The Story of the Bangladeshi Student Association

The Bangladeshi Student Association (BSA) at Florida State University (FSU) is a vibrant and active student organization that serves as a social, cultural and educational platform for Bangladeshi students and others interested in Bangladeshi culture. Since the BSA was founded in 2014 with 10 members, they have grown to include 78 official members --- a combination of enrolled students and recent graduates. The wider community, which includes spouses and children, is around 120. The majority of the students from Bangladesh are in doctoral programs in the STEM areas.

The first students at Florida State from Bangladesh connected to the BSA can be dated back to as early as 2009. Conversations began about starting this group in 2013 and soon after it came to fruition. Founded during the 2014-15 academic year, the BSA aims to promote and preserve Bangladeshi culture, history and traditions through various cultural events, seminars and community outreach programs. The organization also aims to provide support and guidance to Bangladeshi students at FSU, helping them to integrate and succeed in the campus community and beyond.

How has this group and the Bangladeshi population at FSU grown so much in such a short time? They have also taken it upon themselves to go back home to try and recruit more students to come to Florida State. Several members of BSA have gone back to where they received their bachelor's degree in Bangladesh to give presentations to current students about Florida State in an effort to get them to choose FSU as the next step in their academic journey. They have also worked with the Bangladeshi US Embassy to do a presentation and Q&A to help promote FSU to students in Bangladesh.

There are several other reasons for this. A big attraction to FSU is the MagLab as that is something only Florida State can offer these students. FSU’s widely respected STEM majors have also been a main attraction to Bangladeshi students, as well as other students from around the world. Another reason many of the members gave was the weather. The hot temperatures, humidity and rain are a real attraction to these students because it reminds them of the weather back home in Bangladesh. Several of the Bangladeshi students referenced climates in America that they have lived in or have had family members live in and talked about how uncomfortable the cold could be for them.

Having a large and engaged community on campus has been a massive help to all new students. Moving to a new country can always be very tricky and difficult, but it is very helpful to have some people here who have gone through the process already to make all of the new stuff less daunting. They hold a reception at the beginning of each academic year to welcome new students and have a farewell event at the end of the year to send off and celebrate those who have completed their degrees.

One of the main objectives of the BSA is to celebrate and showcase Bangladeshi culture through various cultural events and festivals. These events not only help to raise awareness about Bangladesh but also provide a platform for Bangladeshi students to showcase their talents and cultural heritage. Some of the annual events organized by the BSA include the Boishakhi Mela (Bengali New Year), Muslim and Hindu religious festivals and they also host cricket tournaments.

Overall, the Bangladeshi Student Association at Florida State University is an active and dynamic organization that plays an important role in promoting and preserving Bangladeshi culture, while also providing support and guidance to Bangladeshi students at FSU. Through its various cultural events, seminars and community outreach programs, the BSA helps to build bridges between different cultures and communities and fosters a sense of belonging and inclusivity on campus.

Members have said that one of their favorite events on campus is the International Coffee Hour held every Friday from 5 - 6:30 p.m. at the Center for Global Engagement. They said it was a great time for them to close out the week and spend time with one another as their schedules during the week don't always align. They also commented on how much they enjoy the CGE staff and the support they have received and they enjoy the space available to them in The Globe.