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Student Speak: Studying abroad made me a better person

Last updated on: October 12, 2012 19:43 IST

Student Speak: Studying abroad made me a better person

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Courtesy Careers360.com

Working professional Maninder Pal Singh shares his student experience at George Mason University, Virginia, USA, where he pursued an MS in Electrical Engineering.

Post completing my Bachelor's in Electronics and Communication from Punjab Technical University, I decided to pursue higher education in the United States of America.

Upon getting my GRE and TOEFL scores, I applied to eight universities and got a timely 'yes' from five.

After measuring all the factors, I decided on George Mason University (few minutes away from Washington DC).

A home and a free bus ride

I initially stayed with my uncle but through the university's Indian Graduate Students Association, I found new roommates. On exploring further, it appeared that there's a whole locality that is home for international students.

We (Indian students) are a majority here and playing cricket is a very common sight!

Soon it was revealed that the reason this location was a favourite among international students was the bus service connecting the university to the metro station which was available free of cost to students!

Reader Invite: Dear Readers, do you have an interesting study abroad experience to share with us? Which country did you visit and how did the experience influence your life and career? What advice do you have for students who aspire to study abroad? To share your experience, write in to us at studyingabroad@rediffmail.com with the subject 'My Study Abroad Experience'. We will publish the best entries here!

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Image: Maninder Pal Singh
Photographs: Courtesy Careers360.com

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On competition and projects

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All Master's level classes are scheduled in the evening, and classes were competitive as working professionals, PhD candidates, Master's students and some very sharp Bachelor's students took the same courses.

This turned classes into really informative sessions and took learning beyond a standard classroom. All courses have projects and meeting deadlines as the courses advance became the biggest challenge.

Initially, this was tough but as time advanced I was not afraid to get my hands dirty!


Image: Images for representational purposes only
Photographs: Courtesy George Mason University
Tags: Master

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'I never felt out of the crowd'

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For one-and-a-half years I worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) for undergraduate students and also completed my course work on time.

We also had a very diverse soccer team and the Saturday matches became an addiction. With all these things going on, I never felt bored.

I was always charged up and new events were a common sight on campus.

What I liked most about the US education system was that everything was grand and I never felt out of the crowd. People are very friendly and the university takes immense care of its students.


Image: Students participate in a soccer match at the University
Photographs: Courtesy George Mason University
Tags: GTA , US

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Graduation day

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We wore green robes and waited for our names to be announced.

On hearing my name, I went to the stage, shook hands with the Dean and ran in front of the camera to get clicked.

My uncle and aunt who helped me a lot during my education were present and cheered me.

After personally shaking hands with all the students, the Dean referred to 'The Class of 2011' as graduates!

There was a lot of energy and emotion in the auditorium. Students tossed their hats high! Education at George Mason University was filled with challenges.

I came out as a good engineer.

More importantly, my experiences made me a better person.

Reader Invite: Dear Readers, do you have an interesting study abroad experience to share with us? Which country did you visit and how did the experience influence your life and career? What advice do you have for students who aspire to study abroad? To share your experience, write in to us at studyingabroad@rediffmail.com with the subject 'My Study Abroad Experience'. We will publish the best entries here!


Image: Students from George Mason University pose to get clicked on graduation day
Photographs: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

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