We had the opportunity to interview one of our international students from India, Ruta Dandekar, who is a junior in the information sciences and technology (IST) major and a part of the women’s basketball team. Here are her thoughts about our campus community.
How would you describe your experience in Penn State York?
Penn State York (York) is a great place to start with. I came here in fall 2011 as a junior in IST. The campus is very welcoming. The teaching as well as the non-teaching staff is really helpful. York being a small campus, we got one to one attention in class. I could ask questions, seek help and clarify all my concerns easily. The faculty is approachable and they help you out with your concerns. I think York is a very diverse campus, with students from all across the world. York has been a jovial and a great learning experience.
You arrived on our campus in August 2011 as a part of the India Initiative project and you are scheduled to graduate in May 2013. How do you think you have grown as a person since your first semester here?
When I came to the campus in fall 2011, I was very nervous. It is hard to come to a new country, a new culture and adapt to a different education system. But, Penn State York made this transition real easy. I could explore myself as a person. The advisers helped out in picking the right courses for me and the faculty was supportive throughout. It was because of the superb faculty that I made it to the Dean’s list. I also got an opportunity to work on and present a research paper with my professor at Penn State DuBois in spring 2012. I am a member of the women’s basketball team at Penn State York. I never felt foreign to the team. They made me feel like a part of the team since day one. I have improved a lot as an athlete as well as a student. I got the opportunity to present the diverse culture of India during the Unity Week celebration last semester. Penn State York did truly help me explore myself, overcome my limitations, and seek newer opportunities.
What are plans after graduating with a bachelor’s in IST?
After graduation, I want to gain a work experience of about two years, before I pursue a masters degree. The work experience will expose me to the real business and technology world and I could use this opportunity to learn more about the upcoming trends, thus giving me a chance to sharpen my skills to be fit for the real world.
Did you ever feel homesick? How did you manage homesickness?
Sometimes, yes. Sitting idle, with nothing to do would be worse. My friends here helped me out. I would always find something to do with them, so I don’t keep thinking about home. Also, technology helps out. I can talk to my parents over Skype; maybe call them up using a calling card. I never really felt the long distance.
What could be a word of advice you would like to share with the international students who have just arrived this year?
I would say explore all the opportunities and utilize all the resources at your disposal to the fullest. Conquer your fears. Don’t be afraid to voice your questions, concerns. Such a diverse campus as Penn State York is a great platform to learn from other cultures.
Lastly, what would be your two favorite things about the campus? What are your two not so favorite things about the campus?
That’s tough! My favorite things are my basketball team and our coach, the Multi-cultural Club, and the International Coffee Hours. Honestly, there is nothing about our campus that I don’t like.
We are…Penn State York!!