Chennai, , India
Content Writing, Teaching
0 Comment | 11 Views | 31 Mar 13  | Bharathi Mohan
Most of us have a childhood dream of going into space I was one among the lucky ones who was able to pursue that dream and thatrsquos how I ended up in one of the most prestigious schools for Aerospace Engineering in the United States of America for my Masterrsquos degree. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University ERAU in Daytona Beach, Florida was established in 1965 specially to teach the science, practice and business of aerospace. The schoolrsquos been referred to as ldquoThe Harvard of the Skyrdquo by the Times magazine and it truly befits the name considering the superb infrastructure, facilities, staff etc. When I received the admission letter for ERAU, I was thrilled beyond words there was a flurry of excitement with visa, shopping, packing etc all adding to the thrill of going to a new country. All through the flight to New York which was my port of entry, I was wide awake with excitement. I was a little nervous about the immigration procedures but the people were very friendly and it turned out to be a breeze. What caught my attention at the airport and afterwards was the friendly ldquoHi, How are yourdquo flavored with a pleasant smile from most of them around. Daytona Beach in Florida often referred to as the ldquoWorldrsquos most famous beachrdquo, is the home of the NASCAR races and biking events such as the Biketoberfest in late October and the bike week in March. This is one of the few beaches where automobiles are allowed to drive on the sands in restricted areas at specific timings. The weather is warm throughout the year with pleasant winters. The Indian Student Association in ERAU was very helpful and had arranged for a pick-up from the airport. Jetlagged, I slept for straight 24 hrs and then visited the campus after which I found it hard to leave from there. There was this huge and beautiful campus which I immediately fell in love with. After the initial admission formalities, I was asked to select the courses for the semester. This was a new thing to me and it took me a while to figure out what I needed to do. It helped that everyone was very nice and friendly. Since I wished to pursue a career in the aerospace design field, I selected courses relevant to the same. There was a thesis and non-thesis option for the course and since I wasnrsquot particularly interested in research at that time, I went for the non-thesis option. I was however pleasantly surprised to hear that there was the flexibility of changing the options anytime before the beginning of the second year. The courses were well-planned with excellent professors who combined theory with field work. The International Students Association ISA belonging to the university was a huge help to students like me. They introduced me to the culture of the country while helping me remain in touch with ours. The ISA made sure that all the important festivals of international students were remembered and acknowledged there were also several group activities which helped bonding with other international students. Also they arranged trips to several nearby places such as St. Augustine, Mt Dora, Kennedy Space Center etc. I was also able to sight few of the historic space shuttle launches from a nearby location. The career expo conducted in ERAU is worth mentioning here. Being a very specialized university for aerospace and aviation, thousands of aerospace companies visit the expo to pick students. Some of the favorites were Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, major airlines like the American, Delta etc, GE Aviation to name a few. The career services department works overtime during this time to help students modify their resume and conduct mock interviews. There are workshops conducted well before the expo to familiarize the students with the job seeking process. Working part time in the campus was educative and fun while as a Math tutor and as a student assistant in the Student Activities Department. Living and Studying in a foreign country is a wonderful experience not just for the excellent academics, but for the much needed exposure it provides and the independence it gives to learn and experience new things. The journey was not all a breeze though there were hardships ndash living away from family and friends for the first time, several long nights working on assignments and projects, managing finances, learning to cook, drive, getting accustomed to the way of living in a foreign country but at the end of the day, biting into a bar of Hersheyrsquos makes it all worth it

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