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Updated: November 10, 2010 14:21 IST

A rewarding experience

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TOPPER: Anirudh Iyer is studying electrical engineering at McMaster University in Canada.
TOPPER: Anirudh Iyer is studying electrical engineering at McMaster University in Canada.

Campuses of universities in North America provide a great study atmosphere.

Education on foreign campuses is a different experience altogether and no wonder people who have studied in foreign universities have a different perspective on most of the issues. The vision is broader.

I am currently studying electrical engineering at McMaster University in Canada. I was one of the TOEFL India 2010 Scholarship Winners. Education here at the undergraduate level is pretty similar to the universities in India. But, the focus is a little more on hands on engineering experience.

However, graduate study is the real deal. The universities in North America are ranked higher than their Indian counterparts almost solely because of their graduate degree programs (Masters and PhD).

Also, what I have observed here is that students pursue higher education only if they are really interested in a particular subject. Unlike in India, there would be fewer students who would study further only because of peer pressure. The campuses of universities in North America provide a great atmosphere for studying.

The classrooms are great, the gardens and buildings on campus make you feel that you're part of an amazing place and most professors are leaders in their field and undertake cutting edge research right on campus.

Now, unless you have taken a heavy course load or have taken really tough courses you will have a lot of time to do stuff besides study here. Usually, students take two or three courses per term and that means that one has to attend university only two to three days of the week.

What makes the graduate programmes tougher is that the lecturers dole out a lot of homework and assignments which sadly can take a lot of time and brain to finish. Since it's a master's program; it is assumed that a student will have to undertake a lot of self study. But overall, most students should be able to do just fine.

If you're from a city in India, the way of life here won't be a major jolt or something. Everything is pretty much the same as it is in the big cities in India. You have your daily routine where you do mundane stuff like cooking and cleaning etc, you go to college, study a while and party!

Important tips

Important things to note: Do research about housing and other essentials before reaching university or else it can be tough finding affordable accommodation just before term begins in August or September.

Usually, most people get in touch with other Indians or seniors through Orkut or Face book. Another interesting thing is that Indians abroad are more likely to help you than back home!

I have just begun my programme but I can state confidently that studying further can be a rewarding experience. It not only helps one get an internationally recognised masters degree but also helps one to learn essential life skills like cooking, budgeting, learning to get along with roomies and maintaining a balance between work and fun.

Anirudh Iyer,

McMaster University, Canada

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