Wednesday, April 24, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

See the world as your oyster

Decoding pathway programs for potential international students

Update : 04 Apr 2024, 03:54 PM

The journey of international students, from setting ambitions to celebrating achievements, is criss-crossed through unfamiliar territories. Thousands of Bangladeshi students attempt to enroll in foreign universities to pursue their academic and professional goals every year. However, because of the complexities of fulfilling the admission requirements, like preparing for standardized tests and language proficiency assessments, and also managing visa applications and financial plans, the road to higher education seems daunting to many.

In an era when opportunities are increasingly becoming globalized, it is crucial to equip our students with the right set of knowledge and skills to help them navigate the complexities of international academia with confidence. In this regard, pathway programs can play a pivotal role, facilitating the transition to higher education abroad for students.

Beyond the common apprehensions of Bangladeshi students and parents, pathway programs provide an alternative gateway to quality education at reputed universities across the world. Pathway programs offer a structured roadmap for students to enhance their academic skills, improve language proficiency, and acclimate to the academic and cultural norms, often specifically for the foreign universities of their preference.

By providing tailored curriculum, personalized support, and access to exclusive resources, pathway programs bridge the gap between local educational systems and the distinct demands of international academia.

One misconception surrounding pathway programs in Bangladesh is that they emphasize only on English language proficiency. While language proficiency is undoubtedly a crucial component to ensure smoother adaptability, pathway programs offer much more than that.

These programs prepare students with a 360-degree approach, equipping them with essential skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and cross-cultural communication. For students coming from diverse social, cultural, and financial backgrounds, pathway programs can definitively enrich the academic experience, laying the very foundations for their success and growth.

When driven right, pathway programs can be a transformative journey in itself. In the best-case scenario, students emerge with a robust academic foundation, enriched cultural experiences, and a global perspective that makes them accommodative and empathetic. Equipped with newfound confidence gained through networking, internships, and career advancement, the students begin to truly seize opportunities and cope best even in adverse scenarios.

Contextually, in the worst-case scenario, one’s journey abroad may be filled with unprecedented challenges. Even in the face of temporary hardship, students learn to show resilience, adaptability, and perseverance that has been instilled within them by the pathway programs.

Therefore, it is safe to say that pathway programs do not aim to solve one or two specific problems, but rather aim to teach students how to embrace a setback as a stepping stone, and leverage them as opportunities for self-discovery.

We are familiar with the courageous notion of having the world as one’s oyster, and this is perhaps how the value of pathway programs can be truly understood, as these programs prepare students to see their surroundings with a pro-active mindset.

It gives them a sense of reality, and helps them acknowledge that it is possible to thrive and shine no matter how critical the situation becomes, as long as one has the right skills, dedication and patience.

In Bangladesh, there are few institutions who are currently facilitating many aspiring young students as a launchpad to their dream academic careers at prestigious universities abroad. Assuring cost-effectivity, the arrangement has been done in such a way that allows students to complete their first year from right here in Bangladesh.

It is understandable that every parent wants the best and most secure avenue for their offspring to find a prosperous career. And for this reason, overcoming apprehensions regarding higher education abroad and pathway programs shall naturally require a nuanced understanding of the opportunities and challenges involved.

Ambreen Zaman is Senior Lecturer, Universal College Bangladesh (UCB).

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