Initial experiences of an International Student~
I was very excited, a few days before starting for USA from my home country, as I was travelling out of my home country for the first time. I was little apprehensive about finding a place to live in Minneapolis, that along with my excitement of going to a foreign country made me start my journey 3 weeks before the classes actually started. It took me days to figure out what my baggage should consist of as I had to follow the weight limitations imposed on the baggage by the airline authorities. I now know why they call Knapsack problem difficult after taking my Advanced Algorithms classes. And the day arrived, but it wasn’t an easy day for and I felt the journey to be much longer and tiresome than I expected. I took a train from my hometown to Hyderabad, and flew from Hyderabad to Mumbai, took a connecting flight from Mumbai to Chicago via London and finally another flight from Chicago to Minneapolis. The entire journey took more than 48 hours. And all I could do after reaching Minneapolis is sleeping for one complete day.
I love visiting places, and that made me visit Stone Arch bridge and Guthrie theater on the second day I arrived (I could have done that on my Day 1 itself, but you see my Day 1 here went missing *grin*). Then started going around campus – to the office of ISSS, Boynton and Computer Science department to get the holds removed. It was at that point of time that I realized using Google Maps is the best way to go from one place to another – we just key in the source and destination addresses, and the rest can be left to Google maps. We get directions to go from place to place on foot or by bus with the detailed information about bus numbers and frequency of buses. More to this, I found the web address of Metro Transit website which has everything about buses in it. Find places to eat was another problem in the beginning.
Being an international student, I wasn’t aware what Americans eat and wasn’t sure if I could eat something as I have certain restrictions on what I eat. But to my help, I found majority of the food places contain the ingredients of a food stuff in their menu board, and if something wasn’t clear to me I would ask questions to the people at food places (people here are very friendly, they are more than ready to help us with our doubts) about what each food item consists of. This way, my life got much easier. Of all the many different foods I tried here, I love the Wild rice soup, couscous with roast portobello mushrooms, Burritos at Chipotle, Garden fresh Pizza at Papa John’s (along with the peppers they provide), Taco salads and the list keeps going! *grin* Apart from eating food outside, my culinary skills have improved a lot after coming here. I had rarely been to kitchen when I was back in my home country, now the situation has totally changed. I like this change in a way and I like cooking now trying out various things based on intuition, and they work out perfectly.
Finding a place to live seemed like another tough job but that also got simpler with the Minnesota Daily coming to my rescue. I followed the classifieds column in MNDaily newspaper and called up the owners of the apartments, fixed appointments with them and in this way found an apartment. MNDaily also hosts their classifieds for student housing online.
I spoke to lots of people who were already part of the U before I joined, and that helped a great deal in making many issues simpler. And I suggest that is the best thing one should do to get answers to the whole lot of questions one has before joining any university.
Before I sign out, let me write about yesterday. It was a big day here, everyone glued to their news channels or news websites. And finally the Blue won. Barack Obama is the new President of US of A now.