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'US education style is more interactive'
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July 05, 2007

Over 70,000 Indian students are currently in the United States working towards degrees.

What's life like for our youngsters in this distant country? How do they manage both inside and outside the classroom?

Kanchanda Suggu, former US student and current Manhattan resident, described her experiences in George Washington University during a July 4th chat. In addition to other topics, she discussed living expenses, the differences between the American and Indian education systems and employment opportunities after graduation.

For those of you who missed the chat, here's part one of the transcript:

ajay asked, a mechanical engineer..for t past year i have been studying software courses and applying for various jobs. nothing went well. u can feel my situation at present i feel. can i apply for some pg course in us or uk?? i have nil experience..

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
Do you have a Bachelor's degree in Engineering? If you do, then you should be able to apply for a Master's programme in the US.

rudh asked, what is the job scenario after studies?does univ. conduct campus-placement?

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
Some universities do have campus placements. This is more common for MBA programmes. But the best approach is to be active and start networking with people in your industry at least six months before you graduate.

eas asked, can i get scholarship for doing phd

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
I'm not entirely sure, but I do know that the chances of getting one are higher for PhD students than for Master's students.

rajeswari asked, Having done my MBA in Marketing thru IGNOU, what are my prospects of higher studies in USA

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
What are you planning on studying here in the US? Are you planning on getting another MBA? Also, what is your Bachelors degree in? In general, you can always find somewhere to study in the US.

Dad asked, I'm a father and my daughter is living to study in University of Maryland. Is it very safe in this area of America? Did you feel safe on campus? What about the Virginia Tech massacre?

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
I have been to the campus of the University of Maryland. It's a beautiful and safe neighborhood. Of course, one needs to exercise caution at times, but I wouldn't worry at all. Also, incidents like the Virginia Tech massacre are extremely unfortunate, extremely rare and hopefully will never happen again.

maunisha asked, Considering Indian edu style is more about passive reading vs american edu style that is more interactive, case study style..does this create any prob in getting score in course for an indian student in US? Especially for professionals in their 30s who have done grad yrs ago?

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
Hi Maunisha, great question! The US education style is definitely more interactive; in most courses, class participation counts toward your final marks. You have to keep this in mind and be sure to participate in class discussions from the very beginning of the programme.

karishma asked, Hi Kanchana, I am going to Georgetown University for a Master's in Biotechnology.Any advice regarding life in DC?

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
All I can say is that DC is a fantastic place! I studied in George Washington University and hung out in the Georgetown area all the time. It's a great neighborhood and you're going to have lots of fun.

dayatic asked, Hi Kanchana? How rigorous is studies in US compared to those in Indian Univs.?

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
It's completely different. Based on my experience, I can say that it definitely involves more participation, more discussion and much more writing of academic papers.

Vidint asked, What did you score on your GRE? Did you have to take the TOEFL?

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
Yes, you have to take the TOEFL.

lkjh asked, Hello Kanchana! Thank you for taking the effort n time! Hey my doubt is, if having one arrear (which has of course been cleared) during the course of the B.Tech course going to affect the visa process? How do u explain the backlog?

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
I don't believe this should affect your visa process at all. I know people who have had those and are studying here.

Ashish asked, Which contry is better for jobs ...USA or UK....

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
I would say the US is better.

PopTates asked, Didd you enjoy the American Food? DO you miss Indian food?
Kanchana Suggu answers, There's tons of Indian restaurants in New York, so I don't miss Indian food.

manish asked, I want to do MBA in finance can u guide me ??

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
Shortlist the universities you want to apply to. Take your GMAT. Get your recommendations from superiors who know you well.

ADas asked, Hi, I have a (BE)Civil engg Degree from REC Rourkela (CGPA-9.3/10.0), GMAT-610, Work Ex in TCS [Get Quote] 3Yrs, what catagory of US MBA schools can I expect? Thanks, A DAs

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
I would say the upper tier would want a higher GMAT score. But that should not stop you from making an attempt. Pick a mix of middle tier and upper tier to be on the safe side.

subir asked, is there age barrier for entering american universities

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
No, there is no age barrier.

karishma asked, How much(approximately)do you think off-campus housing would work out to in DC?

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
DC is slightly expensive. If you are willing to share a room with someone, it should be about $350 (Rs 14,500) per month. If you want a room by yourself, it could be around $600-$800 (Rs 25,000 - Rs 33,000) per month. You might want to consider living in Virginia and taking the train to campus.

reddyvari asked, Hi how was the 1 year MBA placements in US and i like to know, whether people will be allowed to do parttime job while pursuing MBA

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
Yes, you can do part-time jobs after the first nine months of your program. Until then, you will have to work on-campus. Placements also depends on the university you are graduating from, your academic transcripts and work experience.

himanshu asked, hi, i m an engineer .i want to do MS in US.But i have 57% marks in BE, can a good US university give me admission if i have scored good in GRE.

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
Yes, you can definitely work hard on your GRE and give it a shot.

trew asked, trew says, U would have taken the toefl exam or ielts. I think u did not have a speaking session when u did it. Still, if u know the answer�Is an American accent necessary for speaking session? hey thank u in advance to answer my query

Kanchana Suggu answers, For US universities, it is the TOEFL. No, having an American accent is never necessary. 

ADas asked, Help Pls!!What r the Job Prospects from TOP 25+ rank US MBA colleges...Thanks

Kanchana Suggu answers, Job prospects for top 25+ MBA schools should be great.

nebulla asked, You asked, Hi PLEASE ANSWER I have cleared the H1B lottery for this year. The only process I believe next is visa stamping and that too I think no more obstacles as such. Can I study in Us with H1B. Can U just lsit the breakfast items in a typical US restaurant.. As I 'll bethere in a month's time. Would like to know the menu. Can I know the expense accrued for a typical american breakfast.

Kanchana Suggu answers, I'm afraid I'm not the right person for immigration related questions. If you have any questions on life in the US, I'm happy to answer them. You get eggs, toast and more for breakfast. Depending on which city you are in, it should cost anywhere between $4-$10 (Rs 170- Rs 430).

viky asked, HI..Is it difficult for someone ,who has no relatives in usa?,to study there?

Kanchana Suggu answers, 
Not at all, Viky. The US encourages individual responsibility, meaning there are many people studying and working on their own.

Part II: Tommorow

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