A wonderful Experience!
In Bangladesh, in general, the brilliant students of commerce would like to pursue their higher studies either in Accounting or Finance. In 1996, when I stood first in merit list in Rajshahi Education Board from Commerce group and decided to pursue my higher studies on Marketing, I didn’t get support from my family, teachers, and well-wishers except two teachers of my college. But I was determined and from marketing department, finally gained the ‘student of the year’ award for obtaining highest CGPA among the firsts of all departments of my batch. Till now for a single moment, I have not felt that my decision was ‘wrong’ because I have enjoyed all out marketing in my life.
When I joined as lecturer, the real insights of marketing become apparent to me. I realized that the scope of marketing studies is so wide that I should concentrate on a specific arena. I discussed with my wife; she is also a teacher of marketing in a university, and chose ‘tourism’ for my further studies. The reasons are enormous. But the main reasons are…now the numbers of marketing students are increasing rapidly but specialized people on tourism are very few in Bangladesh. So, having degree in this field can tag me with the first generation tourism studied people of our country.
On the other hand, each year huge number of international travelers visits India and Nepal which are very close neighboring countries to us. Unfortunately, very few of them come to visit Bangladesh; in spite of having the largest mangrove forest of the world (Sundarbans), longest sandy sea beach (Cox’s Bazar), unique coral Island (Saint Martin’s), the attractive rain forest of Asia (Lawacherra), and so on. Most probably, the reasons are not revealed accurately yet. So, after having my education in tourism, I can devote (research and teaching) my gained knowledge for the enrichment of this sector. I fix my target to work on ‘tourism marketing’ which can create synergy with my knowledge of marketing.
Last year when I notice the circular of ‘European Master in Tourism Management (EMTM)’ with Erasmus Mundus scholarship, I feel that it can be really helpful to reach my target. Because, actually our university degrees are less ‘research’ oriented. And so, at least without having an M. Phil or research oriented Master degree, top ranked universities do not accept us as Ph. D. student. Earlier I wrote many professors for Ph. D. admission but after giving delighted complements of my CV, finally they have said, you have very poor research background. It’s true, because to complete BBA and MBA in our country, a student, has to complete (maximum) 5 to 8 percent research courses (including internship). The course structure of EMTM was also very appealing and so I was keenly expecting to get selection in this program; finally I got it and waiting to discover the wonders of three legendary countries of Europe.
Our first semester is in University of Southern Denmark at Esbjerg campus. Next countries are Slovenia and Spain. Though the coordinating office is in Spain, my dream was always centered to Denmark because; my dream will become true in this land first! The international office is very efficient in handling overseas issues. For this, actually, we didn’t undergo any trouble to enter Denmark (simply which is not common). Through entering Denmark on 26th of August, 2010 I have started to discover the historic and natural treasures of this beautiful land. The first week of our orientation was really tightening scheduled. When chasing schedules everyone was ‘annoyed’ but finally in feedback session all praised the arrangements of international office!
The higher education system of Denmark is quite different than us. Bangladeshi method is much more dependent on ‘memorizing’ but here nobody will ask you to remember anything to pass in the exams. Understanding the issues is given much priority in this system. Our teachers always try to provide us huge current and relevant documents for reading and understanding. The classes are for ‘mind sharing’ and getting more insights. No traditional exams are existent here; all tests are about home assignments, group work, presentations, and finally submission a project paper for each course. This system has made us compelled to read a lot, share our thoughts with class/group mates. Recently we have completed our first quarter and submitted our two project papers as final exams.
In case of studying tourism, Denmark is an ideal place certainly. Except high cost structure, everything is favorable for tourists and tourism studies. By only two and half months, we have visited many tourist spots as part of our academic work. Sometimes the authorities e.g. Mr. Jakob, project coordinator of Fanoe Island (recently declared as national park of Denmark) has given presentations on history, functions, management etc. before us; Guided tours at Wadden Sea center or Ribe (the most ancient city of Denmark); Meet with the CEO of VisitDenmark (the official guide to Denmark) were really helpful to have practical knowledge of tourism. Besides, our different groups have visited Germany, Sweden, and Norway in vacations (as no visa is required to travel in Schengen area).
Initially there were ‘academic writing’ classes which were really helpful for having the knowledge of writing assignments and project papers. The very positive side of studying in Denmark is the research oriented approach. Producing papers for final exams will really make us prepared to carry out more research or higher studies. Our final semester is totally assigned for practical research and writing thesis paper. This trend is also helpful for being a part of planning team or policy making. Studying in Denmark and Europe is really helpful for enhancing the quality of research and knowledge development. I am trying to take full advantage of this opportunity.
The writer, Md. Abdul Hamid , is a teacher of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh and now pursuing his master’s program at Denmark, Slovenia and Spain under Erasmus Mundus scholarship program.
This article is uploaded by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’. Please join the online Views On Tourism network and discussion group in order to achieve personal goals as well as encourage a sustainable tourism development in Bangladesh and South Asia. Read more about this group and how to become a member here.