In June 1998, 22 civil servants from Bangladesh arrived in Northern Ireland with one goal in mind - to complete the Government Financial Management programme at Ulster University. The 13-week programme was held at the Jordanstown campus and stole Ekram’s heart immediately.

The campus, faculty members, library, the surroundings, dormitory, everything linked with our stay at UUJ had put a great impression on us. The campus within a lush green surrounding can steal the heart of any newcomer here. I used to walk and run through the roads of campus in the evening and also enjoy swimming at the swimming pool.

It wasn’t only the leisure facilities that he remembered so fondly; it was also the level of teaching, the educational facilities and the friendly and supportive staff – with a special mention to the ‘ever smiling’ Professor Colin Knox, Professor Noel Hyndman and Mr Steve Harvey.
Ekram at ceremony

The academic environment was fantastic, and the teachers gave their best to make our study easier. All the classes were participatory, and the learning environment was so beautiful that attending classes never became boring. The library is a very rich one. The collection of books is an enormous one, and the cataloguing of books was very systematic, very easy to find books quickly.

The Northern Irish hospitality also didn’t go unnoticed with Ekram, and he was taken back by the friendliness of the local people.

I liked Northern Ireland and the people there. The people of NI are very warm and friendly, and I wish them well-being always. I visited NI twice, and the memories often pushes me to prepare a plan to go again to my favourite place, the UUJ.

With plans to return someday, we are very much looking forward to welcoming Ekram back with open arms to Ulster University, and with a new chapter unfolding, we can’t wait to show him around.