An ocean away

Tasrin Tabia ‘23 shares her experiences moving from Bangladesh to Iowa

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Imagine moving 7,896 miles across the world, to a place where you didn’t know the language or the culture. 

When Tasrin Tabia ‘23 was seven years old, she, her mother and her younger sister moved from Bangladesh to the United States. Her father, older brother and older sister were already in America. They had arrived in the U.S. a year before. 

When she lived in Bangladesh, Tabia cared for her three year old sister, who had health issues. This affected Tabia greatly. When Tabia was taking care of her sister, she would constantly check on her to make sure she was okay. She was scared, and said that it was a bad experience for her.

“Health problems are really scary,” Tabia said. “And, and I got really sympathetic with other people. Because in our neighborhood, though, a lot of people were sick a lot.” 

Pneumonia was common where Tabia lived. 

“You shouldn’t judge people by whatever disease or health issues they have. Just be sympathetic, and… be respectful,” Tabia said.

Tabia said she has a very strong connection with her sister. They are very close to this day.

When Tabia lived in Bangladesh, she lived with her aunt, uncle, and cousins, who could be mean to her and her siblings. 

“My cousin, she would like, in a way, bully my siblings and I,” Tabia said.

This made Tabia feel uncomfortable in her own home. It was a huge relief when she moved. 

Tabia said one of the happiest times of her life was when she came to America. She found the experiences of moving new and fascinating. 

“So – first we had to take a train to the airport,” Tabia said.. “In the train, there were bunk beds. It just amazed me so much… I got the top bed.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When they arrived, Tabia attended Borlaug Elementary in Coralville, Iowa.

“I don’t remember a lot from second grade because I didn’t know any English at all. But as I got older, I learned a lot,” Tabia said.

In Bangladesh, Tabia recalls that in school children were hit with rulers if they got an answer wrong. School in the United States was a much different experience. 

“There were a lot of people that were helping me with stuff (At Borlaug). There were a lot of people that would help out if I needed something or I didn’t understand something. So that was positive.”

A friend of Tabia’s, Lana Ahmed ‘23, describes Tabia as caring and a friend who is always there for her. 

“I text her everyday. That’s pretty important… just out of nowhere we start texting each other,” Ahmed said. 

A mantra that Tabia lives by is to see the best in people.

“You can’t forget it, but you can forgive them,” Tabia said. “Give people chances.”

 

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