NCSU graduation

HSB017: Here’s How I Studied Abroad in France With 4 Year Old Kid

Totally unexpected.

I opened a word document.

Then I inserted a table with one row and one column. In other words, just one box.  I started writing.

I wrote an email for the news letter. I wrote the content for the newsletter about new feature called Ask An Attorney.

Then, I opened my email provider to send the newsletter, I have to complete about 8 steps to send the news letter.

One of the step was to select a template (from list of existing templates). I took an pre-written template. I went back to word document. Then copied the three pages long content. Switched back to the template and pasted the contents.

Then, I spent 10 more minutes to edit the contents. Then, inserted the link to Ask An Attorney Page.

After saving the changes I hit Send. So, far everything went according to the plan. I should have done his over 4000 times in last 8 years.

Replies Started Coming In

After 4 hours, Madhu asked me to change the photo in this blog post 25 Random Things About Raghu.

I replied, “Why are you asking to update the photo on this post  and why did you go to that link?”.

She: “This link was included in today’s email”.

I: “What? How did this link get into today’s email? I did not add that link”.

In meantime, I was getting replies from my dear readers. They were introducing themselves. I was confused.

I wasn’t sure why more than 100 readers are replying back to my email and this typically doesn’t happen. Then I went back to read the email I had sent out. Guess what?

That copy paste, editing of contents from word document did not work.

  • Did I copy and paste? Yes.
  • Did I edit new content? Yes.
  • Did I delete the old contents? Yes.

But, the email system, mailed the contents from the old template. So, it was a screw-up. But, it ended up to be a good thing. Infact a wonderful thing.


Jancy sent the following  reply.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] joined the blog when I was h4 and I wanted to know options. Your post are informative, although I might use it in life it helps me keep my mind open.

Right now what struck me was the fact that your wife is doing masters with a 5 yr old!

I would love hear how she manages and what made her to take that path. I now have a job in US as iOS developer. But I would love to do Masters necessary, advantage and especially the drive your wife had to do it.

Please continue this awesome blog and thanks for helping all followers.

Thanks for being wonderful reader. Good to see  that Madhu’s Study abroad MGIM program motivated you. It wasn’t easy on our family.

Three of us were in 3 different continents for 6 months.

  • I was here in the U.S.
  • Madhu was studying in France
  • Rishi was with his grandparents in India.

If we had thought, it was difficult, then what’s the point of me running the blog and promoting Study Abroad and higher education, when we can’t live by example within our family?

Listen to the Show


As you heard it, here’s summary of what I wrote for the show.

She would getup at 5 AM, study till 7:30 AM. Then get Rishi ready for school. Drop him at School at 8:45 AM an go to library to Study for GRE.

While this is happening, I would be doing what I do – Blogging and my Full time job. Sometimes, I would drop Rishi at school and go to office.

She would come back home around 3:30PM, pick him from the school, finish home work, feed him dinner or cook dinner for us.

I would come back from work at 6 PM or so. Then she would go back to library to study till it closes at 9 PM. By then, we will be done with our dinner, tuck him to bed. So, this was her schedule for about 3 to 4 months during her GRE prep stage.

Reasons Why A Indian Mom Wouldn’t Want to Study with Kids

  1. How can I find time with toddler at home?
  2. Would we have money to pay for college fees?
  3. My husband can’t cook and take care of the kids
  4. Who will tkae him to soccer practice and swim classes?
  5. I’m not sure I can go back to study after 5 years break
  6. I don’t think I can study for GRE and  take TOEFL.
  7. Who will drop him at school and pickup back from school
  8. What will my in-laws and relatives think about me back in India?
  9. What is the ROI by spending thousands of dollars
  10. I just don’t want to put in the effort. I’m happy watching and TV at home.
  11. Should I convert to F1 or study in H4?
  12. I don’t think I will get admission in colleges near our home
  13. What if I have to stay away from my family?
  14. What if my son needs me and I cannot be there for him?
  15. Who will take care of my family?
  16. I don’t want to take any risk in my life.

I provide consulting and spoke to several H4 spouses who can’t find a way to go back to school. But, studying is a beautiful thing and this is how we made it work.

When you have a goal, don’t find reasons to avoid making progress to achieve that goal.

It’s human tendency to resist change. If you think about challenges, then even simple problems look magnified.

This the exact conversation we had about the decision of going back to school.

Question: What program around RTP area have 1 year course in Management.

We found two Universities with 4 programs:

  • Duke University
    • MMS
    • Engineering Management
  • North Carolina State University
    • MGIM (France)
    • Masters in Global Luxury Management (France)

Next, we had to find answers to the following

  • What kind of program do they offer?
  • Should we apply for those program?
  • What is the admission requirements?
  • Does Madhu have academic profile strong enough to get admission?
  • Can we build an academic profile to get admitted into the programs?
  • Should we apply for Spring or Fall semester?

After finding answers to above questions

Duke University looked like a long shot. But, she applied.  She got interview.

NCSU program was good fit, but one semester will be in France.

Remember the reason we listed above that could possibly prevent someone from going back to school?

Now, you need to add another complicating factor: Study in France.

Not within North Carolina, not in a different state within America, but in France.

I’m pretty sure, 99% of the folks would say no and that’s end of the road.

She asked me “Do you think I should Study in France?

I looked at her and said “Yes, you should apply for that program“.

Here’s the thing. I didn’t hesitate for a second.

We didn’t think about reasons not to apply. We didn’t think about expense. We didn’t think about challenges.

We didn’t discuss about reasons why she shouldn’t Study in France or apply for MGIM program.

So, our mind was set. Now, how do we make this work? Then we asked the following questions:

  • Where can I find money to pay for the expenses?
  • What can we do with Rishi?
  • How do we buy the flight ticket to optimize the route and save on airfare expenses?

As you can see, we are finding a way to make studying abroad possible.

It wasn’t a question of why we shouldn’t study abroad, it was the question of how are are gonna make this work. And she graduated this May after spending one semester in France and One semester in NCSU campus here in Raleigh.

Graduation Photos from NCSU (May 2015)


NCSU graduation


ncsu graduation

Listen the show about how we made this work.


I will bring Madhu on the show for next episode.

What questions do you have for her?

Post them in the comments below. I will ask her the same.
Update 1: H4 visa spouses who will apply )or applied) for H4 EAD and had a break in career after coming to USA may have to plan to go back to school to improve your career opportunities.


  1. Priyanka on June 24, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    Hi Raghu,

    I came up with the thought of doing MS on my own. Infact nobody has compelled me to do that.
    Will surely ping you if I need any help at any point of time.

  2. Priyanka on June 24, 2015 at 4:52 PM

    The podcast was extremely motivating. I could actually imagine all the situations that you had put forward. Hats off to you guys for all the achievements.
    I am currently on H4 and I’m planning to give GRE. I had seriously no plans of studying any more as I had already done BE(IT) and then MBA(Finance) from India and have work exp of 3.5 years. I had applied for H1 cap this year but couldn’t get lucky enough in the lottery system. The feeling of not getting selected is really very annoying. But now I have overcomed that and planning to do give GRE and then MS.
    This session boosted my confidence a lot. Moreover your blog is very informative and creative.
    Thanks a lot for sharing. God bless u both.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 24, 2015 at 7:19 PM

      Hey Priyanka – Glad to know we could help you.

      Here’s the thing – Btech, MBA and Work Experience is all good, but that shouldn’t limit your outlook education.

      If you feel you are forced to do MS just to get a job, then there’s no fun in doing that, you are gonna see the challenges and problem will look magnified.

      Let us know if we can help you in anyway.

  3. Amita on June 24, 2015 at 11:39 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    Your story is really very interesting and have boosted me really high but again their is something that I m stuck with.Madhu had a good IT background and know her way to go but like other their are moms who have left their carrier long back and now don’t know where to o begin with?also there are mom who never worked in any such big IT background but after coming to USA and staying home just having nothing to do for years one fine day a mom thinks my kids are big enough and now like others I need to start my career but where,how don’t know?
    Willing to study do all hard work that is needed. To start a good career to begin but with no idea what opportunities in market and what to begin with .googling many online courses and getting nothing in hand .
    Can we talk and let these moms work or begin with something where they find a ray of light where their future might begin.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 24, 2015 at 11:56 AM

      You bring up an interesting topic to discuss.

      People become accustomed to life without work/challenges.

      Change requires lot of effort.

      But, US provides so many opportunities to start anew.

      With EAD, it can be business or even a job at Starbucks with right mindset set a new career on track.

      “Sometimes, you need someone else to say what you want to hear.”


  4. Mayank on June 24, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    Hi Raghu
    It’s impressive on at least two fronts. One, obviously, is the wonderful achievement. Two, you’re practising what you generally preach – finding time out to achieve more and more.
    Congrats to you two, and the little kid too, for putting up with busy parents. 🙂

    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 24, 2015 at 9:18 AM

      Thanks Mayank. I couldn’t find the interview we did. We should schedule one more when you get a chance.

  5. Gayathri on June 22, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    Congratulation Madhu!!! Impressive and inspiring. I am doing my M.S. in Comp Science after a 4 year break (lot of reasons kid, H4, ) from work. Its been 9 years since my undergrad and wanting to study just come out of the blues from my mind in a desire to break monotony in my life. My husband has been very supportive and I am about to complete 1 year. To be honest, managing studies and a toddler makes me loose hope. But seeing your graduation photos and the joy in your face is very motivating to take my next leap.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 23, 2015 at 1:22 PM

      thanks for your comment. Keep going. You just got 1 more year. Graduation Smile is just 2 semesters away for you.

  6. Abida on June 22, 2015 at 12:48 PM

    First of all i would like to congratulate Madhu on her journey towards achieving her goal towards continuing her education and you Raghu for supporting her. My situation is somewhat similar , i am staying in US on h4 and this september will be completing 2 years here.I too am a web programmer with bachelor in computer application from India and would love to work here if i would get a chance , i had applied for h1 visa last year but my lottery was not picked, now i am thinking what my next option should be ,i would really love to work here so is studying my only option to get into work force , cause i dont have the option for EAD as my husband is still on h1 visa and dont know whether the green card will be processed or not.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 22, 2015 at 2:18 PM

      I know the pain of H4 spouses without work options.

      Best thing you can do is go back to school on H4 or F1 visa.

      Or Apply for Cap-Exempt H1B Jobs.

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