‘Studying abroad makes you think out of the box’
One of the major reasons Liban George joined Missouri State University in the US was because he wanted to study what the industry demands, while being part of the international culture. According to him, the best way to adjust in the country is to make friends with international students and experience a different life in the US altogether.
In a chat with Careers360, Liban George talks about what encouraged him to study in Missouri State University and life in the US.
Below are the edited excerpts:
Q: How and why did you choose your university?
A: After lots of research and recommendation, I found Missouri State University is the right place for higher education. The university is 109 years old and known for its programmes and quality education. Various colleges under the university offer courses that have the right mix of academic and industry exposure, which equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge that are required to excel in a global arena.
Q: Was there any specific reason why you chose to study in USA?
A: After my graduation, I wanted to study abroad. Though Europe and Australia were popular among Indian students, I did lots of comparison with different state universities across the globe and eventually chose the US. The country not only offers quality education, but it’s a place which gives you windows to explore the world with an opportunity to study what industry demands, while being part of the international culture. Most importantly, the US universities offer a chance to be taught by distinguished academia that are pioneers in their respective fields and are globally recognised for their excellence.
Q: Tell us about the campus life at your university. How different is it from the Indian campus life?
A: Missouri State University is a melting pot of students from all the corners of the world. The campus is like a home to students from over 80 countries and all 50 states in the US. The varied diversity helps a student to get a holistic world view, which sets MSU apart from other Indian campuses.
Q: How is the competition level? How would you describe your experience of studying in a foreign university?
A: The university gives everyone an opportunity to compete on an equal plane. The students are always encouraged to engage in a healthy competition which helps each other in a right direction. The concept of ‘thinking outside the box’ is encouraged – something that many Indian students aren’t exposed to.
Q: Did you look beyond the Indian community while making friends?
A: Yes, about 80% of my friends were Chinese. Being an Indian, I obviously preferred having roommates that were from India but I hung out mostly with other international students. I had friends from Uzbekistan, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, Peru and Japan (to name a few) and, of course, China.
Q: What about fests? Have you taken part in any of the fests organized at your university?
A: MSU organises various fests to encourage students and their respective cultures. I had been taking part in fests during my tenure as a student and even now, I participate.
The two major fests that Indian students would be interested in are: The International Banquet organized by the Association of International Students and Tarang India Night organised by the Indian Students Association. Each of these events involves a dinner followed by a show that is put together by students. It attracts a lot of locals from the community and is a great way to showcase diversity.
Q: Are you a member of any club? How does it help to orient you with the university?
A: Yes, I am a member of the Indian Students Association and I have served as the president of the association for a year. Students can pick from several associations on campus and get plugged in. It helps me in a great way, I meet new students, interact with them and those relationships help me to build up good relations with other community people, which is how I got into a good bonding with the university.
Q: Going from India, how is life at a foreign country? What do you do to adjust in a new environment?
A: Life is good. The best way to adjust is to make friends with international students and experience a different life in the US altogether. You’d feel much better if you failed with a friend than alone! I encourage students to not stick with others from their own country but to meet other internationals and learn from each other. Obviously, life is very different in the US but Springfield is one of the best places to learn about the US’s safe environment.
Q: What about food? The food culture is not same as in India. How do you manage?
A: The US food is very different from India. Since I am a non vegetarian, it was easy to manage on food. But sometimes, we friends used to cook at our home to enjoy a good Indian meal.
Q: Do you hold any part-time job? How does it help in your education?
A: Yes, I was offered a job at the recreation center as the building manager. Following that, I was offered a graduate assistant position. There are several on-campus jobs available for students and it’s a great way to meet your monthly expenses. In your learning stage while working it gives you both theories as well as practical knowledge for your better understanding. Personally it helps me to learn how to balance work along with the studies. It also helps me to learn office environment in the long run.
Q: How do you balance fun and studies?
A: Students are encouraged to designate time for their studies throughout their semester. Unlike India, where exams are more of a memory test at the end of year or semester rather than a learning experience, memorising your way through college in the US will only get you so far. Applied learning requires you to spend time consistently with your books throughout the semester. When you get into the habit of setting aside some time during the week for studies, you can automatically figure out a way to balance your time to have fun as well.