Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

An international student finds community far from home

If college wasn’t challenging enough, imagine doing it 8,000 miles from home. For sophomore Anika Tabassum ’26, facing this challenge at Redlands has been met with a supportive community and endless opportunities.

“I could tell immediately that she was engaged in her academic journey,” said Associate Professor Scott Randolph, who has worked closely with Anika since her first days at Redlands. “In her case, it was clear what she wanted to do, and the question then became, is it possible to accomplish in the time that I’m here.”

Double majoring in computer science and business administration, Anika wants to bring opportunity to other women in Bangladesh, a country steeped in tradition and the place she calls home. There, women typically remain inside the home while men work.

“I want to become an entrepreneur and allow women to work and have financial independence,” Anika said. “I am deeply fascinated by how technology can drive business growth and efficiency.” Having broad interests from the latest in web development to the evolving landscape of digital marketing and e-commerce, she believes that “understanding both the technical and business sides of a product is essential to its success.”

Already projecting the entrepreneurial spirit, the Hunsaker Scholar has become a student mentor, running a Facebook and YouTube channel dedicated to encouraging Bangladeshi youth to attend college. Still in its infancy, the channels have amassed more than 45,000 followers and accumulated millions of views.

“I help students come to the United States through my videos,” Anika said. The channels cover everything college-related, including “how to apply for full-ride scholarships.”

Anika lights up every room she walks into. This has benefited her in building a close-knit community on campus and staving off homesickness. In addition to faculty mentors and U of R students, Anika’s supportive community includes Maria Williams, assistant director, employer & alumni connections, from the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD). At the OCPD, Williams and her team assist students in their career journey – from drafting their first resume to suggestions on what to wear for an interview. In addition to many conversations with Anika, Williams has assisted through the student’s Hunsaker Scholarship journey and admires her trajectory.

“She’s overcome everything from navigating dorm life to figuring out health insurance,” Williams said. “The sky is the limit for her. The only one that is going to tell her no is herself.”

Redlands has rapidly become Anika’s new home away from home, inspiring her to consistently ask questions that matter, and grab attention in a crowded room. Continuing to remain humble, Anika showcases what it means to be an international student while establishing a supportive community in this new landscape.

To learn more about support for international students, admissions, and the Computer Science program, visit the provided links.