California State University Conducts Interactive Session for Students at Oak’s Academy

A four-member team representing four campuses of California State University visited Dilip Oak’s Academy, at Bhandarkar Road, on Tuesday, 11th April 2017. The visiting delegation comprised:

Dr. Ray Wallace
Executive Director (International Programs and Senior International Officer)
California State University, East Bay

Dr. Paul Hofmann
Associate VP (International Programs and Global Engagement)
California State University, Sacramento

Dr. Jennifer Helzer
Director – International Education
California State University, Stanislaus

Dr. Seema Sehrawat
Associate Professor and International Officer
California State University, Chico

The university officials addressed the students on a variety of topics that were important and relevant to the latter. They also took their questions and generally dwelt on the challenges they were likely to face as graduate students in the US. They spoke with students on resource management, coping with academic pressures, on-campus employment opportunities, and safety-related issues. 

CSU-Visit-Oaks-AcademyDr. Ray Wallace dwelt on three topics: employment opportunities in the US after MS, the dynamic of the H1B immigration regulations, and what he called the “Trump effect.”

Dr. Wallace expressed the view that employment opportunities in the US after MS, particularly in the IT sector were “spectacular”.  He revealed that companies were hiring university graduates “aggressively” and that job opportunities in the US at present were “strong”. Dr. Wallace predicted that economic growth during the next couple of years “will stay positive”.

Dwelling on the dynamic of the H1B immigration regulations, Dr. Wallace was of the opinion that the Trump Administration did not have problems with overseas students coming to US universities, and added that it had issues with contracting and consulting companies like Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, etc., which he pointed out had historically netted a large percentage of H1B visas from the quota allocated to Indians.

Seeking to allay the fears of students in general, Dr. Wallace assured them that change comes slowly with regard to regulations in the US and that change will be positive for university graduates. These changes will only present university graduates with more job opportunities, higher salaries, and less resistance in the immigration context.

Referring to what he called the “Trump effect”, Dr. Wallace shrugged off rhetoric of the US President during his election campaign and stated that he was a different man when he interacted with IT majors in the US. Dr. Wallace quipped, “Trump doesn’t speak like that to Bill Gates or people from other major IT companies like Apple,” and added that as a businessman himself, Trump understood and seemed to be sympathetic to the pleas of heads of IT companies for flexibility in immigration-related regulations as they needed to hire people from abroad. Therefore, Dr. Wallace said that change will only be positive for higher education, especially for students with master’s and PhD degrees in the STEM category.

Dr. Paul Hoffman pointed out that there was a wide range of on-campus jobs up for grabs for graduate students who chose to take up a job during their second or third semester. These included academic and non-academic job opportunities, he added. Dr. Hoffman said taking up an academic job on campus could lead to internship opportunities which receive academic credit for off-campus work experience.

On graduation, Dr. Hoffman revealed, one could transition to a period of practical training for 12 months. He stressed that STEM-major students could avail of an additional 24 months of off-campus employment, which would mean 36 months of practical exposure and experience for them. Dr. Hoffman stressed that students could thus make the most of the inherent privileges that would accrue to them by virtue of their H1B visas. He also disclosed that, often, such students are sponsored by their companies for an H1B visa, later, which allows them to continue working in the USA after this initial three-year period.

Dr. Seema Sehrawat spoke on the American education system. She pointed out that in the US students got a lot of practical knowledge. She said whenever she spoke with students of Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and even MBA, all of them talked about how they greatly valued the practical basis of the education system in the US. Dr. Sehrawat did sound a note of caution on how this could pose a challenge initially to Indian students who are more accustomed to theory-oriented studies in India.

She pointed out that American professors were generally very dedicated and always there for their students. Referring to the current political climate, Dr. Sehrawat advised students not to go by heresay or exaggerated media reportage. She urged them to focus on their future and think of what the American system had to offer to them. Speaking of California, she emphasised that California was “quite safe” and added that it was a “melting pot” that welcomed diversity.

Addressing-StudentsAgainst the backdrop of attacks on Indians in the US, the experts pointed out that Indians staying in the US should be well aware of their surroundings and make the correct decision regarding matters such as whether or not stay out late at night. Untoward incidents occur usually late at night after partying. Therefore, it is advisable not to put oneself in such vulnerable positions.

University campuses and its surroundings, they stressed, are safe and every campus has a highly organised and professional police department. Every university is particular about student safety and makes it its top priority, they pointed out. The American people, they specially emphasized, are very supportive of cultural diversity. Sensational media reports usually refer to stray incidents in some trouble spots of the US such as the “Midwest” and some of the southern parts of the country.

Stressing security and safety, Dr. Sehrawat, speaking from her personal experience as an expatriate Indian, opined that American people in general were kind hearted and welcoming, and that one could easily make friends with them.

The visiting delegation of California State University officials spent a couple of hours interacting with students at Dilip Oak’s Academy. They gave students their calling cards and encouraged them to meet them when they joined their colleges.

Working while Studying: On Campus Jobs

Working while studying in America is quite well-accepted. You can work on campus for 20 hours per week. Almost all students studying in a university find on campus jobs. The pay varies from 6-9 dollars per hour depending on the area and the type of work you get. Even if you get an average of $7 per hours, you can earn around $500 per month which is more than enough to take care of your costs of living. You may even be able to pay part of your tuition costs out of your savings.

On campus jobs can vary from working in a computer lab, or in a library or cafeteria. In America all work is respected because Americans believe in the dignity of labour and in being able to pay for one’s own education. Indians are widely accepted in computer-related fields. You should try to get a job in this area since the jobs are more comfortable and the pay is better.

Arriving at SUNY: Prospects Bright

A First Look at Travel, Accommodation, On-Campus Jobs and the Computer Science Course at State University of New York, Binghamton

SUNY, Binghampton

Whenever anyone starts that new phase of academic life called getting a “Master’s from the USA,” they feel excitement, anxiety and enthusiasm. After going through the strenuous visa process and finally getting your visa stamped, you eagerly look forward to traveling to the USA to start your Master’s course. I know that because I went through exactly the same process of application. My destination was SUNY, Binghampton.

Location, Travel and Transport

Binghamton, which is almost 130 miles from New York City, is well connected to other places by Greyhound buses and other transport systems. After you arrive at the port of authority, the hosts who are assigned to you, generally give you guidance on how to reach their place. I got in touch with students already pursuing their Master’s degrees in Binghamton and got to know that the shortest (and best) way to travel to travel to Binghamton is via road from New York city.

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MS in US: Kinds of Financial Assistance Given by American Universities

Financial Aid

Are you worried about how to pay for the cost of education in an American university? Well, take heart, the costs need not be as high as you think. Over the years thousands of middle class (and even economically disadvantaged) students from India have managed to pursue Master’s and doctoral programs in American universities. The only reason why so many of them have managed to do so when the cost of higher education in American university can range from 20 to 40 lakhs is the generous financial aid given to students by American universities. With such financial assistance, which is given in a variety of fields, the cost can come down to 15 lakhs or even less!

Of course, such assistance is not guaranteed: first, you have to show that you are an academically excellent student. But, it you do so, you stand a good chance of being awarded one of the many kinds of financial aid that are available. Below is an explanation of some of the forms of aid that American universities give to their students.

 

Assistantships

Several universities award assistantships in the form of teaching and research assistantships to masters and doctoral program students. These require awardees to perform certain services for a specified number of hours in a week. The awards are usually for the current semester and may be extendable depending on awarding requirements of the department and the funds available with it. Continuation also depends on the student’s maintaining a good academic record.

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