7 Reasons to select USA as your destination for Higher Education

The competition for education and stress level among students in India is much higher than most other countries. Some of the students have their minds set to study in specific Indian Universities , meanwhile others think about flying to foreign countries. Today I will tell you people a few reasons to why you should select USA as your destination for Higher Education.

See the source image
source:www.statueoflibertytickets.com
  1. Grants and Assistantships– Most Indians prefer to study abroad with the help of Fellowships or Scholarships unless you are super rich and can pay for everything with your pocket ( even then I mentioned below a few reasons to select this country). Most countries and their Universities will provide you with a grant , if you are selected for it. Assistantships are also available ,but they are not a common occurrence among different subjects. What I mean to say is for fields of Engineering, Medical ,Designing, Business, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Math there are multitude of grants everywhere , but if you are a student of suppose Philosophy or History the grants would be seldom. Here in USA though, most of the Universities try to provide Assistantship for eligible students for almost every subject.

2. Expenses of Commodities– What I like the most here is the expense of basic living commodities including food is pretty less here. They prepare the ratings in such a way that even the poorest people will be able to buy those products.

3. Helpful Communities– In USA there are numerous communities and organizations who try to help and extend friendship towards International students. There are food pantries where you can get basic grocery items for free every week for students. It does not involve any fee at all. The University also from time-to-time arranges trips for the students for a minimum fee. If you are someone who likes to travel with strangers and make new friends or if you could make your friends sign up for that you would be able to join it.

4. Flexibility in Education– The education system in USA is pretty flexible unlike India or most European countries. You can select the subjects that you would like to study. For example you might be a Math major , but you could still take a class in French if you think that would be helpful for you. American professors are very understanding, it does not matter which country you come from, once you are a student of the University they will try to help you develop your academics in every way possible.

5. Language Barrier– English might not be the first language for most of the Indians , but we still have a total population of 125 million speakers (according 2001 census). You might be thinking , why did I suddenly point that out. Well most of the countries have something called language requirement for students who apply in their Universities. Speaking of English, since most of you are either familiar with it or really fluent with it; this should not pose as a major threat. Think of having to learn different Latin based languages, forget about the Asian languages if you are not familiar with it. Mind you, these language requirement tests are not really cake walks, they can be intimidating sometimes.

6. Financial Situation in VISA– This reason might not be very important for some people, but for others this might be a breaking point. In most of the countries of the world whenever anybody applies for a VISA they have to provide proof of their financial situation or should have a copy of their assets . Depending on the type of VISA and country (I only know about the Schengen VISA, UK , Canada and US VISA) they have a requirement for you to show an evidence of enough money to stay there for a year including your living and school fees in their currency. Which for all of these cases above is worth much more than Indian currency. You can do it through the grant or assistantship that you would be receiving. If your grant or assistantship does not cover it all , you might have to show an evidence of finance of your own or through any of your family member.

7. Safe Environment– Again this point might not interest most of you, but for people who are health conscious and might want to enjoy studying and living in a country which has better air quality than most other nations, you might want to come and study here in USA. On top of mostly pollution free air, they also have good sewage disposal, better water quality than most places in the world. If you are thirsty and want to get some water, you can drink your fill from sink. American sink is lot more filtered than most of India’s expensive filtered systems.

These were some of the points I figured were interesting, what are some of your experiences ; if you are living as an international student here in USA or some other country. Would definitely like to know, so please write about it in the comment box. A last piece of information, here is the link to a previous post , which is a prequel of this post.

That is all that I have to say for today. Have a wonderful weekend folks and happy blogging :-).

6 Reasons to think twice before coming to US

I would like to present a disclaimer before starting with the post.

Disclaimer- I mean no disrespect towards anyone with this post. It is only for Indians (middle-class). It is not for engineers, doctors only for students who belong to Humanities and Social Sciences. Someone whose Grant or Assistantship would be less than $15,000 a year.

Lets begin this journey of getting to the crux of it all. Indians (specially students and service holders) always feel in a way that staying in USA would be better than being in our own country. After this post today, you might all get a second thought.

  1. Public Transportation- In most websites you will find how US has better road quality than India and there are more motor vehicles on the road than in India. What they do not tell you is out of those motor vehicles almost 70% is private and the rest 30% would be public. In public transportation I would consider transit buses, passenger railways, passenger boats, subways, metro, airways. Only select cities in the USA have good public transportation which means you will be able to travel from one city to another or properly within the city without having to book a cab, most of which are in the North or East Coast, excluding Chicago (Illinois), Miami (Florida), New Orleans (Louisiana).
looping #gif #metro #station | Cinemagraph, New york subway, Cinemagraph gif
Source:Pinterest.com

Your University might have their own transit system, but you must not rely on them if you would like to travel to a neighboring town, which I guarantee you is far, they will not take you there . So one must have a car here, also cars can be expensive (second hand cars good quality starts from $4000 or higher) if you get something cheaper than that you will have to spend more on fixing it, on top of that there are some costs which you might have to pay for every 6 months. Unlike India you cannot ride a scooter in a highway or you could buy a bike (bicycle). Ubers can be pretty expensive too for inter-city rides ( will go up to $40 round trip) .

Finally coming to airways, travelling within USA through flights is very expensive. So if you are planning to be here please try to make friends so that you can travel together and it would not be convenient for you.

2. Health Care- You must have a health insurance to be here in the US. There are health insurances for dental care and eye care and a seperate one for a total body health care. According to websites like healthsystemtracker.org and investopedia.com, USA spends 16.9% of their GDP on their health care. So if you are an international student here you will have to expend more so, than domestic students in health insurance. For six months it might roughly end up to $1000 which sometimes is partly paid by the grant or assistantship that you received. So somehow if your grant or stipend is less than $1000 you might want to think twice before coming here.

How Preventive Healthcare Services Reduce Spending for Payers
Source-healthpayerintelligence.com

3. Taxation- All your grants and stipends will be taxed here. So be cautious if in the payroll paper you see the earnings to be suppose $500 or so it will not exactly be that , student or not you will be taxed.

What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Sales Tax
Source:debt.org

4. Food- As Indians we grow up with a variety of spicy food. A meal or thali consists of every taste possible i.e. Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Hot and Sour. Once you are here in US you will want to cook your own food because buying meals every single day can be a tad bit expensive , just like in India. Some of the largest grocery stores nationwide are Walmart, Kroger, Target, Ahold Delhaize and even Amazon (it’s pretty big here). Based on the community or city population , suppose if you have a large Asian community there you might get some spices which are Indian otherwise no. By chance if you are a vegetarian, you will have to start making new recipes because lots of tropical vegetables and fruits are not available here in US unless you are in some Grand city.

Indian Cuisine Indian Food GIF - IndianCuisine IndianFood Chapati -  Discover & Share GIFs
Source:tenor.com

Living in an Asian community or area can also be useful at times as there might be little grocery stores owned by Asians, where you would be able to get the ethnic food ingredients.

5. Housing- Please do not book university housing here in USA. Unlike India in US University housing is much more expensive than living off campus. It is definitely fun living with a community but you can have fun living off campus too.

Head Scratch GIFs | Tenor
Source- gifsoup.com

(Feel like it should be included with ” 6 things to remember while coming to US, but you still must know this).

6. F1-VISA- If you think that the stipend you will be receiving is not enough to maintain a life here and are planning to do a side job, well take a double look at the F1- VISA rules. When you apply for F1-VISA , you are basically telling the Homeland Security that you have enough money on your own including the scholarship or grant or assistantship amount to live here for whatever number of years you applied for. So you will not be allowed to do any job outside your University.

Eyes Popping GIFs | Tenor
Source:tenor.com

If you have an assistantship you can work for 20 hours per week or less, during summer holidays it might increase up to 40 hours per week. But even then you would still be allowed to only work for the University.

Side Notes:-

  1. The Assistantship if you are receiving one will mostly cover your tuition fees, you would still be expected to pay some other miscellaneous fee including- library fee, sports fee, health insurance fee and a few others in the beginning of every year.
  2. None of the Assistanthsips or Scholarship will pay for your VISA application which can be up to a total of Rupees 24,000/- and Flight fare a bare minimum of Rupees 50,000/-.
  3. Most of the Universities will basically expect you to have attempted TOEFL which can be roughly Rupees 13,200/- and some Universities ask for a GRE score as well Rupees 14,699 approximately.
  4. In US there is something called the city tax which you might have to pay in some cities for your grocery.

These are some of the points that I felt like , needed to be presented. If you guys have any questions or would like to add more to it, please speak about it in the comment section.

Have a good weekend and an awesome week ahead.

Wonders of New Mexico-Day 4

This will be the last post from this series. On our fourth day there in New Mexico , we decided to travel to the Tent Rocks or Kasha Katuwe National Monument. It was almost an hour’s drive from where we were staying. So we started our journey towards this beautiful place at around 10 am , after being served breakfast by the lady of the Airbnb place. Telling you guys again she is a wonderful woman.

A brief history and geography of ‘Kasha Katuwe’. The word means ‘white cliffs’ in the Puebloan language ‘Keresan’. It is located on Pajarito Plateau, South-West of Santa Fe, New Mexico near Cochiti Pueblo. It is said that humans have occupied these rocks for more than 7000 years. Distinctly in the 15th century, the ancestors of Pueblo Indian people lived there and they were the ones to name it. Now a days the tribal people of Cochiti Pueblo contribute and help manage this monument. They also have access to this place through tribal lands.

Source: My Phone’s camera (Kasha Katuwe from a front view).

The tent rocks are cliff faces of Peralta Canyon which are pierced by smaller canyons containing the tent rocks and that is why they have been named so.

Now that we are done with a brief history of the place, let me tell you guys about our day there. We took the Cave loop trail, which is a 1.2 miles long and you can get a wonderful view of Hemet Mountains, Sandia Mountains, Rio Grande Valley. I am sharing a few pictures that we clicked there.

A view of the comes when it is close to sunset during Winter.
The little grooves we had to walk through.
The view from the top- Sandia and Jemez Mountains.

The vacation was successful for us and the very next day we returned back to the Natural State- Arkansas.

Wonders of New Mexico -Day 1

I am extremely sorry, for not being able to post earlier. I have been facing a writer’s block for the past few weeks. Continuing with the journey-

Source- My camera

The hot air balloons of New Mexico were the first thing we saw every morning from the back porch of our host’s house. She was kind enough to prepare breakfast for us everyday we stayed there.

Day 1 Agenda

Places to visit-

  1. Petroglyph National Monument
  2. Museum of Natural Science and History
  3. Old town of Albuquerque

When we reached the visitor’s centre of Petroglyph National Monument, we selected the Boca Negro Canyon trail to hike. The trail is at a distance of almost 10-15 mins from the visitor’s centre. Once you reach there , you can start hiking the trail.

These are some of the pictures we clicked there.

A beautiful cactus flower.
The kind of rock formations visible in the monument
My man posing before we began hiking
This is what it looks like from the top

Here is a link that might help you plan your visit to Petroglyph National Monument https://www.nps.gov/petr/planyourvisit/placestogo.htm

Our next visit was to the New Mexico Museum of Natural Science and History. We drove up straight to the museum centre because that was the place we were planning to spend a large chunk of our time. It has lot of exhibitions , some real fossils , a beautiful walk through the rock and volcanic lava formation in New Mexico. I would definitely recommend a visit to this museum.

Some of the photographs from this museum include-

This area covers a huge section of the floor showing different dinosaurs and there is a gadget which you can use to produce the sound of a dinosaur.

It must have taken us nearly 3-4 hours to do the complete round up of this place. Here is link that might be useful to find more information related to the museum http://www.nmnaturalhistory.org/visit .

The last place to visit in our list was the Old town, where the christmas lights were still on and we visited some of the shops in the old town. It is a place worth visiting. Some photographs from the old town –

These were all taken in the town square. There is a beautiful old church which you must visit when you are there. Make sure that you reach there before sunset, the church closes pretty early.

I would like to apologize for keeping it extremely short. With no travel blogging abilities here, I have tried summarizing a beautiful journey.

If you want to know more about the day 1 sites we visited please mention in the comment box. I might be able to help you find some legit website links.

Wonders of New Mexico

This year on the 3rd of January me and my boyfriend went on a trip to New Mexico, during the Winter break from School.

Being tedious planners more for me than him , we planned it for more than a month, with the budget, both of our school and work schedules, we finally decided on 3rd January 2020.

Today I would like to share some photos of the journey. I must mention that we traveled via car which is common here in the States. Learnt about it right after a few days I reached here. Going forth with the journey-

We booked an Airbnb space in Rio Rancho before hand. Never having lived in an Airbnb we were both worried. But it was a good deal and within budget.

It took us almost 12 hours via I-40 W, travelling through Missouri,Oklahoma , Texas and finally New Mexico. We started at around 5 in the morning and since it was winter, the sunrise did not take place for at least the next two hours. Vast open lands in Texas and few houses here and there through Missouri and Oklahoma was what we saw through the journey. Once we entered the borders of New Mexico the scenic view altered a bit with snow covered mountains.

Its So Beautiful GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Source:Giphy

Here are some of the photographs I clicked while he was driving.

Picture Credits: Yours faithfully (Me)
It was a miniature figurine in one of the gas stations in Oklahoma and I clicked it because it was really interesting.

Picture Credits: Me again
This was somewhere in Texas. Unfortunately, I have a poor memory, so do not actually remember where exactly in Texas.
Picture Credits: The world is really spherical :-), but its ME again.

This photograph was taken when we reached the periphery of New Mexico, you know where you start seeing the sign boards of New Mexico University :-).

Picture Credits: Sad to break your heart, but its me again.

The reason behind me clicking most or all the pictures dear friends is because I cannot drive :-(. Anyways these photographs were clicked when we were close to the city of Albuquerque.

copyright meloheart

How can an Indian student apply for PhD in USA?

First of all I would like to wish all of you a happy new year. I hope you guys have a prosperous , safe and healthy year ahead.

Image result for Happy New Year gifs
Source: Giphy

Coming to the million dollar question… okay well, I am joking . But this is a question I have been asked by some of my friends and juniors who are Indians and want to pursue a Doctoral degree in Anthropology. I will not say the whole process is a piece of cake, because it is not.

What you first need to do is start researching . Yes, you saw right Researching, because that is the key for you to know what you would like to work on, in the near future. Unlike India, when you want to pursue a doctoral degree in USA , you don’t really have to have a proposal prepared. A topic or abstract of your ideas though is necessary, so that you can work on that to find out the current Anthropologists working on those areas. This is true for both biological and cultural Anthropology.

Once you make a list of the professors or may be professor whose research you are interested in , you must mail them confirming if they would accept any students for PhD that year. This should be done during the months of September to October. This is because most professors are busy with the beginning of Fall session in August and also most schools have their deadlines for Graduate application submission from November to December.

I would suggest you to start the whole process from the month of August.

Image result for why gif
Source: Giphy

While some universities do not ask for GRE scores , almost 90 percent of the American Universities do. So you will have to appear for both TOEFL ( English Requirement Test) and GRE ( Graduate Record Examination). TOEFL ibt INTERNET is a test of a total 120 and the GRE is out of 350, both these exams have four different sections. I will further write a post on that later. You must take these tests within mid-October because both these tests share their results with the preferred universities within a period of two weeks. Sometimes it exceeds that period.

There are two other important documents which are necessary. The schools ask for a statement of purpose, where you are required to express your interest related to the subject , a little bit of introduction of your background and you might as well brief them the topic you would like to research on. You will also need an standard academic CV and Work samples. During your Master’s or Bachelor’s you might have worked on a dissertation or two. You will have to provide them with a sample of the written work and if it was published in a journal , you can provide a link of that too. Lastly, the Schools will ask you for reference letters from professors. Generally they ask for three references. These references can be from any of your professors related to the field.

Once you submit the application you will have to wait until March or April first week. If you are selected you will be able to apply for assistantship or fellowship. Also you must remember that assistantship is not a grant , it is a stipend , so Departments can provide that only if they have funding.

Some important points:-

You must take care that your Master’s Grades are an A or GPA of 3.0 in US standard.

Collect your marksheets, certificates and transcripts from your previous University because you will have to scan and upload them for the University you will be applying to.

To receive an assistantship your grades in TOEFL are really important.Most schools accept students with TOEFL score above 80.

That is basically all the information you need. If you have any questions please write them in the comment section. Also I am planning to write posts on Ways to apply for a PhD in UK and Germany as well. If any of you are interested , I could write a post on Fellowships and stipends as well.

P.S.- I might have mentioned school in some of the sentences. In USA school and university are synonymous words. Graduate students are those who are pursuing Master’s or their Doctoral Degree.