Farhan Siddique read through the course structure carefully and the elements offered in it before applying to the course. The course on Human rights is advanced as it is a very wide topic. During his graduation, from Leiden University, he had earlier done an online certificate course which was on terrorism and counter-terrorism. This was the first time when he came across the University. Moreover, he discovered that Leiden University is one of the best universities to study human rights.
Farhan Siddique hails from Muzaffarpur (Bihar). He had to step out of his home town in Muzaffarpur (Bihar) at the age of 15. He studied at Aligarh Muslim University from Class 11 till graduation. He secured a BA LLB degree from Aligarh Muslim University. He got to know what other people think of his state and his people only after he moved out of Bihar. As he was from a marginalized community, he had to deal with other added layers of biases. He was ambitious about clearing that narrative. He was well aware of the fact that it is difficult to change the world. However, he thought that he can change the way in which people look at him.
As he had a keen interest in Social Sciences, he decided to study law. Moreover, his goal was to make a career in Human rights. He started looking for colleges and universities to specialize in human rights after his graduation. He then chose Geneva and Leiden in the end. Moreover, he was also lucky to go through both of them. As Geneva (Switzerland) was very expensive, he decided to go with Leiden University.
Procedure for applying to the course, researching colleges and more
He read through the course structure carefully and the elements offered in it before applying to the course. The course on Human rights is advanced as it is a very wide topic. During his graduation, from Leiden University, he had earlier done an online certificate course which was on terrorism and counter-terrorism. This was the first time when he came across the University. Moreover, he discovered that Leiden University is one of the best universities to study human rights.
He sent his transcripts of five years of BA LLB, wrote a statement of purpose, submitted a provisional degree and also sent two letters of recommendation in order to apply for the course. This was not something that he had dreamt of as he hailed from a farming family in Bihar. So, he couldn’t believe any part of it when it finally came true. However, this is just the first step. His dream is yet to be fulfilled. His first time abroad was when he came to the Netherlands in September 2022.
Netherlands and India – Poles apart in their aspects and elements
Farhan Siddique experienced so many cultural shocks when he came here, He found everything to be new starting from the food habits, culture, weather and teaching practices. He found everything to be very different from India. During the summer season, the sun sets at 9 pm. However, there is no sunlight for days in the winter season. All the time, people eat bread. Moreover, they also like their food when cold.
When it comes to academics, the teaching practice is very practical. People prefer both closed and open-book exams. However, there are only closed-book exams in India. The approach in the Netherlands is practical and it offers a lot of diversity. Most of his classmates possess prior experience. Moreover, it is difficult to compete with those whose first language is English as many of them have their second language as English.
The place in which he lives is a student housing facility that is provided by the university. It is a studio apartment. As eating out is expensive, he cooks his own food. Thus, he cannot afford to make eating out a daily habit. Above all, his preferences in food are different from those of the people who live in the Netherlands. From 14 different nationalities, there are 29 people in his class. From India, there are three more people. One is from Coorg, one is from Lucknow and the other one is from Jaipur. Here, his closest friends are from Switzerland, Lebanon, the US and Austria.
Reason for his choice of Leiden University to study Human Rights
One of the main reasons behind his opting to study Human rights from abroad instead of India is because much scope is not offered in India for the course. He plans to work in areas in which his degree could be of great help. In places such as the African nations, South Africa, Myanmar, Afghanistan and more, he will be able to make use of the degree that he had secured in advanced human rights.
He obtained a loan from HDFC Bank to study in the Netherlands. As they had asked for a lot of documents, the loan process was difficult. Moreover, it was a very bureaucratic process. However, as he hailed from a middle-class family of farmers, he had to avail the loan. Till 2018, his father was a ramp officer at Kolkata airport. He then left the job in order to become a full-time farmer. His mother is a housewife. He has an elder brother and an elder sister. His family is thus, a part of a huge joint family. He has not decided much about his future plans right now. However, he is sure of one thing, i.e., eventually, he will come back to India. The hiring has already begun. He has applied to organizations such as the United Nations and Amnesty.
Advice for students who wish to pursue education abroad
He has personal interests which include reading and keeping up to date with current affairs. He has the habit of reading news about whatever is happening across the globe. He reads the New Yorker and Al Jazeera in order to follow the world news. He follows The Indian Express in India.
Before going to the Netherlands, he met his parents last September. This is something that he misses a lot. However, he wishes to come back to India with his own money. Therefore, it would definitely take some more time. He wishes to advise the students who are planning to study abroad to be prepared mentally. He also advises them to begin preparations on their own. The students who wish to study abroad will be on their own as the world out here is very different. Even though people will be nice to you, it is very different from the life that you have grown up in.
Study Abroad is the broader experience that a student can gain during their studies. Students get to experience a variety of elements in their everyday life. In the initial stages, they may experience a cultural shock but once their gel in with the culture, they find the nation abroad as a home away from home. However, students must practice independency and self-sufficiency in order to be able to sustain their living in another nation. Moreover, when it comes to academics, students must be able to transition to the method of teaching and practical approach that is offered in the nations abroad. This will help them ace their study abroad experience easily.
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