Dreams do come true!
Graduate, UMASS Lowell (USA)
"Working in the US is like a dream come true. Especially when you get your dream job after you complete the degree program."
Akshar, a graduate of UMASS Lowell (USA), currently working in Dell.
Why and how have you decided to go to the USA? My father runs a business. A business that needs 24 by 7 attention. When I was ten, people asked me what do you want to become and I always used to say I want to become a Doctor. Guess what, destiny has decided something else. When I completed my 12th, my father was hoping that I get good grades, at least enough to get an admission to the college. But I failed. I ended up having 88% on my 12th result which could not even got me into some of the best engineering colleges and admission committees were asking for donations etc. Upon all this struggle, I have seen my father felt that somewhere I have failed him. And that face made me to achieve what I have today and will be continue to be the same reason for more in the future. I decided back in 2009 as soon as I started engineering that, I won't be here. I struggled a lot during my engineering days but that taught me a lot too.
How did your family and friends react on this decision? I first expressed my wish to go abroad for further study when I was in 5th semester of my engineering. At that time, my cousin brother was getting married and he came to visit us in India. He told me that it was indeed a good decision and also warned me that would not be an easy path at all. When I told my dad about this and also informed him how it will impact on his business (without me helping him at all) and also financial situations due to the cost of the entire master program. At first, I thought he won't go for it. But I was wrong. He was seeing something better for me. And my mother supported him a lot during that time. He gave all the things I needed and my mom was my mental and emotional support all the time. My brother was proud about what I am about to go for. All my friends were supporting really well in this decision. I am thankful enough to all of them.
How is it to live far from your country? It is indeed a different experience, when you leave the home. I grew up in India. And all of a sudden when you have to leave everything is something hard for you to handle. However, my parents put me on my own since I was in 6th standard. I didn't know if it was god's wish to kind of preparing me what's coming next. Who knows. But that experience helped me a lot. It is always inspiring to see different aspects of both the culture. However, at the end it is you who decide what to take and what not to out of all. I am living a life where I adopted US but at the same time never forgot about India. We did build a small community here just to remind ourselves every time from where I came.
Has it changed you and your life? If yes, how? Yes it did. It did my way of thinking from root. In many ways I stopped comparing myself to others and likewise. I am a complete different person then I was back in India. I learned how to survive in the most difficult situation. I became strong internally. There are no more fears that I had within.
How do you spend your free time? Usually in my free time, I always plan to travel around. When there is a long weekend, I won't be in town for sure. During my stay in US, I have visited 22 states so far. Some of them with family some are with friends and some are by me only. In routine weekends, I do read books (Study, religious etc), visit nearby temple to pray, watch American TV series (I am a huge fan of it and by the way it helps a lot to improve your vocab and pronunciation really well) etc.
What is your biggest challenge?/ What recommendations you would give to students willing to study abroad? My biggest challenge I would say is to perform. There are lot of things you have to handle when you are not in your comfort zone. Especially when you are in US, you have to have a plan for keeping yourself in the US. You have certain procedures to follow, certain timelines to meet and many side issues that you want to overcome. Best way to co-op with all this is, gain the knowledge of what you need, learn how you can achieve, choose the best path and always always always meet the dead lines. Remember always, "Hard work pays off."
What do you like about studying and now working in the USA? About studying in US is really a great opportunity for me. I felt like I am learning it not just studying it. You go very deep into the topic. You learn the practical aspect of every theory a book has. There is no word like hard here. The only thing is you need desire and willingness. Even professors are very cooperative here. They provide you all the resources you need to excel in your area of study. At one point, you might give up but they won't. Working in the US is like dream comes true. Especially when you get your dream job after you complete the degree program. Work environment is great here. You feel lot of competition on daily bases. Hence, it is mandatory to keep yourself up to date with recent trends specially with our technology field. And I am glad that I joined this ever learning force.
What surprised you the most? When all odds are against you and still you achieve what you dreamt for is what surprised me. I got rejected when I first went for student visa. While coming out of the embassy, there were million thoughts going on in my mind. I had an alternative. But I kept on with what I started for. In making decision to appear for another interview, surprisingly everyone was saying no but my dad stood beside me and of course Planet Education who might have taken probably the rare case of me for US student visas. I was so nervous the second time, but I still remember the words visa officer said at that time (it is still written on my FaceBook Wall).
Please tell us in short about your story. How did you happen to work in the USA? When I was in Spring semester in 2015, I started applying for jobs. In US, once you graduated, you need to obtain a work permit from Immigration department to get a job. It was a standard procedure a student needs to follow. In March, I got a job interview at Cisco (the first ever interview after I applied for almost 90 companies). Within two weeks with several round of interview procedure, I got that job. Starting date was May 21st. But I never got my work permit on time and unfortunately they had to cancel my offer. The struggle started again. All of a sudden out of nowhere, Dell called me for a job hiring. They have a huge storage facility out there in Nashua, NH. Interview was not that tough. I got an initial offer as a 9 month contract and then renewal. But there was no confirmation about whether the company is going to get me a work permit visa or no. I had no choice but to accept the offer. After 6 month, one day my manager gave me a call to provide some feedback. He knew about my situation for visas. He helped me getting through that by suggesting to take internal transfer. It was a big move from Nashua, NH to Phoenix, AZ. It's like across the coast. I took couple days to think. Then decided to go for it. My manager was kind enough to let me complete my interviews in company conference room. I finally got hired as a full time employee of dell. Currently I am working in Phoenix, AZ at Dell SonicWALL. They say at old facility that, I was the only employee who made himself got hired from contractor and also changing position very quickly from Data Center Operation Analyst (Mid-Level) to Tech Support Sr. Analyst. It is all because of the knowledge, performance and never say no attitude. Again, I believe in this, "Hard Work + Prayer = Success"
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