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If you are leaving in August to study in America, you have barely over a month left!
You probably have tons of questions, ranging from minor queries to major concerns.
Will you face racism in small-town America? Will people understand your accent?
What types of jobs are available on campus? Is it really worth all that time and money?
Former US student Gitanjali Bakshi told prospective students about life in America during a chat on June 26.
For those of you who missed the chat, here's the transcript:
abhinav asked, hi gitanjali...how r ya?? i am goin to UCLA this fall and i wantd to ask what kind of part time job wud be suitable for a fresher so that i will be able to earn sufficient money to cover up my living expenses ?? thanx...god bless
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, I would recommend working in the library or in the computer labs. These are good jobs and you meet nice contacts. You can only work 20 hours a week on campus. This won't be enough for all living expenses.
PB asked, Hi- I am going to study at MIT in Boston. Do you think I will have a problem with my visa?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, No. If you have the right finances and the proper paperwork, it will be easy. MIT is a good school, so the visa officer will be impressed.
Rishad asked, What's food like in America? I've heard itz not so good.
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, The food is not so nice if you're used to yummy Indian food. You have to be very creative and use tomato ketchup, mustard and chilli flakes. Learn how to cook the basics. Dal and rice is delicious when you haven't had it in a long time!
f asked, is there racism in USA? Quite a few of my frienz complain
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Yes, there are aspects of racism in every society. You must learn how to deal with situations in a calm and collected manner. This mustn't discourage you from making friends outside your comfort zone.
PB asked, also, where is denison univ located?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Denison is located in Granville, Ohio, USA. It's a small town in a rural area. It was a big change from Bombay and Marine Drive! It was a good place for studying though, as there weren't many distractions.
Liza asked, Cn I ge a job there ?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, I studied comparative religions, so it was hard to find a job in my field. Many of my friends found jobs in Chicago and New York City because they got good marks and studied finance and business.
asked, The MBA progams in the US u recommend?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, University of Chicago, Harvard, Pennsylvania, University of Virginia. These are just a few.
abhijeet asked, hello Gitanjali...how do u recon the opportunities are in the engineering fields...are there any chances of having financial aid or RA/TA etc. specially with big boom in oil and gas field right now...am a chemical engineer?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, I wish I had more information on that, Abhijeet. Since I completed my degree in a liberal arts programme, I don't know much about the engineering field. Generally, scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit and test scores. Research on the internet could help.
wq asked, Hi Gitanjali, Where are and what are you studying in US ?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, I studied in Denison University; I graduated in May 2006. I am back in Bombay working.
asked, What is the difference between US pepsi and Indian pepsi?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, No, it's the same. There is no Thumbs up, though. And no Fusion Gum!
asked, What happens if you have visa rejected? My friend had visa rejected, what to do?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Sounds terribly unfortunate, Sameer. Laws for students travelling to the US are getting extremely strict due to international political events. I can only suggest that he tries again. These things can be very random.
abey asked, iam going to study MBA from stanford....but iam feeling scared...will the course be tough???
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Stanford is a good school. If you got admission, you're obviously very smart. You should do fine.
Liza asked, Where did u stay?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, At my university, we didn't have the option of staying off-campus. I lived in the dormitories all four years. It was nice, because the dorms were regularly cleaned and I didn't have to pay for utilities like electricity.
Abhay asked, Can you tell me how you got a visa? What did you do at the interview? Should I get a company to get visa?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Luckily, my brother went abroad too. I knew what I was getting into. Only go with companies trusted by the American consulate and embassy. That's my advice.
123p asked, Hi, How I earn money in America during study
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, You earn money by working on campus jobs. You can only work 20 hours a week maximum. You don't earn so much money, so you'll have to bring some too.
phani asked, phani:hi gitanjali how ru i want to ask which is the good unversity for Accounts/Finance in USA,I WANT TO DO MY MASTERS IN FINANCE
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Business schools such as Harvard, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania are all good options. Of course, these are the top schools and it is important to look for options in the below 50 range as well. Check out US News for more information.
yogesh1`2 asked, how abt medical insurance?do we need to buy it in india or US?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Get your medical insurance through your university. They should have a plan that allows you to seek medical help whenever you need it. Do not buy it in India. I don't think it's a good idea.
omprab asked, Does it really a difference studying in US and studying in good premimum colege in India
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, American education has a very different style. In India, we do 'rote learning' with memorisation. In America, you are taught to 'read in between the lines'. It's different. I'm sure the top colleges in India are still very, very good though.
BIGGUY asked, HI GITANJALI, WHY DID U COME BACK TO INDIA ? IS US NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO LIVE IN ?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, It's difficult to find a job. I missed my family and my Indian food.
Sid asked, are there cows and stray dogs in america?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, No cows on the road and stray dogs are few and far between.
siddharth asked, HI Gitanjali... what do u think of people who come back to India to work here.. which is better?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Well, actually I am one of those people that opted to come back to Bombay to work after college. India is doing really well for itself right now and it isn't a bad option. H1b visas are becoming so difficult to get. Most of my friends who have opted to stay in the US have lasted for only a year before coming home.
Allie asked, Is McDonalds different? WIll there be pepsi there?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Yes McDonalds is different of course! They serve beef. Pepsi is the least of your problems. If there's one thing that America has, it is an abundant supply of sodas and beverages.
Prasanna asked, What options do we hve for workign while in the university studies?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, If you are going as a college student, the options are often limited. As I mentioned earlier, you can only work on campus which pays a limited amount and has a limited amount of hours.
PB asked, is there racism in small-town ohio?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, I saw some racism, not really from university age kids. In general, Indians are more racist than Americans. I did have a bad experience at the hair salon once, where the woman was completely mean for no reason. It's hard to pinpoint racism.
chhikara1 asked, after completing MBA whats the scope to get a job over there ,or,u have to come back to india
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, MBA is a good choice, but you'll need top marks and good GMAT scores to qualify. Even then, it's so hard to get H1b visa these days.
BIGGUY asked, HEY GITANJALI, IS IT EASY TO ADJUST BACK TO INDIAN LIFESTYLE AFTER SPENDING A FEW YEARS IN US ?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, That's a really good question. It can be tough at times because of the total lack of civic sense in India. What botheres me the most is the filth and grime. Of course there are things you miss about India too -- like the personal service, the food, the pampering, the family, etc. So I guess you could say it has its ups and downs.
ravidatt asked, Is it worth while to go to US(IowaUniversity) for a Phd in Chemistry.
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, PhD in Chemsistry will open many new career fields. Maybe you should consider it.
tanish asked, where are you working presently and what is your current package ?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, At present, I work at a political think-tank. It pays modestly but the work I do is rewarding and it helps to build experience in international relations. One day, I want to work in the United Nations.
uttam asked, I want to ask that How's yr feeling to learn there.
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, American education is personal, challenging, broad and liberal. Studying there is an experience I would recommend for everyone.
Mani asked, Getting Financial aid has become very difficult now a days. Do you think this trend would continue henceforth or would it change?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Financial aid is difficult to get for foreign students. Most aid goes to Americans. They give money based on merit to Indians; I don't expect it to change any time soon.
Rinku asked, It is said that Americans are very friendly people but very hard to make friends with. How much of this is true?
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, The first thing I was told at orientation at college was that whenever Americans ask, 'How you are?', just say 'fine.' They don't want to hear your life story; it's just a common courtesy they are extending. You will make some good friends with people who have similar interests. That will come in time; until then, just be friendly and not too clingy.
muthu asked, Is it worth getting a degree in some least ranked universities in US
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, Here in India, the degree may be valuable. I do not think it would be so valuable in America. It's important to remember that even if the degree isn't so valuable, the experience will be life-changing.
shyam asked, what is the approximate living expense of a student in US
Gitanjali Bakshi answers, For food and clothing, I would advise taking about Rs 1,00,000 per term. If you have to pay house bills, it will be much more expensive.
Tomorrow: Part II
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