Exactly thirteen years ago, I left my home in Mymensingh, Bangladesh, and embarked upon a journey alone as a teenager to achieve the dream of becoming an Aerospace Engineer, a very far-fetched dream at the time.

It was one of the most difficult choices I had made in my entire life, leaving a promised future and a friendly, loving comfort zone. It didn’t help that almost everyone around said that I wouldn’t succeed in achieving my dreams.

“People from Bangladesh don’t become rocket scientists,” they stressed. As a teenager, those words pierced through my fragile bubble of hope.

Thirteen years later, I have not only attained that goal but also had the opportunity to conduct research in, and contribute to, the field of Aerospace Sciences using world-class facilities to my heart’s content.

Amongst an ocean of naysayers, I found outstanding mentors who could see the fire within me. They taught me to be confident, vocal, and forthright about achieving what I want.

I am ever so thankful to them for believing in me on this magical journey.

Today, there is a lot of contentment. But I shall never forget that the doors that are open to me today were closed even a decade ago. And I shall never forget where I started; I shall never forget.

Isn’t it rather wonderful that this magical journey came to an end in the city of dreaming spires? As I introspect, all I can utter is:

“And that sweet city with her dreaming spires,
She needs not June for beauty’s heightening,
Lovely all times she lies, lovely to-night!”

PS: this photo was taken shortly after passing my DPhil Viva.

In frame: Hassan Saad Ifti
Aerospace Engineering Student at Oxford

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