Practice English Speaking&Listening with: We are Penn State: Indian students talk about graduate student life at Penn State

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Hello this is Monika Setia and I come from UP in India. I am doing my Ph.D. degree in

Health Policy and Administration at Penn State. Hello my name is Prabhat Naredi and I am from

Rajasthan. Currently, I am doing my Ph.D. here in Engineering and Environmental Engineering.

Hello my name is Archana Iyer. I'm from Bombay and I am doing my Ph.D. in the Integrated

BioSciences options here at Penn State. Hi. I am Kulbhushan Grover from Punjab, India

and I am doing my Ph.D. in Agronomy at Penn State.

Archana, why did you choose Penn State for your higher studies?

You know, I was looking for an Integrative BioSciences option and Penn State was one

of the few universities that gave a comprehensive Integrated BioSciences graduate program that

is flexible enough that you can charter it according to your needs.

I also like Penn State because it has really an edge in Ag Sciences, which is my major,

and it is one of the oldest universities that started giving bachelor degrees in Ag Sciences

in the 19th century actually. The best thing I actually like about Penn

State was their website. The professors all maintain their websites pretty cleanly. They

explain their research, what they are doing, and that actually helps you identify which

professor you want to work with. Like, let's say you have an offer from 2 -- 3 different

campuses so it is easy to compare the research here compared to that area. That helped me

in making my decision and secondly, they are offering very good money.

Money is a good factor. It was similar to me as I went through the

website for our department all the faculty had in detail explained their research experiences,

and when I contacted them for questions about the research they were very prompt in replying

to all the questions that I had and I think that communication was truly a big factor

in me choosing Penn State over any other university that I got offers from and definitely as Prabhat

said, I got a fellowship too which was another reason that I actually joined Penn State.

I agree. Penn State was one of the few institutions that I applied to and I knew at what point

my application was - whether it was being reviewed or whenever I was up for an interview.

You know, things like that. And I think that's more important to international

students because, you know, we are trying different options so if we get really good

response actively, promptly. You know what I really like about Penn State

is the diversity on campus, you see people from all around the world and also Penn State

has this policy of integrating collaborations within research groups as well as industry,

so as a student you get the opportunity to do internships and I really like that kind

of environment when you can learn, you know, from different fields and learn how you can

collaborate. I also like, you know, the community around

here. It's very nice to talk to people. People are really friendly here and there are so

many cultural activities going on like Arts Festival, and there is another organization

called Global Connections, which helps students' families if they are not working or if they

are at home so they engage them, students' spouse or their kids. It's really cool, I

like it. One of the best things actually I like about

Penn State was that it is a very small town and I always feel like home, like in fact

all the people I know and that's very nice to meet other people.

We have so many Indian students organizations that we can connect with each other and we

can, you know, do cultural activities and all those things.

Yeah, and it's so much acceptable to diversity that they actually host Indian Food Fest where

actually people from all cultures come and enjoy the Indian food, and it's one of the

big events in State College I would say. I think that one of the good things I encounter

after coming here was International Student Services, ISS. Besides helping out the new

students adjusting to Penn State, I think they organize a lot of fun activities including

those bus trips to DC to New York, and those hike trips in summer.

Yeah, all the big cities, they are very close to Penn State. That is a very good thing.

I think everything is like four-hours drive. Maximum four hours including Philadelphia,

Pittsburgh. The place is very scenical, so you don't mind

driving. Yeah, coming from Bombay, where it's very

crowded, Penn State was really nice because I have had experiences where I have gone skiing

and I have been able to do cross country skiing, rock climbing, hiking. It's really been wonderful,

besides your graduate program. One surprising fact here was that being Indian

was the second largest international community at Penn State and people here are very accommodating,

so that's the surprise. Yeah, I think it was the same for me and I

think I learned more about the Indian culture after coming here, with so many diverse people

that I met here like living in the Northern part of India. I just met people from those

states which were near my state, and after coming here, I met people from all over the

country, and I think it was great learning about the culture--so diverse and different

foods that I ate from the southern states especially. I think it was great--very good,

yeah. Did you find any surprises Archana after coming here?

You know what I like is how the alumni of Penn state come back to Penn State every year

for the football games -- the way they tailgate. This concept of tailgating a day of the football

game is just very novel to me. I kind of like it. I join my department friends during the

football games to tailgate, and of course cheer for the team, so I like that.

Yeah, I also like the homecoming parade. It's a really big procession just like we have

in India. We have religious procession, so it kind of reminds me of that. I really that

and kids also enjoy that. And kids enjoy the July 4th.

Oh yeah, the July 4th fireworks, they are really surprising.

They are really nice, I enjoyed them. When I first came to the United States and

I joined Penn State, I was the first one from my family to come here, so I didn't know anybody

here and I remember I was so nervous coming to this new country. Penn State was my window

to the United States, so the people here really made me comfortable getting to know the culture.

Especially, my department was very, very helpful in how I got to know where the grocery store

was, how I got to know how to do the taxes, or get around this place. The department was

very, very helpful. I think it was the same for me, when I came

here. I never realized that there would be so much Indian things available around this

place. We have an Indian grocery store, an international store where we can get all the

ingredients we needed to cook for the good Indian food. There is an Indian restaurant

in town, so I think it was like home while I was here. So, it was never a trouble to

be in a country so far off. Yeah, I think it's a nice place for families

and kids also because there are a lot of parks in the neighborhood so you can take your kids

during the weekends or whenever you have time. So, it's nice for your family also.

This town's ability to be among Indian students, so I feel very comfortable talking to them

and being with them as opposed to a big city, where you feel like alone, like you came from

different cities. Yes, people feel connected with other people,

being a small place, and you feel at home. We are. Penn State!

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