BANGLADESH CADET COLLEGES’ VISIT TO THE UK : AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE — MD. MAHMUD UNNOOR HASSAN, COMILLA CADET COLLEGE
Since the inception of Cadet College System in 1958, the Cadet Colleges of Bangladesh have been successfully producing the leaders both in civil and military arenas. Their contributions to the country are remarkable as the cadets are trained in a sound academic atmosphere with a compact reinforcement of the practices of other leadership qualities. Being exposed to a tough training environment, the cadets learn to manage and overcome any challenge on the way of life.
Cadets’ visit to the United Kingdom is a part of those programs which expose the cadets to unique opportunities of opening new horizons of their skills and abilities. The participation in the Adventurous Training in Duke of York’s Royal Military School (DoYRMS) is one of the such opportunities. Every year the best cadets of the cadet colleges of Bangladesh are participating in the exchange program between Duke of York’s Royal Military School and Bangladesh Cadet Colleges. As members of the contingent of the year 2017, we started our journey on March 20. Our visit to DoYRMS was designed from March 21 to April 02 of 2017, in which, we the Bangladeshi cadets worked alongside the DoYRMS British counterparts to achieve a number of physical tests and expeditions. We, the 12 selected cadets from 12 cadet colleges across the country took part in the training programme. We were accompanied by two teachers Mr. Tariqul Alam from MCC and Ms. Meherun Nesa from FGCC. The visit became amazingly enjoyable as well as fruitful under the supervision of our team leader Major Farhana Islam, Adjutant of Mymensingh Girls’ Cadet College (MGCC). In fact, the journey was the beginning of endlesss amazement and wonder…!
When we arrived at Heathrow Airport, it was, by then, the spring in England. Though the frigid air from the south was keeping us busy in pulling the warm jackets but the coldness was totally gone due to the coziness of reception by Lt. Col. Steven Saunderson, Vice Principal and Mr. Alex Foreman, Principal of DoYRMS. We would remember that cordiality throughout our life. However, on the first day of our training tour, we had a leadership training conducted by Major Andrew Nunn. We were given some indoor command tasks, theoretical and practical lessons which not only gave us a clear idea on leadership but also changed our thoughts, our outlooks and even let us know who we really were.
On the second day, we visited a chapel with Lt. Col. Saunderson, where sang a hymn with the ‘Dukees’ (The students of DoYRMS were called to be by this name). Lt. Col. Saunderson, briefed us the history of the chapel, showed the list of martyrs who sacrificed for British Empire in World Wars I and II. In fact, it was not important how much we learnt about their religion; rather how we showed liberalism was worthwhile. On that day, our second event was a training on first-aid. This was conducted by Lt. Phillimore who showed us primary survey, wound care and CPR. This session was very much practical and helpful enough to imprint the knowledge in our mind forever. On the 4th day, March 24, we started for Dartmoor from Dover to reach the Okehampton Battle Camp. It was quite a long journey, but the whole time we spent by sight-seeing from the bus and one time even caught the outsight of Stonehenge! However, when we reached the camp it was all dark and sullen except the starry sky. We all moved to our dorms and got prepared for the adventurous training. The following day we had our first event mountain climbing in the gym of a marine base and in the afternoon we went for mountain biking. Mountain biking was a complete thrill for all of us as it was for the first time in our life. We biked through the zigzags of hilly Dartmoor for long 18 miles, enjoyed the soothing zephyr and sight of landscape touching the horizon. It was an exciting experience indeed. Next day, it was March 26, our first National Independence Day outside our own land. Standing on the foreign soil, breathing in freed air, outlandish dishes served before and speaking in a foreign tongue, we could understand for the first time in our life the real value of independence. At night we celebrated our independence day in a Bangladeshi restaurant with indigenous food. As our next event was expedition and camping, we were taught map reading, use of emergency tent and grade reference (GR) determination. So on 27th March, we had our backpack ready, with first aid kit and emergency tent alongside, and set out for camping. We had our expedition through the rocky lands, crossing steamy canals, climbing the steepness of slopes of Dartmoor, crossing boggy lands. Finding the way ourselves, we walked for 16 km with 12kg haversack on the back. We reached the Willsworthy camp, cooked our own food and most importantly spent the night in a tent. We lived every single moment with thrill. Finishing the expedition, we went for the water sports events on 29th wearing a wet suit, sodden with 20C water and added wind factor of minus one degree. We had to face the hardest day of our life. The day was enjoyable and full of sports like canoeing, rafting, sailing, wind-surfing, yachting and so on. On the final day of our training we performed Gorge Walking which I can easily term as the best experience of our life! Through the roaring river, on the slippery rocks and against speedy stream we walked. That was quite challenging. In the afternoon we went to Kelly College for high rope course. The full course was above 30 feet from the ground.
Thus our Adventurous Training ended, so we got back to DoYRMS and had our farewell. We were awarded full color from the school which happened to be the highest honor from that school. On our last day, we had our most expected London tour. We traveled the whole city with a bus and visited many historical places like the Houses of Parliament (Big Ben), Parliament Square, Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar’s Square, Piccadilly Circus, Victoria Monument, Covent Garden etc. We did not miss the Madame Tussaud’s Museum; the waxworks of the museum were so well furnished and looking so alive that we could hardly differentiate those from the surrounding crowd. We were just getting perplexed and mistaken while walking through the aisles of the wax works. It was incredible! We also rode on London Eye and had a look of entire London City. Thus the time flew down and came the time of departure. With the grace of the Almighty we safely landed Bangladesh on April 3.
This visit to the UK was immensely important and meaningful for all of us. This visit was not a mere experience of a foreign country tour; rather it valued even something more to us. As mentioned before, cadet colleges aim at making the cadets perfect human beings and developing them into perfect future leaders. This visit obviously pushed ahead our progress a place very near to that point. We got introduced with a completely new culture, new traditions, vast history and their lifestyle. All these boosted us up and encouraged us to dream. Now we feel the urge to make our country greater, we dream to take our country to the same line where stand the other developed countries. Besides, the adventurous training in the UK will remain as one of the most valuable memories in our hearts. We learnt a lot from this training, as well as we learnt from the company of our most respected team leader and the teachers. Moreover, I got such a group of friends both from fellow cadets and foreigners who unknowingly turned into my soul mates. This visit, overall, gave us the inspiration never to stop, to embrace all the challenges that come in the way of life. And this can be resembled by only one thing: that the motto of DoYRMS-
“…Looking forward with confidence
Looking back with pride …“
WRITTEN BY: MD. MAHMUD UNNOOR HASSAN
CADET NOOR, CADET NO: 1696
COMILLA CADET COLLEGE