Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I had visited USA quite a few times before and I really loved the people, freedom and the laid back attitude people had. The freedom to express is something I always craved because I did not have that privilege back home.
Why did you choose University of Redlands?
I found out about the university because of an engineering program that they offer combined with Columbia University. I also knew that the university was known for offering good financial aid packages, and its proximity to LA was great.
What do you like best?
I am actually a part of a program called the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, where I have the ability to create my own major and basically take classes from any department that I want.
What do you miss most?
I obviously miss my family and the food. But sometimes, I do miss being a part of my own culture and being in a place where people can understand and relate to the types of issues that I talk about.
What was your biggest surprise?
I think I personally surprised myself most. Back home, my Indian identity is never something I was proud of or even cared to mention. But coming to USA and being so far away from home, I’ve never felt prouder to be Indian in my life.
... your biggest disappointment?
My school happens to be about an hour away from LA, which is a great weekend getaway. But in the two years that I have been here, I have only been to LA twice for very short periods of time.
How have you handled:
I am one of the few privileged people that can say I am able to get an education on a full scholarship … I could never be more grateful for this opportunity.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
The education system is completely different from what I am used to. And I can say that I am loving every second of it here. I am able to call a lot of my professors my friends and it is interesting being on a first name basis with so many of them. At first, it was a little hard opening up during discussions because I was not used to being able to share my own opinion. But once I started talking up slowly, I think I was really able to make use of this opportunity and freedom.
What are your activities?
I currently work as a Global Programs Assistant at the Office of International Students and Scholars. I also work as a Social Media Influencer for International Admissions, I am a tutor for Economics at the Student Development Center, the Head of Web Development at the Johnston Radio Station, a member of the Asian Student Association and I will be Vice President of Chapter Operations at Delta Sigma Pi.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
Freshman year, it was hard. I was still trying to figure out where I fit in and what I wanted to learn. Sophomore year, I’ve definitely met people that I can call my best friends and I feel super comfortable and accepted here.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
A huge portion of my major focuses of the use of digital technologies in a business environment. I think businesses could benefit from those anywhere. I think my personal goals can really be applied anywhere because I feel like that’s where this world is headed: digital. And everyone is slowly adapting.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
I think that a lot of people come from countries where we don’t have a freedom of speech or we are constantly silenced by people around us. I think that coming to USA and experiencing a new sense of freedom can be exciting and people should try it.
There are a lot of identities and expressions of people you may run into that may seem confusing and you may not fully understand them, but I’ve learnt that I don’t need to understand it, I just need to respect it.
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