Harsh Shahi, Truman State University, Missouri USA

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Name: Harsh Shahi

Major: Computer Science

Class: Senior

Hometown: Noida, India

I dreamt to pursue a career in Computer Science. When a representative from Truman State University visited my school- JPS Noida in India, I researched about the institution and found it to befit my interest as well as cost. 

I began with Computer Science Major and then after semesters of going back and forth with a Mathematics Minor/Major, I decided to do the Major. I also found space in my last semester to fit in a Statistics Minor. For someone pursuing Computer Science, these are all very effective tools to widen one’s learning in related areas. This broad approach of studying along with classes for the core field was a big advantage in shaping me.

Experience beyond the classrooms

Accommodation, campus dining, and building friendships: Living on campus helped me make new connections. New friendships were made first in class, followed at dorms, and then gradually at clubs. My roommate was an American student who became a close friend of mine over time. I have made some great friends on campus. Living with fellow students down the hall, I always found a friend to join me for lunch. But now being COVID-19 struck and with the University’s safety guidelines to follow, I get my food packed and eat it in my room.

Within the university campus, we have a food court, residence hall dining rooms, cafes, and convenience stores. I can get pretty much everything within the campus itself to keep us safe and energized throughout the day.

Clubs and Organizations: There are over 200 hundred clubs at Truman and I was a part of 20 such clubs like Water Polo, Computer Science club, and more. They helped me to connect with students with similar interests. Currently, I only continue with the Computer Science club considering that requires no physical presence. However, the facilities are such that one can expand their connections through clubs, intramural sports, musical groups, professional and service organizations, student government, and more. 

Shifting to online classes and support offered: Other than the sudden shift to online classes that everyone faced I felt the school administration and Center for International Students did a pretty good job handling it. If any challenges arose in academics the professors were always helpful.

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Work opportunities: Truman offers a variety of student employment opportunities under Federal Work-study, Institutional payroll, Scholarship opportunities, and other On-campus and off-campus employment. I have had been waiting for my turn to gain work experience in the US economy. Currently, I am working part-time as a Machine Learning Intern at Centene Corporation, which gives me confidence that I will enhance my job prospects post successful completion of my studies at Truman. 

Safety and Wellness: Strictly following mask policy and contact tracing to make sure infections don’t spread, definitely help everyone. Ever since we’ve been back to in-person classes, I have felt pretty safe. We have Student Health Center, University Counseling Services, and Public Safety Department on campus, dedicated to keeping us safe, healthy, and comfortable throughout our time at the campus.

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My suggestion to aspiring Indian students: If you have the resources or can acquire the resources to do so, I would recommend a decent and reasonable university like Truman. If you can adapt yourself with an open mind to the culture/work/lifestyle of the destination and be able to give up some of your pre-held views in the process, you are set for success. 

When I started my classes at Truman four years ago, at first, I was somewhat skeptical of a liberal arts school thinking that I would be spending too much time on classes outside my field. However, I learned beyond my expectations over the past few years and acquired more skills here. I grew not just academically but as a person as well. The Liberal Studies program helped me rise and so is experience others in my network. Not only do I know more now but I believe that I think better and can executive my thoughts effectively. Overall, it has been an enriching experience studying here at Truman. 

To conclude, I will say that all these aspects of learning at a foreign university will collectively determine my value as a candidate for any position in the industry or academia. I feel that ‘I am the change that I wanted to be’ and will surely grow further for better reasons in life.

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