Wien scholar Aichuk Tripura ’22 follows in father’s footsteps

Aichuck Tripura '22 and his father, Prashanta '86, are both recipients of the Wien International Scholarship, launched 60 years ago.

Prashanta Tripura and Aichuk TripuraPhoto/Prashanta Tripura

Prashanta Tripura '86 (left) and his son, Aichuk '22

Aichuk Tripura ’22 heard plenty about Brandeis while growing up from his father, Prashanta, a member of the university’s class of 1986.

But Aichuk wasn’t sure he’d be able to follow in his father’s footsteps, as he, like most of his friends in Dhaka, Bangladesh, considered studying in America to be a dream, not an expectation.

“I always wanted to study in the U.S.,” Aichuk said. “It is the land of opportunity. There is also very high quality education here so all my friends wanted to study in the USA. For me, personally, I didn’t know for a fact that I would study in the U.S. It was more of a hope.”

However, both members of this father-son duo were able to turn their educational dreams into reality thanks to a first-of-its kind scholarship that identifies students from around the world to enroll at Brandeis.

Both Aichuk and his father arrived at Brandeis through the Wien International Scholarship Program. The program, which celebrates its 60th anniversary on March 9, encourages its scholarship recipients to use their Brandeis education to become engaged global citizens. Since its inception, 894 students from 115 countries have attended Brandeis.

Prashanta, an academic anthropologist turned development professional who most recently taught at BRAC University in Bangladesh, brought his son on a tour of Brandeis in 2017 during a family vacation. Aichuk, who finally got to see where his father studied as an undergraduate, knew he wanted to return to campus as a student.

“My father’s old stories about Brandeis were interesting and I think there was definitely a spark within me when I heard some of them,” Tripura said. “Even then, in my father’s time, the social justice elements were very strong on campus. He helped paint a picture of Brandeis, and it seemed great.”

Prashanta, who returned to Brandeis for the first time in nearly three decades while on his family trip, is thrilled that his son is following a similar path.

“When I came to know that our visit got Aichuk sufficiently interested to seek admission to Brandeis, I was glad and had my fingers crossed,” the elder Tripura said. “ Later, I would be very happy when one fine morning last March Aichuk informed me that he had been admitted with a Wien Scholarship. This had been my quiet wish, so seeing it come true was a source of great joy to me.”

“I am very proud and happy that my son is continuing a special legacy, which is that of attending the same college that I too went to, on the same scholarship, an experience that I was transformed by, and remember very fondly,” he added.

Aichuk has kept busy in his first year. Although his major is still undeclared, he said he will probably pursue computer science. He also spends his free time with the guitar club, working on 3D design, and volunteering for STAND, a student group that raises awareness of genocide.

One thing that has impressed Tripura at Brandeis is the amount of resources afforded to students, whether it’s in the form clubs, equipment, or research opportunities.

“When you change countries every aspect is different,” Aichuk said. “There are an insane amount of facilities here. Just as an example, I can go to the Getz Multimedia Lab in the library and all the Mac computers are loaded with software I can use to edit music or do 3D animation – software that would cost me hundreds of dollars if I wanted to pay out of my own pocket.”

“There are also just so many clubs and events happening all the time,” he added. “Everything is different here to be honest. There’s just a lot to do.”

Aichuk said his interest in technology and computer science may lead him to pursue a career in mobile application design. That said, he’s not looking too far ahead yet, as he wants to savor every moment of Brandeis experience.

He plans to attend the Wien International Scholarship Program’s 60th anniversary celebration on March 9 and 10. He said he’s impressed with the program’s record of helping students who, like him not long ago, dream of studying in America from an ocean away.

“The Wien has been around for 60 years, which is older than my father, who was also a Wien scholar,” Aichuk said. “It’s very impressive that it’s been around for so many years. It’s a great opportunity for so many people.”

“The best part of coming to study in the U.S., and at Brandeis, is the fresh ideas and new thoughts you hear every day in the academic setting,” Aichuk added. “I think that’s pivotal. That’s how humans change the most. If you can change the way you think, you change who you are.”

Does Aichuk have any advice for future Wien scholars?

“You’ve got something big on your hands so don’t waste it – go in with enthusiasm from the beginning by staying involved and making as many connections as you can,” he said. “This is a very valuable opportunity.”

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