Sausan Rahmat Ullah

Wed Oct 27 2021 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)


Every year during summer break, my parents and I would pack our bags and fly to Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia. My grandparents, Nana and Nani, lived in Dhaka surrounded by my cousins, and I was extra mischievous in their presence. Nani had chickens in her backyard, and I always loved to shoo them away when they came around to lay eggs. When the neighborhood boys played cricket, I would jump over the fence and steal their cricket ball. When the electricity went out, our entire family would go up to the roof to wave to our neighbors and share ghost stories. One of my favorite pastimes was going on long drives in my grandfather’s microbus , racing the other drivers along the road. These were my memories of Bangladesh—a place of belongingness, playful mischief and adventure.

After high school, I went to the United States for further education. As a third culture kid, I have always felt a duty to share the richness of Bangladeshi culture and our language. After unsuccessfully searching for Bangla learning materials online, I decided to start the Learn Bangla YouTube channel. I taught myself to shoot and edit videos, starting off with short scripts and footage of beautiful tourist attractions. I wanted to make our culture more present and more accessible. While my initial target audience was Bangladeshis abroad, the channel gained the most traction among foreigners in relationships with Bangladeshis. I’m happy more people are able to see, hear, and live in Bangla. Last year, I launched the first official Bangla course online.

In 2013, I moved to Bangladesh, chasing the comfort of my childhood memories. It was a big step. I was worried at first about finding work in the country. Moreso, I feared local work politics. By Allah’s grace, I found a job in my field fairly quickly. While my colleagues were initially suspicious that my settling in Bangladesh was temporary, they warmed up to me after realizing that I was there to stay. I was relieved to find that my previous closeness with my cousins remained, despite having grown up in different countries. No matter how busy they were, people were always open to cha, fuska, and adda.