As Shared by an Indian student in US on Quora!
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What are the bitter truths of going to the U.S. for an MS as an Indian?
Nikhil Patel, Grad Student at Syracuse University, New York
#1 It’s not a piece of a cake
Most Indian students believe (or were led to believe by the great previous foolish generation of our parents) that Americans are dumb/American education system is poor. Don’t believe them. Previous generation of our Fathers/Uncles was inexperienced and stupid. Remember it’s the same generation who led you to believe that “Bohot scope he beta Engineering me”. They meant well, no doubt, they are good people, but they are inexperienced when it comes to the outer world than their 50km radius.
World has changed, a lot. Americans are one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met. American students make sure that they get a chance to work with a Professor by talking to them, they are good at that. More than that, I’ve 85–90 Korean/Chinese/Japanese students who will work 18 hours a day to make sure that they come out better than you, and they do.
I’ve friends who topped their respective state universities in India, were unable to get a 0/100 in Microsoft’s test on programming. Don’t think that you know programming. More than half the world is better than you.
#2 Jobs are not easy
I know an Environmental Engineer, who somehow applied to 2000+ companies in a period of 6 months. I know a couple of Information Systems students who applied to various jobs (more than 1500) in 9 months before getting a call for an interview. I remember applying to 10 companies in India and getting a job. India has more jobs. I study in a reputable university in US whose CS used to be one of the best till ‘85. Out of 100, hardly 10 gets an internship. Don’t think that there are millions of opportunities in USA.
#3 Jobs are not for you
I study in Mechanical Engineering and I expected that number of companies for Mechanical Engineering would be less than CS/IT/MIS. Wrong. We’ve the same jobs.
Problem is here.
When Career Fair came last year, I was excited to see 120+ companies on day one in the fair for Mechanical alone. For CS there were around 130+. But here is the scene. They have various criteria such as, US Citizen/State Licence/Min work exp in US based company/Non-Alien resident/Only for Undergrads etc. I shortlisted according to these criteria and turned out to be only 5/120 companies where I can go. So, for a class of 95/100 immigrants there were 5 companies, and for 5 Americans there were 115/120. Cool huh?
#4 You don’t know a shit
When you enter a class in Grad studies, specially a field with a lot of Math in it (Aeronautics/Mechanical/Electrical etc) they expect you that you know MATLAB, Mathematica, Pro-E, CATIA, ANSYS, MAPLE, Simulink, CFD along with all the tools which you probably have never even heard of. First lecture will finish the course more than you studied in entire semester in India. Your life will be worse and you will think of going back to India. You fight. You clear the test. You may even get a good grade. In the end you will realize you still don’t know a shit.
Trust me, you don’t know a shit.
#5 Get ready for Stress/Depression
You come from a place where mom made you good food everyday and threw dishes for the maid to clean up at the end of the day. Your parents went for a grocery and all you did was to make them cry internally by throwing away their food.
Buckle up. You’ve to make your food now. You’ll start living on Bread and Milk. You will get annoyed/frustrated of before and after the job of consuming food. You’ve to walk a mile to get grocery and lift 10 kg of it in your hand and walk in a snow 2 feet deep. Your nose will start bleeding sometime due to that cold. You use to order a pizza from PizzaHut/Dominoes in India worth 150Rs by a single call when you’re hungry, now you can’t. Min cost of pizza comes around 15$ and including service tax, delivery charge, tip it comes around 21$ = 1500Rs, which you can’t afford. So you walk a mile to buy a pizza, just to save tip+delivery charge of 5$. It sucks.
You’ll constantly hear angry shouts of your senior roommates to clean up the mess you made in the kitchen. You’ve a debt with a bank in India and your grades suck worse than a vacuum cleaner, you will find only one way.
Jack Daniels, Evan Williams, Corona, Budweiser, Irish Whiskey Tullamore Dew, Absolute Russian Vodka, Budlight, Royal Challengers, in the worst case, Cocaine/Heroine will become your partners. You will drink until you pass out or when you get in the bed, you will feel like the bed is trying to throw you away.
I never smoked in India. Now I smoke like there is nothing else in the life. Why? If fucking helps. It feels like vomiting your whole day’s shits in the smoke while throwing away puffs of smoke from the basement window out in the air.
I lived there for 9 months, severely depressed that my legs stopped working for me in the morning when I wanted to wake up, I suddenly decided to take a break from all these shits. I called my sister in California that I am tired and I need a break. She booked a flight ticket for me to India immediately that night. It costed her some money to get tickets, but she did it anyway. She knew what I was talking about. She had been in the same situation 7 years ago when she was studying Bio-medical Engineering in Arlington, Texas. She didn’t question me a thing and she understood my silence. Right now, I am in India for a 2 month vacation and hoping to get well.
So before saying “Well, you went to USA. Your life is set, we’re not lucky enough to go to the USA, you are.” to a fellow of yours, make sure to walk a mile in his/her shoe. It’s not easy here.
You’re living a far better life in India.