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Student Story: Apoorva Sarmal – Student Life Abroad

In today’s blog I am going to talk about my student life abroad. Student life abroad can be both nerve-wrecking and extremely exciting! After all, you will be going to a new place, eating different kinds of food, meeting new people and exploring various cultures. You will get a chance to see new sites, learn new things and make long-lasting relationships with people from all over the world. Well, that is exactly what I did, in my first year abroad.
Fast forward to 20th August, I boarded my Emirates flight to New York and safely arrived at campus. After attending orientation and settling in, my parents left to go back. Now, it was my time to shine! I decided to discover my campus by taking strolls, conversing with strangers and connecting with the international students on campus. The best part about being a freshman in an American university is that everybody is going through a transition – students from all around the world as well as students who live 100 miles away. The First-Year Experience office at the university held a lot of programs and volunteering events so students could connect with each other and learn how to get involved in college.
Wisconsin is known for its varied climates. The cold, snowy winters favor a lot of winter sports, and the warm summers appeal to tourists. The weather is normally adequate for vegetation and the climate is most favorable for dairy farming and Wisconsin is very famous for its dairy products! Speaking about the weather, I got to experience warm sunsets during the fall, and the much-talked about – snow. This was my first snowfall and I was sitting by my window sipping hot chocolate and listening to some classical music. All of a sudden, two of my hall-mates knocked on my door; I opened it and they were all dressed up with cameras in their hands. I asked them what was going on and they told me: ‘It’s your first snowfall so we’re here to take you to “Schmeekle Reserve” and experience it!’ UWSP is popular in Wisconsin for its College of Natural Resources and the campus has a reserve very close to the residential dorms. We spent all afternoon in the snowfall, clicking pictures and discovering Schmeekle! It was perfect. That is how I got my amazing picture during the snow fall. (Thank you Becca and Chelsea!) :)
I am a huge fan of the series How I Met Your Mother. One of the things that I was also thrilled about was watching it live in the US. Every Monday, all of my friends from my hall would gather around the TV Lounge with popcorn and we would enjoy watching it together. Since the laundry room was right next to the Lounge, we would also throw our loads in there and call it the laundry hour. I am not going to lie, there was a lot of yelling and crying during the finale, but it was a ton of fun!
India is known for its cuisine and its spices. So when I tell people I am from India, I am often asked – do you know how to cook? Some of my professors are absolute food lovers and they introduced me to the idea of an exchange night. Here is how it goes – they cook a dish of their heritage (if they’re Polish or Italian, etc) and I cook a dish from mine. Cooking is a passion of mine and I got to eat different kinds of food while experiencing their lifestyles and having lots of amazing conversations!
I also worked for the University Dining Service during my second semester and I had quite a few shifts at our barista – The Homegrown Café. I got to learn the art of brewing and making delicious drinks while having insightful conversations with students and faculty! I personally loved working down there because we were always busy. I was called a Mix-o-logist by some, because I would create fun coffees to spice up the mood of our customers!
I am sure by now you all understand how studying abroad is truly an amazing experience and absolutely unconventional. No day is a routine and you get to learn something new every day. Learning university traditions and being a part of a community has enriched my time abroad indeed. From studying for finals in the library at wee hours or having amusing girls day out experiencing different cities and their cultures has explained to me how college is so much more than just education. It is all about you and endless opportunities! So, remember nothing is out of reach. “Aim for the moon, for even if you fail, you’ll land among the stars!
Contact me or the IKC to help you get started for your time abroad :)

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