Dr Amardeep Chaudhary, a Nepalese student at the National Institute of Nuclear Medicine at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, is staying at Sir PG Hartog International Hall in Dhaka University amid the country-wide lockdown to curb the Covid-19 outbreak. He is satisfied with the way the authorities are taking care of him.
"Like everyone in the world, I am worried about Covid-19, however, I am fully safe here as the authorities always take care of me and provide me with all the essentials – including medicine. I am happy with the way the hall authorities are cooperating with us," said Amardeep Chaudhary.
He said his parents are worried but he talks to them every day, shares his experiences and tries to make them feel better.
Not only Amardeep, but the foreign students who are now studying at different public and private universities – and several medical colleges – in the country are satisfied as the authorities concerned are properly taking care of them.
At present, 1,847 foreign students – mostly from Nepal, Somalia and India – are studying at Bangladeshi universities and medical colleges. Of them, 461 study at public universities and medical colleges and 1,386 at private universities and medical colleges.
More than 100 foreign students, who are studying at different public universities and medical colleges in Dhaka city and its adjacent areas, are living at Sir PG Hartog International Hall.
Professor Dr M Mohiuddin, provost of Sir PG Hartog International Hall, told The Business Standard 80 percent of students returned to their countries of origin after the educational institutions were closed due to the novel coronavirus. At present, 23 foreign students are staying at the hall. The authorities have made all the arrangements to keep them safe.
"It is our responsibility to take care of the students. We have asked them to follow our directions along with those of the World Health Organization. No one is allowed to go outside the hall. They adhere to our directives," the provost said.
Dr Mohiuddin said they had told the students to ask for anything they need without any hesitation and he believes the students are happy with their services.
Apart from Dhaka University, more than 400 Somali students study at Dhaka International University (DIU).
Ahmad Mahad, a Somali student who is studying Electrical, Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering at DIU, said he was well and he had no shortage of necessary goods.
"We try to stay in our rooms. The university authorities have also told us to avoid public gatherings. We have everything we need in our rooms. We are quite satisfied," he said.
He said he calls university staff members whenever he needs anything and they provide the items.
Mike, a Nigerian student who also studies at the Pharmacy Department of DIU, told The Business Standard the novel coronavirus was a global crisis. He added, "Everyone is trying to protect themselves from it. No place is safe, including Bangladesh, but we have to survive."
"I am definitely worried and not feeling good, but my university is always with us and is encouraging us," he said.
"My parents call me at least 15 times a day. I tell them I am safe as my university is doing its best to take care of us properly," he added.
Mohammad Shah Alam Chowdhury, students' welfare adviser of DIU, told The Business Standard his university communicates with each student at least twice in a day. The university has a database of foreign students.
"Two dedicated staff members are on duty to communicate with the students. An MBBS doctor has been kept ready to treat the students in case of an emergency," he said.
Additionally, the university has launched a webpage for the foreign students where they can write about their needs including for food and medicine, he added.
"We have provided hand sanitiser, masks and gloves for each student. We are trying to keep the students safe and happy, " he said.
No foreign student has tested positive for Covid-19 in Bangladesh as of Friday evening.