Student Stories

I Was Thrilled and Amazed to Study in USA, Until This Happened.

usa amazed thrilledI am Prasad, currently pursuing my Master’s in Computer Science at University of Cincinnati(Fall 2013). I have been reading your blog since I thought of planning my Master’s in US and the blog has become quite handy I must say.

There were one or two controversial posts if I do remember correctly. Except for that, everything else here seems to be a repository of information which will help students right from preparing for GRE exam to applying credit card after getting SSN here in States.

Hats off to all of you and mainly Raghuram Sukumar for all this information.

PS: These are my personal views. You probably might have different views!

I would like to share my views based on my experiences here in United States for the past six months.

I was thrilled and amazed by this country and people’s adherence to rules.

  • Don’t you feel good if someone who’s driving a car stops and asks you to cross the road?
  • Don’t you feel good to be asked your whereabouts every now and then?

They were just two examples.

There are so many instances like that which had their influence on me to think that this country is so systematic.

It’s not that I like this country more than I like my own country but there is something in here which attracts me.

Obviously, my motherland is my first preference but one day I would love to see the same things I am seeing here in my own country i.e. people adhering to rules, freedom to do whatever we want to and other things.

That being said, I don’t agree with the statement that this country is forward in every single thing because there are few things like safety which are well handled in India than here I feel.

For example, every two or three days I will get an email from my school saying a student has been mugged.

Probably it might be because the person who was mugged was not careful i.e. he might have been walking alone in night which is not suggested here.

If it were to be in my city in India, I wouldn’t think twice to walk alone at 12AM 😛

Let’s get into few specifics which people who are planning to come here to study might be interested:

My Typical day here 

Well, typical schedule of any student here depends on following things:

  1. Depends on your class timings.
  2. Depends on your on-campus job timings if you are doing/ will do one.
  3. Depends on so many other things which we have no control of i.e. a Professor might give morning 6AM as assignment deadline. You might have to stay whole night to get the assignment done if it’s is a difficult one and if we delay doing the assignment till before the deadline which most likely will be the case. But it is less likely to see such early morning deadlines because most of the Professors usually give deadlines between 12PM and 12AM.
  4. Other personal things like gym timings etc.

Major change that you will for sure observe in people who come here is change of eating habits.

There are so many reasons for that and people will eventually end up adapting to these eating habits, which I think is good (adapting, not the food!).

Adapting to Life in USA 

It’s not that easy but it’s not that difficult either.

It takes hardly a semester to adapt here.

If you are sociable, then it will be very easy for you.

People here are very stringent when it comes to rules.

So you might face few problems at the beginning because of that.

For example my application for Duke (electricity) was rejected because there was a slight mismatch between my name on application and the one on passport.

We will eventually get used to all these things because they are part of this system!


I feel kind of good to meet new people, get to adapt to new culture.

I was invited by an American family to their house for thanksgiving as a part of one program in my school which I feel is a very good initiative for us to get to know about people and culture in here.

I made some good American friends at my part time work place. Coming to studies, I am impressed by this system.

[div =class”content-box-red”]The professors will torture with lots of assignments and few projects. But at the end of semester, you will end up with valuable knowledge which you might not have acquired if the education system isn’t that practical. Overall, I have a different and good experience till now.[end-div]

To sum it up, I will say for those are planning to come here “There’s something for everyone here. It depends on you how you use these opportunities for bettering your career”.

I have been longing to write one blog post here and when I finally thought of writing one, I couldn’t get many thoughts. It’s time to put an end to this post before it turns out like Rahul’s interview to Arnab!

Good luck with everything and have a wonderful day ahead! Thanks.

Related : Definition of American Lifestyle from the Eyes of an Indian Tourist

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  1. One indian student at university of texas shot dead at a gas station where he worked as part time and 3 indian students are shot dead at univ if louisiana in 2009,may be these are some particular incidents,but as international students we have to take care ourself.I think the state of utah and arkansas are allowing students to bring firearms concealed inside the campus.One of my friend working in US says me that he usually dreams about a gunman who randomly targetting people in his workplace,mall.this habbit of dreaming happened to him after the incident of mass shooting in the shipyard at washington DC

  2. The headline of this post is misleading; it gives the impression that Prasad was having a great time in the U.S. but “something” (a bad experience) happened to change all that. That does not seem to be the case at all. I don’t know which city you come from, but there are no longer any major cities In India either where you would walk at midnight without fear. But One consolation is that people haven’t begun going on shooting sprees on campuses yet. It is only a matter of time. Next to the U.S., India has the largest number of guns in private hands.
    Anyway, I am glad to see a lot of Indian students are discovering the rigors of graduate study on American campuses and enjoying it. If only our universities would make learning exciting and enjoyable! Under current circumstances, that may just be a dream.

    1. Thanks for your views on it. I am from Hyderabad. I feel the same that the title is kind of misleading! Honestly we are at a much risk here, at least here in Cincinnati because one would never expect to be robbed in day light and being shot on foot when you don’t give them money. These sort of things happened here recently. We might face similar kind of situations in India too but I feel based on things I have seen and heard that it’s more safe back home than here. Few things come at the price of few other things and I am having a good time here! 🙂

      1. Prasad you are right on the money. Nicely articulated facts. Most of us(International Students) who are living here have mixed feelings.
        Of course at the end of the day we will be getting good knowledge, broader understanding of the people and society, better jobs etc., at the cost of missing the Indian feel like family, close friends, watching movies in theatre, night rides, native food at best places and safety. I always felt that begging in India was much better than mugging in USA (forcefully taking things). Having said that USA is the place where one needs to stay for few years in their life time to have some maturity.

      2. Very true Prasad. Just yesterday a local language newspaper here (in India) reported three cases of Indian students going missing in different states of the U.S. – one in Houston, another in Florida, and yet another in New York. In the last case the girl may have decided to go incommunicado of her own will. the report said that she had spoken to her parents on the night of Feb. 24 and said that she was in the College Library, but the College later said that she hadn’t been attending classes since May of last year. Anyway, it is a pity that we automatically stiffen when you see a stranger walking in your direction on a desolate street at night.
        Well, here is a story for those who might be interested. The story is from the early 1970s long before all of you were born. I had been living in Manhattan on the Lower West side, on 15th St. between 8th and 9th avenues, and going to NYU. One night I had visited a friend who lived on 12th St. on the East Side about a block from the Strand Book Store. Several friends had met at his apartment. He taught Film at the New School and many of us were his students. So, we had dinner and watched an old Hollywood film on TV and later went our different ways. I had with me an Indian friend who had recently arrived in U.S. to do a medical residency. We took a cross town train from Union Square and got off the subway and took the stairs at the 15th St. exit. One side of the entire street was a warehouse with loading bays for trucks. It was about 2 a.m and the shutters were drawn. The other side of the street were low income tenements. All the lights were out and everyone had gone to bed. Suddenly there appeared before us a huge Black man. He started towards us and began speaking in an agitated, excited manner. As he got nearer still speaking rapidly in accents that were yet unfamiliar to me, my friend ran. I broke into a cold sweat, my heart was pounding and I thought I could hear it over his garbled babble. But, I had told myself that I wouldn’t give in to fear and that I wouldn’t give in to prejudice. When the man came nearer you could see from his face that he was no more than a boy, in his late teens may be, certainly not more than 20. His size seemed to be mostly from some medical condition, a metabolic dysfunction, perhaps. His eyes were narrow under puffed cheeks. When he was near I could understand him better. Some of what he said was “no money, no money.” Then I saw that he had two large grocery bags from A&P which were packed to overflowing. From one of them he took out a large bottle of Whisk, a liquid laundry detergent which was expensive even in those days. The bottle he held towards me was at least $4.99. “Take this”, he said, “no money for token. have to get to 125th. no money for token.” He was talking about a subway token which cost 30 Cents those days. Apparently he had come downtown, probably saw a SALE sign at the A&P around the corner and shopped to his heart’s content. The supermarket would have closed around midnight and it occurred to me that he was trying to get someone to give him subway money in exchange for one of his purchases for almost two hours. I fished in my pocket and found a token and a couple of dollars in change, just in case he lost the token and refused the Whisk bottle he was trying to press into my hand. “you keep it. I am sure your Mamma would need it.” “You Inn’un?” he asked and I nodded. “Inn’uns good people,” he said. “Brothers good people too,” I replied. At that he smiled for the first time. The tension seemed to have drained out of him. “Thanks, Brother,” he said and hurried down the steps carrying the full grocery bags. I don’t know if I would be so brave now.

    1. Thanks Raghu! 🙂 I don’t know if I deserve to be called one because I feel there are so many areas I should still improve on.

  3. As a member of a minority community living in the back of beyond that is Montana, I can relate to the thought process about gun laws. Montana is for badasses. We’ve had instances of homeowners shooting at trespassers which, by the way, is totally legal. But this concept of safety being better handled in India might be true only for those of you who aren’t constantly reminded of the fact that the later you’re out (for whatever reason) in India, the higher your chances are of falling victim to one form of molestation or another.
    I would most certainly think twice about walking home alone at midnight in my hometown in India. I have walked home from campus here in Montana at obnoxious times of the night ranging from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. and the only real danger was ‘look out for a mountain lion or a bear’.
    So although I agree with your premise, I believe it isn’t right to generalize the safety angle as a national comparison between the U.S. and India and that’s mainly because every state is different in how safe it is – that applies to both countries. Montana has a lower crime rate than Illinois and Uttar Pradesh has a higher crime rate than Kerala.
    Personal safety also depends rather largely on your own experiences and therefore, your instinct.

    1. Apporva, “Obnoxious” means nasty, very unpleasant, highly offensive. Eg. “obnoxious behavior” or “an obnoxious remark”. He is the most obnoxious man I know, etc. No such thing as “obnoxious times of night”. “An ungodly hour”, perhaps.

    2. Apporva, Thanks for your views! I do agree that a lot depends on things like where you stay, which place in the city(downtown or other) and your experiences. I didn’t generalize but I wrote what felt was right because the past years of stay in India never taught me to be very vigilant of each and every move of the person coming towards you when the road isn’t crowded but last six months taught that. It’s not just me who feel that, many of my friends here feel the same. We can ensure our safety if we just stick to few things like roaming in groups etc. I will never regret coming here though just because of this! Moving out of your comfort zone teaches you many things I feel.

    3. I agree with Apoorva. India is dangerous for woman especially after 8 pm and for everyone after 10 pm. No city or even smaller towns are safe in India. I now consider India to be more dangerous than Mexico or Central America and even worse than many African countries. Compared to that USA is much more safer. The problem with India is the lack of justice and getting justice is often delayed or denied. This is the main reason why India remains poor and is considered to be a third world country.

      1. The act of molestation against women are everywhere around the globe its depend upon our lifestyle and culture in US also the women kidnapping and child molestation are happening but those may be not just pomp like a hot news. If you go to Mexico and cross mexico by your car to central america there is a 90% chances that either you would be shot or you would be robbed at gun point.Mexico is the worlds hub for deadliest and bloodiest drug cartels like LOS-ZETAS,SINALOA Cartel and the drug lords have accounts of thousands of murders. you cant see a house without a gun shot scratch at the border state of Tamaulipas . In US also how many of the individuals are shot dead by intentionally or not in each years we all know .Dont live in a dream world and think like US is the safest place ever to live.You can see from news papers that how many gun related crimes are there around the neighborhoods of Chicago,Cleveland and Baltimore and how much of the innocents are involved in it as victims.Recently an incident happened in Duncan Oklahoma that an Australian exchange student was shot dead by three African american youngsters as they are get bored and got some kinda of thrill by killing him (an unknown person) .So there is no difference or comparison between any places for safety , crimes and victims are everywhere we have to take care our self.

        1. Dont be dismayed or get frustrated by my quotes , Be courageous and cautious , whatever I mentioned here are facts . Before you travelling to a new location try to get information about that location/neighborhoods safety practices and precautions.

  4. Most of the US citizens have firearms in there hand as both of them and law constitution believe in 2nd ammendmend ,possessing firearms are only for citizens not for others ,so international students should be cautious while travelling in nights or in a strange place.In USA even if police laws also support self protection, so dont tresspass,dont mess with badguys.Iam saying this especially for those guys who working in groceries/gas station in night shifts as parttime jobs

  5. There could be a number of reasons the student was mugged and its nit necessary that the same wouldn’t have happened in India. Faults in the security system of any country can be seen if a detailed study is conducted. The need to be careful has arisen everywhere today. But good to know you are liking so many other things there.

  6. I think it is better to get information of the incident from the police right away than to read it next day in the newspaper. Thousands of theft cases happen in India in broad daylight but we never get to hear about it because we dont have the system in place. The police in USA wants to secure the area to make sure people avoid the troubled area. I would reckon that is a good thing. Not hearing about crime does not mean there aint happening one.

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