About two years ago, I decided to come here to the U.S. to pursue my master’s. When I decided to join Oakland University, I didn’t know much about it. OU was the only university to offer specialization in the area of my interest so I didn’t have much of a choice. I guess I was brought here. Destiny.
I still remember the day in India when I left my home. I was sad as I was going away from my family. I was also scared and equally excited to travel alone in a completely new world. I was going to the other side of the planet. I was also excited about the huge boring flight. It was my first time. I said goodbye to my family and friends at the airport and began the journey. With two bags packed with all of the necessary stuff, lots and lots of memories of my family, friends and a little high due to an extra shot of free whisky on the flight, I came to US. The driver who was supposed to come pick me didn’t show up, so I took another cab in which the driver was having something literally from a glass. It smelled like rum. Not sure if he was talkative or it was just the beverage from his glass but he told me almost everything about Detroit on our 45 minute drive from airport to the university. I was just busy checking out all the buildings, Bumblebees and Optimus Primes running on the streets. After twenty seven hours of flight, when he dropped me at my apartment, the only thing I could do was to fall asleep.
Jetlag is a funny thing. For almost first two weeks, I was wide awake at night and totally exhausted during the day, but that didn’t stop me from going out. I had about two weeks before the orientation and only things on my to-do list were to roam around the university and to hang out with my new friends. I explored almost everything – The Elliot tower, Oakland center, Engineering center, Arts building, Meadow Brook Amphitheatre, Athletics dome and the huge and nicely mowed golf ground. It was beautiful.
Two weeks later, our orientation was in the Oakland center. At the orientation, I met students from across the globe. Everyone in that room was from different parts of the world, from different cultures, religions, and backgrounds. We all had different a mother tongue, different taste in food, different favorite subjects, and different majors; different everything. Still, it didn’t take long for us to connect with each other. The one common bond of being an OU student was enough. Along with all the new students, I was also introduced to the different organizations at OU. During this part of orientation, a guy named Cam introduced us to this amazing family called International Oasis at OU and their programs for international students. He said he would provide free furniture to all the international students. To be honest, it did sound like a joke to all of us but he wasn’t kidding at all. International Oasis provided us free furniture in next week and converted our two bedroom apartment into a place called home. My friends and I became really good friends with Cam and all the international Oasis members. I got a small family in this new world on the other side of the earth and a jumpstart to the academic progress.
On the academic front, OU has earned a reputation and all the professors work really hard to maintain that reputation. While maintaining that reputation, all the professors never say no to help to any student. In my first semester here at Oakland, I was confused as I was coming back to studies after a gap of two years. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to do it, but my professor not only motivated me to keep going but every week he took extra time after lectures to discuss my doubts and made sure that I was doing okay on my grades. The assignments and quizzes are surely not easy but like professors say here, “It’s not gonna be easy but easy is not an option.” I have spent days and nights in the library to work on my assignments and projects. And yes! I loved it. I loved that little moment filled with the happiness of completing something after working on it straight for hours. I loved the challenging environment that OU provided that made me work really hard, that made me go above and beyond and made me stretch my limits every now and then. OU provided me all the facilities required to do well in my courses. My professors make sure that I am constantly motivated and working hard. And International Oasis gave me a family.
Along with all the hard work, I have had a lot of fun here and all the credit for that goes to International Oasis. They have arranged different events like an Easter party, Halloween party, Thanksgiving party, Christmas party etc. throughout the year to celebrate the American festivals. At these events, they told us the stories behind celebrating those days and the importance of these festivities in American culture. They have also arranged events to celebrate some international festivals like Chinese New Year. Celebrating Indian festival of lights, Diwali, with our friends at International Oasis and Indian Student Association was also a memorable experience. Apart from festivals, we have also done a lot of activities with International Oasis. Especially the scouching and games on the snow day this past year was one of the best experiences of my life. I had never before thought of sliding down a snowy hill by sitting on a living room couch. Yes! It’s as crazy as it sounds. And we did that! Thanks to international Oasis.
Apart from these activities, International Oasis introduced me to so many amazing people here in Michigan. I met an American family at one of the events and they invited me to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at their house. They treated me like family and even gave me presents for Christmas. I have also met a group of people who worked to stop human trafficking and to save the girls trapped in red light district across the world. I hope, one day I will get a chance to work for them as well. The people I have met, the experiences I have got here at Oakland University and at International Oasis are countless and really incredible. All I have learned during this journey is – keep working hard, there is always more you can do. And no matter how hard it gets, celebrate each and every single moment of your life, because you’ve got only one.
So, at the end of the two years here at Oakland University, when I am about to graduate successfully, I am walking out with thousands of memories and the most amazing experiences of my life. Today, I feel really proud to be one of those lucky students who got a chance to be a part of Oakland and of course, the International Oasis family. I am sure tomorrow when I will look back and think about the time I have spent at OU, I will be smiling with pride, gratefulness and happiness. It was the most beautiful two years of my life.
To all the prospective students, I have had the best time of my life here. Come, have yours! Welcome to OU!
Written by Sumeet Inamdar, editted by Lauren JurczyszynBeats of an International Heart