Friday, September 20, 2013

[STUDENT AMBASSADOR] Rohini Swaminathan - If I Can Do It, You Can Too

WES Student Advisor: What is an average day like as an engineering student in the U.S.?

I am not going to lie here; it is hard, really hard. Especially to adapt to US education system that is completely different from what India offers. A typical day would be getting up at six in the morning for the sleepy seven o’clock lecture, followed by back to back 2-3 hour lectures and spending the entire afternoon at work (I was a graduate assistant at one of Purdue’s administrative office) and coming back home by 4-5PM to quickly cook some unbearable I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-this meal and starting with the homework for next day! One might think weekends can be a blessing, but then you will realize it can be worse than weekdays. But I should say it gets better from the second semester.

WES Student Advisor: What are some unique challenges students from your home country may have when applying to universities in the U.S.?

India as a country is well known for its excellent human resources. But most of the time one can always find hundreds of students trying to figure out where to begin, whom to ask, what exams to write, which universities to apply and so forth. Apart from cities, highly qualified students from rural areas or townships settle for an ordinary job without having a guidance to get to where they want. And as a girl and an engineering student, one of the unique challenges I faced is to convince my own family members that I can go half the way across the globe to get good education. Most of the girls are still concerned about having the independence to decide and live on their own – pure reflection of the way they were brought up. Breaking that barrier will be the most difficult challenge of all.

WES Student Advisor: What are your hopes after graduation?

I started looking for jobs a semester before graduating. I should agree that it is no easy task, unless or until you are a Computer Science or Business major. After months of searching and applying, I got into NASA DEVELOP program as a student intern and I have been working there ever since.

WES Student Advisor: Why did you decide to participate as a Student Ambassador?

WES student advisor opens a unique door for me to share what I know with people who might want to know. I wish I had an opportunity to know more about the application processes and life in U.S before I came here.


Hello everyone, I am Rohini Swaminathan. Born in a small little town, which might actually show up if zoomed in to the last or last before level in Google maps, I grew up here and there in several small corners of southern India. Life came alive again within the walls of College of Engineering, Guindy where I got a Bachelor's in Geoinformatics Engineering. After my Bachelors, I moved to United States for my Masters in Civil Engineering at Purdue University. Currently I work as a student intern with NASA DEVELOP trying to put all my academic years to some good use. I can easily be seen as another one among one billion Indians, with a small significant difference though. I always ask myself “Why not!?” and that question with a little curiosity has helped me travel far and wide, meet interesting people, gain invaluable experiences and definitely led me to where I am right now.

Did you miss Rohini's webinar? Don't miss another one and register here.

Read Rohini's Blog Part 1 - Know What You Want & Search For It

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