Tag Archives: international

Garba Night

By Audrey Moore




The crowd begged the live band to play the family-favorite tune, an upbeat Garba song that involved sitting patiently until the magic words “Sanedo lal lal sanedo” blasted out over the speakers and across the audience.

When the singer reached the refrain, everyone sprung up from their spots and landed spinning, dancing with swift turns, swinging arms and short, energetic hops.  Colorful skirts and suave kurthas amassed into one giant kaleidoscope of dancers, all shouting and singing along as loudly as they possibly could.  In the middle of it all, I was there.

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Career Fairs are about Seeing Your Skills in a New Light

By Diya Dwarakanath

With the USC Career Fair coming up this week, I know many students will be trying to find internships or full-time jobs for the upcoming semester. This can be daunting for all students but international students have the added burden of finding companies who will accept student visas. Sometimes, it might seem like being an international student only has disadvantages. However, it all depends on your point of view and how well you can sell yourself to an industry recruiter. Try using your international student status as a positive! If you think about it, the fact that you’re here and adjusting to a brand new way of life is telling of your strength in adaptation.

For instance, every time I visit India (every two years or so), it takes me a couple of days to once again become comfortable amidst the order in the chaos that defines Mumbai. But once I do, it all sinks in at a rapid pace. I begin to remember the Indian languages I hear around me. I combat the humidity and sandy roads with cotton clothes and sturdy sandals. I find myself speaking Kannada, a South Indian language, with my grandmother and then quicking turning around and conversing with my cousin in Hindi as we ride an autorickshaw (a three-wheeled taxi) around town. We might enter a beauty salon, where I speak fragmented Marathi (the state language) with the owner, knowing I will get better service. Later that night, I call my dad (who is back in the states) and we talk about my day in English. Finally, In the Mumbai airport, as I’m waiting to fly home, I overhear and understand fragments of a French couple’s conversation.

Then, once I return home to Oregon, I am grateful for hot water that flows out of the sink just by turning on the faucet. I appreciate the high pressure of the water and the fresh, natural air I breathe. I don’t have to turn on a water boiler and wait for it to heat up the water when I want to shower anymore. I also don’t have to wear a scarf to cover my mouth and nose to avoid breathing smog-filled air every time I step outside. But of course, within a couple days, I forget about the physical comforts of being home and take it all for granted. Once again, I’ve re-adapted to the lifestyle in the United States.

All this is something I do naturally so I’ve never thought about it until I had to write about my international experiences for a scholarship opportunity. That’s when I realized that every international student has had this similar experience and that every one of them can use this experience to their advantage.

The ability to quickly understand and successfully adapt to a new environment is CRITICAL in the job market.  A successful new hire or intern will be observant, paying attention to how people do things in their departments so they know what the process is. In addition, they must learn the lingo (or the terms used specific to that company or department) of their new job quickly so that they can integrate into the team. This means listening to others, reading resources available through the company website, and asking their mentors or peers. If they have to work with international clients or colleagues, they must be aware of different work cultures and the time difference. You can’t call your client when it is in the middle of the night for her or him!

Guess what? An international student does all of these things naturally! When they move to the U.S., they learn American colloquialisms by listening and being observant. They plan their Skype sessions with family and friends back home, just like you might plan a web conference with colleagues at work. An international student is already well-equipped to be a successful intern or new hire. Now, it’s up to you to help an industry recruiter understand just how valuable you truly are.

Read up about the Career Fair here: https://careers.usc.edu/students/info/careerfair

Featured image from DynamicPickaxe

Diya is a second-year graduate student doing her Master’s in Biomedical Engineering. She also did her undergraduate degree from USC so she knows her way around campus, including some of the best study spots! Diya is from Oregon originally, but was born in India and moved to the U.S. when she was young so she knows what it is like to be in a new country. After graduating, she worked for two years at a medical device start-up and at a large technology company. In her free time, you’ll find Diya writing, dancing (she’s a trained Indian classical dancer but loves any style), going shopping, or watching TV/movies.

A Homestay Home

By Ida Abhari

When I entered my first year at high school – already a new and uncertain time – my mother told me and my sister that our family would start hosting international university students. I thought it would be a fun experience and, having grown up with immigrant parents, I was no stranger to the joys of diversity. At the same time, I was a little bit nervous too. Would I be able to create an authentically American experience for these students? Would they enjoy my home and family?

The day Yuki (our first student) arrived, we tried to make sure she would be as comfortable as possible. Thinking it wouldn’t suit her taste, we didn’t eat our usual traditional Persian food for dinner; we ordered pizza instead. During dinner, we learned that Yuki had never been outside of Japan but that she was excited and open to learning about her new surroundings and broadening her horizon. I quickly saw how kind and understanding she was and that I shouldn’t have worried about her not liking our home. In fact, she told us she wanted to try Persian food, which surprised and pleased us at the same time.

In the coming weeks, we showed Yuki our city. I pointed out the best tofu house, my favorite boba shop, and my high school hangout spot. Though Yuki went back to Japan after finishing her semester abroad, we were fortunate enough to receive many more  intriguing students. Hitomi, Miyuki, Tomomi, and Mae, among others, became part of our household and constituted an important part of growing up for me. From them, I learned how things I had previously saw as ordinary were actually quite extraordinary – Miyuki, for example, was thrilled that we had a grill in our backyard. She snapped countless pictures of this grill, something I had seen as a standard household item. She explained that where she lived in Japan, houses and backyards were often too small for such features. Likewise, Hitomi introduced me to the Bath and Body Works store. With its varied and delightfully-scented cosmetic items, I am forever thankful.

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