The LFE (Live-in Field Experience) Program is a unique course offered by Chittagong Independent University (CIU) under which students spend 13 days in a rural setting where they gain first hand knowledge about rural life in Bangladesh. The course has two major aims. First, to make the students aware about the vibrancy of rural life in Bangladesh, and make them realize that life goes on without many of the amenities of city life. Second, make them aware about the importance of leadership and teamwork within a group of different individuals. CIU believes that these two goals will enable each student to reach their individual potentials’ which will enable them to succeed in a competitive environment.
The LFE is a mandatory 3 Credit course which all undergraduate majors have to complete in order to graduate from CIU. Usually students enroll for this course in their third (junior) year of study. At present CIU students travel to two venues for the LFE. Bangladesh Academy of Rural Development (BARD), which is a National Level Government research and training institute situated in Korbari, Comilla and Friends In Village Development Bangladesh (FIVDB), an NGO based in Khadimnagar, Sylhet. Students are randomly assigned to one of the two venues. The LFE Program is held in May and December/January. Students are divided into groups of 5 consisting of both male and female group members, while one group member is selected as the Group Leader.
The LFE Program consists of two principal components, the Field Visit and the Individual Report. The Field Visit lasts for 13 days, while the students are usually given 8 weeks time from the date of returning to CIU to submit their Individual Reports’. In the field, students collect information on the following key areas: Village Resource Mapping and Transect Walk, Social Change Process, Health and Environment, Economy and Rural Production Cycle, and Rural Market Analysis. In the field, the students give a First Presentation on the day’s fieldwork according to the topic, and a Final Presentation where all groups present their findings.
Presently, the LFE Program is managed and implemented by the LFE Management Committee which consists of experienced members of the CIU Faculty. Each member of the Committee has more than 5 years experience of managing the LFE Program. The Committee is tasked with the smooth planning and running of the LFE Program at each of the venues mentioned above, and ensuring the safety and security of the enrolled students. Senior students who have completed the LFE Program work as Student Monitors.