One Indian graduate student shares his advice on studying abroad in the USA
Sai Naveen Sudanagunta, an international Cybersecurity graduate student from Ongole, Andhra Pradesh, India, shares some tips that could help students from India study abroad at Rowan University.
At the time of choosing a university, Sai considered many factors, including courses, cost of attendance, campus safety, rankings, etc. He mentioned that many websites can help students compare different options, making the process easier for prospective international students. Sai said that after conducting research, students are all set to go, and can apply to their chosen university easily. He also recommends reaching out to current students through LinkedIn and asking them questions to develop a clearer understanding of the university they are interested in attending.
Once in college, it is easy to make friends. Sai said that “the students from the USA are very friendly and they communicate well,” preventing language from being a barrier. It is important to recognize that being homesick is unavoidable. International students are going to miss their family, friends, and home. However, Sai added that spending time with your new friends and staying in touch with your family can help mitigate this. Furthermore, Sai recognizes that getting involved in on-campus events, clubs, sports, or activities can help students thrive in their social life. He recommends future Indian students check Rowan’s daily announcer emails to stay informed of all the things that Rowan offers.
Financial aspects can be a huge concern for most international students. Sai recommends students bring at least $500 to “survive once you arrive in the USA until you open a bank account.” He also emphasized the possibility of finding an on-campus job to work part-time while earning a degree. Rowan offers on-campus jobs for students through ProfJobs, a student-only website that allows you to compare different job opportunities, read their descriptions, requirements, and even send applications. In addition, Sai suggests that Indian students bring a Forex card to use in case of emergencies, or convert Indian money to US Dollars. This allows students to pay their tuition fees from either India or the US without any problems.
Being an international student requires a lot of strength, trust, patience, and optimism. Being away from home can be difficult. As Sai states, “It’s a crazy ride with a lot of mixed emotions.” Sai shares that India’s education system is different than the American one. However, he says that he adjusted to the differences in a very short period of time, and therefore believes that adapting to the new environment should not be problematic for incoming Indian students. He is proud of studying abroad and is excited to see what the future holds for him. “Here everything is possible, and you can set your own path.”
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Story written by: Valentina Giannattasio, international student from Argentina; junior dance and marketing double major