and in the world as a whole. Accordingly, the goals of education are to learn as much as you can; and, even more importantly, to appreciate the limits of what you do not know.
My friend! It is not a master degree or Ph.D. that makes a person wise, and neither is it a piece of education or knowledge, or even a single life lesson. Rather, it is what you make of interpret what you have learned.