International Student Spotlight
Each month we introduce an international student currently studying in the U.S. and ask about their adjustment to university life. This month, Ishani Debnath shares her story about why she chose to study in the U.S. and how she got used to her new college environment.
Name: Ishani Debnath
Home country: India
University/College: Stony Brook University
Major: Economics and Environmental Studies
Career aspirations: Environment Safeguard Specialist at the United Nations
Graduation year: 2013
What made you want to study at a U.S. university?
The reputation and the excellent faculty profile of U.S universities seemed very appealing to me. Also multinational companies and organizations always look towards recruiting students with a diverse education background from a reputed university. I had the privilege to start my education in the U.S right after high school and I am glad I made the decision to come to the America.
What types of things did you do in high school to prepare yourself for attending university?
Well there is definitely the SAT exam which is not easy going but with hard work and regular practice, it is not difficult to crack it and get a good score to enter a good university. I consistently made effort to maintain good grades at high school and have a good interpersonal relation with my teachers and keep a good record in the extracurricular activities as well.
How did you decide which universities and colleges to apply to?
Stony Brook is a reputed university known worldwide. It has a good economics and environmental science program. The campus environment, Professors and the surroundings of Stony Brook was very appealing to me. I applied to many different institutions in the field of economics and architecture and I came to the conclusion that Stony Brook has all those opportunities that would benefit me and my future career.
How was it adjusting to a new country and university environment?
It definitely was a new environment coming from India to the US. With different cultures and background, it seemed at first that getting along would be difficult; however it was the other way round. The university community and environment was friendly and homely. I was excited to get adjusted to this new culture and so far I have had an amazing time as an undergraduate student. I did not feel any difficulty in communicating or adjusting to the language barrier and the culture of people in the U.S.
What do you appreciate most about studying at a U.S. university?
Studying in the U.S. enhanced my research and writing skills for later professional work. Most importantly, it gave me confidence and leadership skills through experience to face all challenges with integrity and perseverance. The rigorous course work and intriguing subject matter and the diversified education curriculum helped me explore and accept different fields and view points and made me more open minded.
What do you find most challenging about studying at a U.S. university?
Independent research study works. They require a lot of effort in studying and rigorously searching through different books, articles, journals and an ample amount of time. This intense work definitely prepares you well for later graduate school and professional work.
What is your most memorable moment of studying and living in the U.S. so far?
So far I have enjoyed each and every moment of my stay in the U.S. Some of the few memorable moments could be when I was chosen and awarded academic excellence and leadership awards. Different adventurous trips with friends and peers and exploring more new things every now and then could be counted as some of the best moments for me.
What advice would you give to students in other countries wanting to study in the U.S.?
Always be confident and believe in yourself and do not be afraid or ashamed to communicate with people. Learn to appreciate and accept new things and view points and at the same time, express your own stand points with confidence. Be imaginative and creative, and with hard work and perseverance, the end result will be joyous and worthwhile.