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20/05/2016

Crossing the Indian Ocean: Nithya Ramesh

Where did you attend school?

Crawford Prep La Lucia (2004-2010) and Crawford College La Lucia (2011-2015)

Where will you complete your undergraduate studies and in what field of study?

I will be beginning my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, this fall, in the field
of economics and business management.

What prompted you to apply to study overseas?

I've known that I've wanted to go to an American university since I was six years old. And even with the time to process my desire, my parents still had the same concerns I'm sure many people do: expenses, distance, isolation, complications of application process, and add the probability of Trump taking
office.

So here's my defence: look at the statistics, 16 universities in the USA are ranked in the world's top 20 universities. And even if you don't get into those, you're still guaranteed a top notch education. They're ranked 25th in the world for math and 17th for science. In fact, most of the professors at high ranking US
universities write the textbooks most of the world study from. So, focus on the end game. What would it mean to have an American university listed on your resume? It would show that you received an internationally recognised degree, which isn't always the case, and studied within one of the best higher
education systems in the world, with access to advanced technology and research. They would know that you have knowledge of the most updated, modern practices within your field. Living and studying in another country is challenging, requires courage and a positive attitude. These characteristics are more influential than your degree when potential employers are considering you. They give you a
competitive edge and continuous opportunity to build your CV through on-campus employment, extra-curricular clubs and internship scouts.

The American educational system, I feel, values more than just facts. It cultivates innovative ideas through lively classroom discussion, in an environment saturated with opportunities. In addition, they value well-rounded people and encourage you to engage in as many on-campus activities as you can. This is also something that masters programmes and potential employers value.

I guess the idea of living in the dorms, managing my own money and developing my own sense of independence and self sufficiency, all in a country with such opportunity (I mean over 5000 colleges and endless job opportunities, come on) seems even more attractive.

After studying in Africa for most of my life, it will be interesting to be catapulted into a new academic programme with different demands and different methods of teaching. I am excited to develop my global perspective and business knowledge in a new environment, with a different culture.

Which financial aid/bursary did you obtain?

I received scholarship offers from seven other institutes (University of Denver, University of San Diego, University of San Francisco, UMass Dartmouth, Wheaton College, UMass Amherst and Seattle University), but did not accept any of these offers as I found that UMich was the best reputed (1st for business management in the country and 4th best undergraduate business program in the country) in
terms of academic faculty and resources, as well as having the highest job placement.

What are the challenges of studying abroad?

Although I have wanted to be independent since I hit the teenage years, I expect this newfound independence to be a challenge. Adapting to a completely different academic syllabus, making new friends and learning how to do laundry, all seem like daunting tasks. Can I also add ��' being miles away
from home and in a completely different time zone ��' to the list?

However, a little bit of optimism, regular phone calls to home and researching "How to" tips off the internet should help.

What would your advice be to students considering applying to study overseas ?

You have got to have a plan. What made this process so easy for me was having my "to-do" list from grade 10. I spent my grade 8 and 9 years exploring all the extra-curricular activities my school offered to find my niche. So, in grade 10, I started pursuing those interests with great focus.
Keep detailed records of all your academic reports, extra-curricular activities and community service, through the course of high school.
Find your major.
Figure out how you are planning to finance your tertiary education.
Research about twenty universities that fit both of the above criteria.
Create a table comparing their location, annual tuition fee, application requirements (GPAneeded, average SAT* scores, SAT subject tests, whether TOEFLs ** are mandatory, application fee [these may sometimes be waived], number of recommenders needed, supplementary essays, whether you can apply through the Common App and any other specific information or documents needed to fill out), the major you are applying for and its length in years, their job placement percentage and starting salary and, finally, their acceptance rate.
Register with the Collegeboard (https://www.collegeboard.org/) and register for the SATs/ACTS***/TOEFLs.
Register with the Common App (http://www.commonapp.org/) and get started on your essays ASAP. (Remember, the aim is to get all applications requirements into their universities around twenty days before their due dates as the websites tend to get glitchy afterwards.)
Just remember that at the end of the day ��' You have got to do what works best FOR YOU.

Any additional comments?

Just remember, studying abroad doesn't mean you're on your own. There are thousands of students in that position every year, looking to make friends, and there are counsellors and professors assigned to this very task, to ease the process. I have spent most of my formative years in Africa, and I am proud to be an African-Indian. I can't wait to show America the sound of Africa!

*The SAT is a standardised test widely used for college admissions in the United States
**Test of English as a Foreign Language
***ACT is the leading US college admissions test, measuring what you learn in high school to determine your academic readiness for college.

 Crossing the indean ocean image.JPG


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