Thursday, July 22

Holes Carved in my Soul: The Final Word

I am almost back in the United States. What a year it has been. To begin to describe the Fulbright journey is to begin a novel of my personal and professional growth. As I sit here in the Edinburgh airport waiting for my flight to New York, I leave Bangladesh free as bird. Not that Bangladesh ever caged me. It was my frightened, insecure ego that kept me confined. But Fulbright and Bangladesh gave enough space to spread my wings and discover a world of endless possibilities--a world available to me if I climbed out of that shell and believed.

My heart still aches for Bangladesh: for the work that finally came together, for the friends who stole my heart, for the passion of such a congested place. I passed through Kolkata on my home, stepping into memories where the paagli didi journey began--I know I'll be back in Bangladesh at some point. My first visit to India effected me enough that I went back. Then when Bengal touched my heart, I came back again. I've proven that when I care about a place, I manage to find a way back.

So here is the end of my Fulbright experience in Bangladesh. I recommend Fulbright (or any similar scholarship) to any young person wanting a challenge. It has been the most rewarding experience in my life (though young, I've had plenty of amazing experiences). As for Bangladesh: when people ask the trite question, "What is Bangladesh like?" My answer is always "intense and beautiful." South Asia is just raw and real, that's what's beautiful. To paraphrase a metaphor by poet Andrea Gibson, Bangladesh is a knife that carves holes in your soul so beauty can make its way inside.

Endless thanks to those who were a part of this odyssey, both in Bangladesh and abroad. The shape of the journey depends on the company, and your company enveloped me in love. So love is all I experienced.

If anyone is interested in learning more about women's empowerment, Bangladesh or the Fulbright scholarship, please email me at amanda dot ferrandino (at) gmail dot com.


  1. Hi Amanda! My name is Mary and I work for the State Department's Fulbright Office. Would you be interested in writing a "highlight" for our website? If so, email me at

    Welcome home, and thanks for your blog. It's been a pleasure to read.


  2. Yeah, it's a gut-wrenching feeling to see people like you, born and lived in luxury, come to Bangladesh, a country plagued with poverty and sufferings where its wretched inhabitants spent their whole life struggling for a morsel of food. The humbleness of life style in this poor country added a whole different taste during your stay here in your everlasting luxurious life style which is the reason you are so delighted about your Bangladesh visit experience. The poverty, the sufferings, the bleakness, the inconveniences everything you experienced here were short and your subconscious mind always knew that you never had to continue it forever and so you could enjoy your temporary stay in Bangladesh amidst all inconveniences. Well, it is not so who are Bangladeshis like me, trapped inside a torture cell, constantly being tortured mentally in the process of mass production of worries of poverty-stricken life. Yes, I am one of them. Here I need to trade off my food cost with the cost of my education. Here I get corroded inside for the grief of not being able to study at one of the top 50 universities of the world for not having the money even after I was offered a place in the university. Here I struggle for everything even for earning a place to complete toilet in decency. Yes that's the harshness of life we undergo in every second and have to undergo till our last breath. You experienced this same harshness for a short time and it was fun for you because you always knew you can go back to your luxurious life style. But we cannot. We pine day after day, trapped inside this living hell and shed tears silently. So long.

  3. Nice,
    Thanks for your grateful informations, I am working in, asian affairs magazine

    so it will be a better information’s for me. Try to post best informations like this always

    Bangladesh: A nation in search of its soul