Monday, January 4, 2016

megaVOICE: My Education and Its Real-World Applications
By Meghavaty Suresh
Contributing Writer

I was pondering my goals for the New Year, and it got me thinking about my time here in the U.S. so far. Reflecting on my experiences gave me a profound feeling of joy. I realized that being international is amazing, even though it’s sometimes scary and frustrating. For instance, I’ve now had the privilege of living in both India and New York City, and while I learned quite a bit in my classes, I’ve also learned some big lessons about life in general.

So what have I learned through my experiences in these countries? How has living and studying abroad changed my perspective? Well, I could give you quite a few responses to those questions. But here are my top three answers and their real-world applications.

1. Report cards can take a hike 
School isn’t all about the grades you receive, but rather what you learn. The school system in the U.S. is structured to reflect that reality. When you’re more focused on your overall education than your test scores, studying can be fun.

Real-world application: Become a better worker and a more practical thinker.

2. There’s room for all kinds of people 

I now see the world as a place that can accommodate people of all different colors, nations, and life choices. I've known it to be true because I witness this world in New York on a day-to-day basis.

Real-world application: Open your mind and make friends from different walks of life – I now have friends from China, Argentina, Japan, South Africa, Estonia, Queens, Brooklyn and even Manhattan – because it’ll help you see the world in new ways.

3. Workplaces don’t have to be all about hierarchy 

It’s possible to work in an environment where hierarchy (almost) ceases to exist. The emphasis is on your production – and not your designation – as it is at my workplace. I didn’t think such a place existed based on my previous jobs back home.

Real-world application: Be a productive employee and engage in happy banter with bosses and minions alike.

It’s a beautiful world, and being able to experience parts of it makes us a very lucky bunch of people. Don’t you think?

Meghavaty Suresh is a brand engagement specialist at The Guardian. She is originally from Mumbai, India. She earned a master’s in new media at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where she realized what it truly meant to be an international student and how best to enjoy the experience. The megaVOICE column is her opportunity to give a voice to the whispers of international students. Megha lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @meghasuresh.

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