Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Ethan Sahker
Shamsun Naher Nilu and Mohammad Shamsul Alam

Shamsun Naher Nilu and Mohammad Shamsul Alam

International student parents Mohammad Shamsul Alam and Shamsun Naher Nilu are further proof that we can work hard and make our children’s lives better than our own. Asif Mahmood Alam is an international graduate student at the University of Iowa working on his MBA. His parents believe the American dream is obtainable, and can be reached through sacrifice, hard work and support. 

Asif wrote about his family’s story, “Getting a higher education degree from a top notch university has always been my dream. But the distance between dream and reality was sky high.”

Mr. Shamsul Alam and Mrs. Naher Nilu raised their three children in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mr. Shamsul Alam went to college for electrical engineering. Even with such a degree, life in Bangledesh was not easy. Mr. Shamsul Alam was forced to work extra long hours and travel great distances to keep the dream alive for his family.

“Even to this date he has been traveling more than 100 miles daily and spending 4-5 hours commuting to and from his work to create a better life for us and to fulfill our dreams,” Asif wrote. “If I am in the US today, it’s only because my father was there to support me financially and mentally, and because he never forgot to inspire me to get my MBA abroad.”

Mrs. Naher Nilu was also instrumental in the success of her children. She was a stay-at-home mother and raised Asif and his two younger sisters. Even with all of this work she still found time and resources to give back to her village, helping others make a comfortable life in Bangladesh. An educated woman, she put her family above all else. 

“She sacrificed her career and never looked for a job to raise us,” Asif recalled, “She is the one who taught us to dream big.”

Giving back can be truly felt when we see we have made our parents proud. It’s another thing altogether when we feel a sense of pride for our parents, just as Asif did, “I wanted to see superheroes face to face when I was a kid. I didn’t realize they were always there in front of me wearing the mask of my parents.”