My Father Proudly Declared “My Son Is Going to USA”

Raghuram Sukumar Student Stories 41 Comments

Experience shared by a long time HSB Reader by a Fall 2011 grad student and an HSB fan wishing to be anonymous.

It was a dream come true when I got my acceptance. The excitement of not only a new life beckoning, a new academic experience awaiting, but also the satisfaction of making my parents proud, my teachers happy..and the joy of being a star amongst my friends.

Everyone patted me in the neighborhood, as my father proudly declared “My child is going to USA”.

I was the new hero. Personally, I had heard so much about US education, the ambiance, the life, that I could not wait for the few months to end..of course there was this sorrow of leaving my family and friends behind..but US is US!!!

August 2011

Cut to…August 2011. Finally landed in US. Reached my apartment.

And the first thing I noted was..Hello! where are the people?

That’s one shock that one will have to acclimatize to in contrast to India, and particularly in universities that are not in proper cities.

Barely any people, particularly outside university hours.

To a reader in India, it might not appear to be a big deal, but once you start living this life, it does become frustrating at one point of time…so be prepared!!

Groceries in USA

The second issue for me was access to even the daily groceries…you have to wait throughout the week for the weekend buses to take you to malls.

Particularly, having studied from home all my life, rationing itself was a hard task (what to buy, what amount to buy, what to cook, etc etc ).. and you have to do all that rationing in one day…and if you miss any..(say salt!!), wait up for the next week!!!

That brings me to the conversion part…$ to INR…for the first few weeks, I used to shriek when say I saw that a 500ml Pepsi Bottle (Rs 20 in India) costs 1.5 $, or maybe a loaf of bread costs $1, or a slice of Pizza costs 2$, but gradually you get used to it.

You have no options anyways. By the way, I guess every university has an Indian store at its vicinity, where you get your homely products.

Big time Problem – Telephone

Another bigtime problem I faced was regarding telephone, but that was more of my own idiocy, but it’s a note of warning.

I was using a India calling card system, but neglected to read its usage method properly.

Hence, after 2 weeks, I landed up with a phone bill of more than 500$, because all of my calls were being directly connected instead of being connected through the calling card..and phone rates in US are very high. (international calls around 3$/min).

Eventually the network providers were kind enough to slash a big chunk of the amount from the bill, but I was a lot, lot lucky there.

A word of caution..whenever you are using any facility, read its terms and usage patterns carefully.

About the People in USA

About the people here, what I have experienced is they are highly helpful and it at the shops, or any university office.

You won’t have a problem in your deals…the only problem that I faced (and still face) is that of accents, but I guess over time, you get used to it.

Academics in USA

Coming to academics, the first sem has been a bit of shock (and downer) to me.

You constantly have assignments, midterms, term papers, discussion sessions, homeworks that leave you with little time for recreation.

Be prepared for a hard studytime…since they expect you to be updated about your studies every week, you almost have no time to be laidback.

And each of the factors I mentioned above (assignments, term papers) contribute to the final grade.

Don’t Copy Assignments

Another thing, do not even think of copy-pasting your assignments from other sources..plagiarism is a big issue, and you might even be sacked

I’m in Big Trouble for Copying Assignments.

About social life, any university has a large chunk of Indian population, so if one is extrovert, he/she should have no problems having a decent social life.

There are places to go, weekends to hangout. But your academic commitments, coupled with your on-campus jobs, TAships (I have a very depressing TA which takes up most of the week) and your homely responsibilities, would leave you very little time to hangout.

2 Months of Life in USA

Finally, 2 months into the US life, what I would say is that perhaps, the process of achieving my dreams of studying here hasn’t been very smooth, but it hasn’t been disappointing either..the people are nice and sincere, and are highly committed to their it the professors, the office assistants or others, and that way, you start loving being here.

But since you are far away from your near and dear ones, even the tiniest of problems can amplify because you are pretty left to your own devices.

But there will always be a way out and the people here will be more than happy to help you out.

And, hopefully, in a few months, I shall be confident enough to independently maneuver myself through this life.

Fall 2012 applicants…ALL THE BEST.

Next – American Lifestyle in Explained in 1500 Words


  1. Truly encouraging as life would become dull without change and new problem. So according to this post, I feel that studying in USA is challenging as well as interesting for a person who want overall change in once way of living life…….

  2. Very useful suggestions.
    I guess I will eventually come to my homecountry after my studying abroad.
    It is not about the atmosphere,
    it is about living happily with the rest of my life.

  3. What is so proud of you to your dad if you are going to USA ?

    What is so great about it ? Anyone and every can do MS in USA… It is all about what you have achieved in your life, whether you are in india or america or on Mars.

    I feel sad that you guys just go there and feel so proud about it..

    1. People will realize the the value of something when you work hard and get the result. Do you know how many million engineers graduate from every year but only few thousands actually get visa.

    2. I think this is what problem in the attitude of the society. I feel happy, if a admission in the US university and at the same time no need to exaggerate the things. I know this is dream come true but this should’t be the final destination of our life. We should also blame our ancestors and people because of the hype they have created and still creating. I suppose we are not in the good direction of life by creating big deal for the study in USA. In our country we have everything except self discipline and we don’t want to follow any rules but if you are in the foreign land you will strictly adhere to this. My point is this is not healthy thinking and change should begin.

      1. One is not going to get to final destination without reaching milestones. Reaching milestone of Studying in USA is a Big Deal. What is the use of not celebrating reaching the milestone.

        1. For God’s sake what is this hysteria all about. According to Vishwanatha Reddy one should only celebrate only if you win the FIFA World Cup and not upon qualifying. Taking this analogy further do you know how difficult it is even for great teams to qualify for it ? If India qualifies tomorrow people like you will come up and say we shouldn’t celebrate because we haven’t actually won it. Well you Sir are an idiot. Even on intellectual front your reasoning fails, since you seem to imply that the end is more important than the journey, which isn’t. HSB rightly said that you have milestones and there is no harm in celebrating them. If you cant even enjoy your little successes then you cant enjoy anything. We at the end of the day are looking for happiness no matter how momentarily it exists. I bet if you were to secure an admit into MIT you would react as ” Yeah, so what. It’s not like I have won the Noble Prize”, failing to realize that that was one of the steps towards it. Now excuse me, for I have to celebrate because my favorite team has won. Cheers 🙂

        2. Hey guys, you need to value education, all these comments are about money, money, money!!! You can be a stripper in some bars to earn money! Also if you have real passion for studies/money, then go for PhD. You will surely receive a job with a heavy pay check.

    3. So u never felt nice and proud when u scored high in ur school exam and got a pat on the back, eh? Or did u say..”What is so great about that? Scoring high in school or college, or getting high by alcohol….you shouldnt be proud anyways!!!”

      The point is…this reader’s father felt proud that his son achieved something! I assume since you are a reader of HSB, u must be aspiring something!! Go and ask ur dad whether he’l feel proud if u achieve that!
      Oversmart people (and yes, it is a personal attack!)

      1. I’m surprised to see why one’s dad shouldn’t celebrate. Its a great struggle to just the visa. Friends and family have all the right to celebrate the visa approval.

  4. I love the way new hero described about life in US
    Every single thing he wrote is true and happens to every new student.
    Awesome and Wow Yaar

  5. A truly inspiring post to all those ‘Study in US’ aspirants like me.
    But I dont understand why some are crying foul at this.
    “What is so proud of you to your dad if you are going to USA ?” — Come on guys!! What on earth do you want your father to be proud of yourself — You earning a 3.5L p.a salary in some company in your city!! Again
    Some in India (Like those previous comments) just try to degrade the achievements of others calling everyone can do it…. I believe it is this mentality of people which has to be change first.

    To HSB: These posts are much more heartening than visa interviews. Carry on your good work.

    1. Typical entry level salary for SW engineers is $50,000 and if you get in Facebook it’s $90,000.
      That’s 45 lakhs or 25 lakhs.

      If someone is happy with 3.5 lakhs then I have no argument. All I can say is good for you. Difference is with 3.5 you wil be driving 2 wheeler bike and in USA person will be driving BMW, Audi etc while you will envy those cars on Indian roads.

      1. People tend to compare U.S salary by converting it into INR. What they don’t understand is : you will be earning $ 70,000 in U.S and will not go to India to spend it. With tax cuts (tax cuts are high here) and all other expenses included you will have little more than a person earning 4.5 lacs in India. Also driving a car in U.S is same as driving a motor cycle in India (not a BMW).
        Yes you may buy a BMW in U.S after a few yrs salary, but with no savings (which Indians don’t do). So, let’s not compare the salaries. A person earning 4.5 lacs in India is equally well to do as a 70K guy in U.S.
        I am talking about a non-immigrant.

        1. where are u living in india. a village with 1hr of electricity/day. 4.5lakhs = 70k here. common. i was recently in india in bangalore and chennai only to find how expensive is living cost, food, everything and even for that you get f***g customer service with zero respect. to live a decent life in bangalore one needs atleast 40-50k/month after taxes(20k rent+10k food+ 10 personal other expense) . that accounts to 6lakhs/yr after taxes. compare that to other cities. so think before you post your comments. and with that 6lakhs i am sure one cannot have a life to enjoy. it will be day to day basis for survival for middle income family in a metropolitan city with zero respect for human life

          1. @Sam – I was going to say the same. Because I was in India for 4 weeks few months back. But, people don’t realize what you said is 100% Fact and that’s the reality. I as like, them the discussion go on and see where it goes. With 70K in US after taxes, even without sharing the apartment, you will can save $1500 + 401(k).

            Maybe I have to write a post about Salary and Savings in USA.

            After going to the New Mall in Chennai, i was like s*it I need to earn in USD to live in India. I walk into to Adidas Showroom and couldn’t find a show less than Rs5,000. I can walk into Adidas outlet showroom here, take couple of coupons and get top the line shoe for $30 (original cost is like $150).

            Above all customer service. Don’t talk about that. I threw my SIM card to the guy who sold me and walked away.

      2. There is a term PPP in economics. Purchasing Power Parity. We should not just convert US salary dollars into rupees. Tax(federal and state), Social security, Medical Insurance, car insurance, Rent, Internet/cable/telephone,medicare cuts are very very high in USA. After deducting all of that, then how much you get in USA and survive on the remaining amount. In USA many SW engineers are sharing 3-4 people in 1 room. how many software engineers in good job in india will do that. cost of living is very high in USA. How many people after finishing MS or Ph.D. in usa are getting job? 27 month OPT thru some desi consultancy or working illegally in gas station? for desi consultancy, just being in USA is enough, H-4 visa dependent person if he/she pays money, desi consultancy will make fake resume.

          1. Because its U.S & no matter how you live. When people hear U.S every1 is like AWWWWWWW! U.S. Also many Indians tend to work for a few years, save enough and return to India with the $$, which is a lot when converted.

          2. Yes, that is perfect. So, there is no need to have counter argument when Dad feels proud of sending his son to USA (like few others here in this thread).

          3. well some people are successful in getting jobs, some are not. My point was more about high cost of living in USA. Again I dont want to demoralise future aspirants. Its just that getting student visa is first step in your quest for good career and this blog prepares students for all different aspects of life in USA.

        1. consultancy are running for money for past 3years. not even a single one of them is willing to sponsor visa showing that you are employed but actually unemployed. u have to be here to know the truth. just dont write off anything you feel and the ancient knowledge of yours. fake resume, desi consultancy filing visa days are long gone. get to 2012 soon and i think u r still stuck in 1990’s

  6. dude..the passage was awesome.. i have applied for fall 2012 and hv been in the US before.. so i can understand what ‘loneliness ‘.means over there..especially for people like us who are so much used to the daily crowd.. thanks for sharing your experience.. 🙂

  7. in any case.. HSB is not about thinking about directions of life which, to many people, may be manyfold. it is about achieving the target of getting to study at US..which might be dreams for many..for most actually!

  8. After graduation in any subject from renowned universtiy with high GRE score ,may be a opportunity for higher study in any ranked university of USA.But your problem will start after completion of your MS degree and to find a job within your OPD period and maintenance of high stadandard living of USA. You may face a situation to come back to India when your MS degree may not be of much use in job market of India.
    So think twice before you decide to study in USA and unnecessary proud feelings for study in USA is note required as very small percentage of exceptional brilliant students of India prefer for higher study in USA.

    1. Whats the deal with you? Pretty much all the comments you have posted says Don’t Come to USA.
      Since when dis MS from USA will be of no value?

      Do you think, higher education in India will become much better and overtake US Standards?

    2. Sanyal ,
      First of all, there is nothing called “OPD”. It is OPT (Optional Practical Training) . For students with MS from an US University, there is an advanced H1-B Quota of 20,000 visas. The OPT is for 12 months and if he is productive to the company, the company files a H1-B visa for the student. Certain students also receive a 17 month extension in case their stream of study in listed in STEM subjects. The probability of getting placed is HIGH (assuming the student is ready and all set to attend the interview). Let us assume he doesn’t get a job in the US. If he comes back to India, he will be ahead in terms of qualifications and he will get a high paying job immediately. So, keep your pessimistic attitude to yourself and do not infect others here. No offense.

      [email protected]

  9. The father should feel proud when son gets a good job in USA. getting F-1 visa and paying tuition/fees is the first step but just too early to celebrate.

    1. So, you haven’t celebrated even single milestones?

      Avinash has the right analogy with Soccer world cup qualifying. Same applies to Cricket. We celebrate singles, fours, sixes and opposite teams wicket, then we celebrate the Victory along with 100’s watching in the stadium and on TV. So, if I’m right, you will be watching any game without emotions till game is won? I doubt that and I doubt you haven’t celebrated any milesstones.

  10. The person whose against the post has for sure not achieved anything in his life for him and his father to be proud of !! So Mr. Munna, grow up… loser !!

  11. One of my friends got a 60+k job in India courtesy his MS in US..source: his internship! anby questions?

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