My First week in the USA
(article contributed by our user, Ravi Kumar Assudani of Stanford)
9/11: My first day in the USA
Full of enthusiasm and hope we (me and my would-be roommate Kushagra) landed at the San Francisco International airport. Walking at the airport, I had all sorts of thoughts crossing my mind that how this new chapter of life was going to be. Escaping from the customs with bags full of pickles and Indian spices, we walked out of the airport and were received by students of Stanford University.
9/12: The journey begins
Last night when I entered the campus it was all dark and I really couldn’t appreciate its scenic beauty. On my first morning in US as I removed the curtains of my room the view of the campus was mind blowing. I had a good sleep as opposed to most of the other people who were affected by jet lag. We were handed with some booklets when we took the keys for our room including information about apartments, time schedules of upcoming events and tips to settle down at campus. All these had lots and lots of information and I always wonder if anyone ever reads those. In the evening we went for a walk exploring the campus and appreciating the greenery. The weather was good but still it felt cold in the evening, we were both wearing woolens while on the other hand many girls there were moving in small shorts. Though it was good for us but made us feel even colder.
9/13: The Pan IIT picnic at Fremont
Thanks to Kushagra’s senior who got us tickets to Pan IIT picnic, an event when all the IIT alumni of the Silicon Valley get together. We drove all the way crossing a really long bridge at 100 kmph crossing the bay. I have heard it takes a while for IIT guys in States to get to attend major alumni events, we were lucky to get this chance in 3 days. The meet was simply amazing and it felt as a welcome party for us. It gave us a chance to meet our seniors and from other IITs and get an overview of our life after Stanford. There were people who graduate 2 years ago to people who gradated 30 years ago and we two were the only students who didn’t even started their graduate studies. Along with all this there was football, volleyball and above all lots of food and drinks!
9/14: Food Food Food… its all free!!
The first orientation we attended was Stanford Indian Association (popularly known as SIA) orientation. Along with answering all our questions regarding mobile connections, bikes (actually cycles), stores etc. it gave us a great chance to meet all the Indians at Stanford. As usual we were again handed lots of informative booklets. That night was fun, we made many new friends and above all had good food and it’s all free. Stanford is well known for its generosity regarding free food and above all it gives you a break from cooking.
9/15 Job hunt starts
I realized after meeting fellow Indians at the SIA get together that I was one of the rare peoples in Mechanical without any funding. By this time I had interacted with many seniors too who gave all sorts of fundas regarding funding possibilities. I started applying for possible assistantships to profs, by mailing them, calling them or even meeting them in person. I went from call centers to library to stores and started applying. Time passed away really quickly in attending different orientations, looking for jobs, etc.
9/16 International Students get together… free food again!!
This was a great place where we met lots and lots of international batch mates. We made many new friends but as usual the most exciting thing was again the free food. There were lots of things to eat but alas my bad luck… being a vegetarian I had very few options. In fact there was just one vegetable that too went over before my number came. So it was like everyone was having 2-3 varieties of non-veg. and I was feeding on chapaties, some cheese and salad. After that we all went to Palo Alto downtown around half hour from campus for our first Grad night out. We went to some really good pubs but again my good habits made me cry, when everyone was holding wine glasses I was staring at them with cold coffee in my hand. Anyways it was our first night out in US and it was really fun.
9/17 Asha – Giving back to India
This was my best day at Stanford so far. There was an event organized by a non-profitable organization called Asha’s Stanford division. It was a tracking event on one of the hills in Stanford. Lots of Indian people gathered and climbed up the hill chattering all the way. The view from the top of the hill was enthralling. After our return was the food party and we had our best meal ever! Most importantly it was Indian dinner that too all vegetarian.
The first week was full of meeting people, making new friends, appreciating all sorts of beauties, collecting booklets and enjoying tons of free food. First week was simply great and I expect it moves the same way for my entire stay.
Ravi Kumar Assudani,
B.Tech. 2008, IIT Guwahati
First year Master of Science student
Mechanical Engineering Department, Stanford University