I want to congratulate all students in Bangladesh who have received offers of admission from one of the over 4,500 accredited institutions of higher learning in the United States. Graduates of US universities have gone on to become leaders and innovators in many fields around the world, and you should be proud of the invitation to join a select group of young people whose lives will be changed forever by the dynamism, openness, and quality of campuses across the United States.
Offers of admission are the product of much careful thought and hard work, both by the students who apply and by American universities that conduct a rigorous review of these applications. We recognise the energy and creativity you poured into essays about your dreams and ideas, the hard work it took to prepare for English language and other examinations, and the commitments you fulfilled to community service and extra-curricular interests.
Over one million international students are now in US higher education institutions, maintaining the United States’ longstanding position as the world’s top host nation for international students. This is a testament to the unmatched quality of American higher education in the eyes of international students and their families.
Bangladesh has an impressive history of sending bright and talented students to the United States. Last year more than 6,500 Bangladeshi students attended universities and colleges in the United States. Bangladesh ranks 11th globally for graduate students and 26th for undergraduate students studying in the United States.
International students from diverse backgrounds strengthen ties between the United States and countries around the world, developing the relationships between people and communities that are necessary to solve global challenges. We value inclusion, and actively support students from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds on campuses across the United States for the unique and varied perspectives you provide both in and out of classrooms. American students and communities benefit from the rich opportunity interaction brings to expand their own world views, which helps prepare all of us for shared, successful futures in an interconnected world.
US colleges and universities take pride in providing safe, welcoming environments for all their students, and I want to stress how welcome you are in the United States. Many universities have come together to send a specific and direct message to students around the world through the #YouAreWelcomeHere Campaign. I join them in welcoming you to the United States, where our colleges and universities offer valuable educational opportunities to help you meet your life and career goals.
Consular officials at the US embassy in Dhaka work diligently to process visa requests for qualified students. Information about the visa process and eligibility are available at <https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html> or <https://bd.usembassy.gov/visas/>. EducationUSA advisers worldwide stand ready to answer questions about studying in the United States. You can find an adviser and learn more about the three EducationUSA centers here in Bangladesh at educationusa.state.gov. Every Thursday we also host weekly visa chats on our Facebook page to answer questions about the visa application process.
Another resource is the American Alumni Association www.aaa.net.bd <http://www.aaa.net.bd> - an association of Bangladeshis who have acquired degrees from US educational institutions, who are willing to talk about their experiences and the benefits derived from study in the United States.
As the US ambassador to Bangladesh, I personally encourage those of you who have received offers of admission to accept this life-changing opportunity and join your peers in experiencing the unique value of an American higher education.
American colleges and universities welcome you, as do the American people and communities throughout our country.
*Marcia Bernicat is the current US ambassador to Bangladesh.