Ajin N. shares his experience at University of Illinois at Chicago.
Q :- You have been one of those highly respected lot of students who have been doing higher studies at University of Illinois at Chicago How does it feel to be at University of Illinois at Chicago USA?
A :- It’s a great top rank university, middle of Chicago; you can meet lot of different people, the university consists of lot of business activities. Hence there are good job opportunities. So it a very good feeling to be at this university.
Q :- Please tell us about which course you are studying and why you chose that course?
A :- I am pursuing MS in MIS. It is a technical management subject. It was recession time when I started the course. But there are lots of good opportunities after completing the courses. I also consulted from my seniors and relatives in USA.
Q :- Why did you choose the USA for higher education?
A :- USA has the best higher education when compared to India though under graduation studies are just excellent back in India. I even had opportunities to study in Australia and UK, but the degree in USA is much more valuable than any other country in the world.
Q :- How is University of Illinois at Chicago different than any other USA University based on whatever you have heard from your friends about?
A :- It is not different majority. It is situated in down town, it consists of good networking, so lots of business people come and talk and the location helps to get the job easily.
Q :- Are you happy with your decision?
A :- I am very much happy. Right now I am working as research assistant which will be definitely helpful for building my profile in future.
Q :- Where do you live? On-campus or off-campus and why?
A :- I stay off-campus in a rented apartment but it is very close to my college campus, I can’t stay off-campus but still it is a private accommodation. I stay off campus because the cost inside the campus is high. So I prefer staying outside.
Q :- Please share some of your experiences of the USA for aspiring students
A :- USA is a great place to be. India consists of more theoretical studies where you have read and learn formulas but USA prefers practical studies like assignment submission. You can actually see what you do. You have opportunity for everything; there are lots of research opportunities. The kind of funding provided for research is good. This kind of funding is not available in India. You can do wonders in USA if you want.
Q :- How should students select the US Universities? What are the important things to look at and compare among various Universities?
A :- It’s a mistake to choose university according to their ranking. Even the universities with high ranking are not good in particular subject. So one should select the university based on department ranking and according to their interested subjects. One should always look at department ranking, funding facility like scholarships and assistantships, location of the university, good networking for good job opportunity as I have done.
Q :- What’s your advice to students who aspire to go to the USA for higher studies?
A :- Same as answer in 7.
Q :- Other than academics, what else did you learn from the country USA?
A :- The things are very casual in USA. The places here are neat and clean compared to India. Life is casual and party mood. It is how you go with the stream; if you keep it up to yourself and be in your limits, then it’s an easy place to live in.
Q :- How are the studies in the USA different than the studies in India?
A :- Studies are more theoretical in India, they aspect you to know all formulas by reading them. But it is totally different in USA. First you need to know the basics. They ask you to do lots of practical assignments, ask to give your views, more practical and learn up to date which help you to go along with the world.
Q :- Is it worth spending so much money to get a degree from the USA as compared to similar degree in India with lower costs?
A :- If you perform well and are serious in your studies rather than having the dream of landing in USA, then yes it is worth to spend so much. You can earn handsomely after completing the course successfully. So one can easily re-pay the loan in a matter of 5-8 months.
Q :- What’s your advice to parents of aspiring students?
A :- If the students are serious about their studies, so the parents should allow them to study abroad. They should not let their children’s dream dissatisfied due to lack of money because money comes and go but education stays forever. So education will definitely help them in future and can easily regain whatever they have invested in studies.
Q :- Key things to remember for parents and students while planning for the studies in the USA
A :- One should be aware of entrance exams like GRE & TOEFL. One should take care of the deadlines of application, be proactive and smart.
Q :- What are the 3 important things you learnt after you entered the USA?
A :- I learned to be always smart as people are much smarter here. Be up to date, can’t stay without learning. You need to know around the book and you. It’s always a practical approach.
Q :- What difficulties you faced to get I-20? What precautions you have taken while applying for an I-20?
A :- I just went with the flow. I went according to the deadlines. I completed all the paperwork on time. So didn’t face any issues. It is better to be early rather than being late.
Q :- How did you fund your higher education? Was it required for you to show sources of funds before you got your I-20? How did you deal with that challenge?
A :- Yes it is required. I managed to get the I-20 based on Bank account balance. Then Credila came in between at the visa time. It has its own value.
Q :- How Credila's education loans Sanction letter help you to get your I-20?
A :- I managed to get the I-20 based on my own funds.
Q :- How did Credila’s sanction letter help you to get your visa?
A :- Credila gave me the liquidity to go ahead with the fees payment. So the embassy was happy with sanction letter and the way of funding for my course.
Q :- What are your suggestions for students who don't have funds for higher education and hence can't get I-20?
A :- I will suggest them to go to Credila, submit the application with required documents and take the sanction letter to get the I-20. I won’t mind spending so much money to get education because once you successfully finishes the course, then you have the opportunity of earning good where you can repay the loan easily within a period of 5-8 months.
Q :- What are you future plans?
A :- My future plan is to get internship. There after working as fulltime job. In a period of 5 years, I'll go back to India as I am having small business in India. I will utilize my knowledge and experience and may start a business or industries.
Q :- What are your views about the current economic environment in the USA? Has it changed anything for the students like you?
A :- It is not perfect enough. As a student you don’t feel it but last year there were 125 assistance ship programs whereas currently it is much less. But coming December it will be changed. There will be lots of job opportunities by this December to May.