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US studies: 'It took nearly two years to adjust.'
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June 29, 2007

Leaving for a new country sounds exciting, right?

But before you book your ticket and board the flight, it's best to ask any lingering questions.

How does the education system in America compare to the one in India?

How much money will you need per semestre?

What should you bring and what would be better left at home?

Get Ahead reader and former US student Gitanjali Bakshi took the time to answer questions regarding university life in America during a June 26 expert chat.

For those of you who missed it, here's the transcript:

Part I:
What Indian students should expect in the US

 sarah asked, Hi Gitanjali,Wat difference is there between US style of teaching vs Indian?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
That's a good question. There is more of an open and friendly relationship between teachers and students in the US. Also, you are expected to interact with your teachers and ask them questions. asked, What is the American Culture?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
There is no one 'American culture'. It's a huge country that is bigger than India. It has many types of people. The best thing about Americans is that they can criticise themselves.

abey asked, back in bombay..waht the hell happened

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
I live and work here. Every place has its ups and downs. America isn't perfect; in fact, it's far from it. One day I'd like to go back but I'll always be from Bombay in my heart!

disha asked, How can I contact Indian students in US Universities?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
Many universities have a programme where Indian Alumni or senior students call and interview you to ask if you have any queries. Inquire with the representative you are in touch with at your college and I am sure he or she will put you through to people.

TissueChewer asked, Gitanjali, if you loathe India so much, why the hell did you come back?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
I have a wonderful boyfriend and my family here in Bombay. I love India and always will.

PORLA asked, Please let me know , what is the ranking of Wright State University of Dayton,OHIO for doing my MS in electrical.

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
Check the following web site -- US News.

shyam asked, if some body gets the fellowship around 1200$ per mont is it ok for them to survive there.

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
If you have to pay room and board, it may be too little. If you don't have to pay room and board, then yes, that should be more than enough!

Shalabh asked, what a 60000 USD job in US can provide you.. i mean lifestyle and status.. compared to india ?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
I would say $60,000 a year would be like Rs 10,00,000 a year in India, in terms of lifestyle.

vikram asked, Hello. Which one thing you find most difficult to do while studying?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
Juggling so many different tasks at once and living alone was difficult. Plus, there's no domestic help in America, which makes every little thing seem impossible!

maunisha asked, Hi Gitanjali.Since the indian education is more about passive reading and theoretical with limited interaction with teachers, is it difficult to adapt to the american edu system? Can one loose out on scores as an indian due to this difficulty in adapting? Wud appreciate an answer.thx

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
Yes, it's especially difficult writing your initial essays and assignments. It can be a big transition to make! It took me nearly two years to adjust fully.

jumbo asked, what is per term

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
A term can vary but it refers to one semester or study period. It can be six months, three months or four months long depending on how your university divides the academic year.


Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
No, but you can openly criticise him.

disha asked, hi Gitanjali I am a law student, and want to know what is the scope for indian law students in US?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
Actually the legal system in the States is very different than the system in India. You would be better off looking for options in the UK or staying in India and practising law here.

Mani asked, Are U.S. univs safe for other citizens? Recently we have seen the massacre in one of US universities by a south korean student. Anybody can carry guns there and even this culture has made its entry into schools too. So do you really think U.S. is a safe place to study?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
I felt safe in university. The massacre was a tragedy; it could have happened anywhere. In India, driving and many other things are much more dangerous than in the US. It balances out.


Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
Indians study science and mathematics more often than Americans.

vishal asked, it is better to study to engginnering in usa than in india...??? i m physically handicapped... do u think there is facilities of physically handicapped....??? am i enjoy in usa??

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
The US has ample facilities for the handicapped. But unlike India you are also expected to do a lot on your own. So think about it.

gupta asked, how would you differentiate the quality of education in two nations (Details)

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
You have to meet professors out of class and read often in America. You can't bunk any classes either.

Palamon asked, If FRED gets an A+ and SMITA gets an A+, can they be expected to get roughly the same levels of job in the US, if you know what I mean ?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
If they're both US citizens, yes. If Smita is Indian, she has to go through immigration first, which isn't always easy. Still, America is a great country for opportunities. That's why people keep lining up to go there.


Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
I'm unsure about loans from the university itself. You should look at loans in India.

spradeep asked, hai Gitanjali Bakshi,I am going to U.S this September. I do not get any financial aid..can u clarify me how to get part time job immediately there..i am planning to come there one month before ..i have opted chemistry even though my back ground is it possible to change my Course of study..??

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
I honestly think that if you aren't getting any aid from the school you should apply for grants. It will be difficult to secure tuition with a part time job. I hope you have worked out all your finances.

zeniaalphonso asked, what is the best part of experiencig an american education?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
Meeting new people from a new culture was the best part. Seeing a new education system was interesting. Learning about how other people operate was a treat.

manas asked, is thier a problem of racism in America..??

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
Racism is a global problem. It's not limited to America. Look at how we Indians treat people from Africa! It's horrible.

Shailendra asked, Hi there any age limit for studying in US ?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
There are no age limitations in US for studying. I took a few classes with aunties and uncles!

sansmith asked, HOPE U SEE THIS ATLEAST, hi gitanjali, with a guaranteed gross of USD 4500 per month, how much will the take home be, and how much can we save as a family man in US

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
You'll probably take home about $3000 (Rs 1,20,000) a month. That's not a lot in America. It depends in which city you're living.

alok asked, Hi I got an offer from Virginia Tech with fellowship & assistantship for Full Time MBA . How do you rate this univ.?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
It's a good, middle of the road university. Most importantly, you'll have access to great research tools because it's a state university.

haha asked, do we have to buy clothes in india or can we buy them in the us ?

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
For the most part you should get some winter clothes from India as the cost can be quite exorbitant in the US. Buy a few choice items in the US. 

Vikas asked, I spent 9+years in USA..most backward state is UTAH Mormons..they stare at dark foreigners..

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
You'll get a very different reaction in New York city compared to Utah. Same as a foreigner will get a different reaction in Delhi or Bombay as compared to UP state.

Snehashis asked, hows life in USA

Gitanjali Bakshi answers, 
It's different, challenging and entertaining. I got homesick eventually. But, I had so much fun and made a lot of nice friends. I would definitely recommend it for anyone with the opportunity. 

Part I: What Indian students should expect in the US
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