Orlando’s weather and excellent facilities at CREOL fascinate Samuel Paul David
After getting my PhD degree from Anna University, I moved to the University of Central Florida (UCF) to continue my research in the College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL). UCF is the second largest university in the United States of America, with around 60,000 students from 145 countries. It is situated in the city of Orlando which is nicknamed, “The Theme Park Capital of the World.” The climate in Orlando is pretty much the same as Chennai but it is slightly colder during winter. This is yet another reason people love to stay in UCF.
UCF offers 211 degree programmes that include 92 bachelor’s and 85 master’s programmes. In addition, they carry out excellent research activities, both in engineering and science. Many of the research projects are funded by the federal agencies and the laboratories are internationally renowned with state of the art facilities. CREOL is one of the internationally well-known institutes on lasers and optics research, with professors who have vast collaborations with various international labs and companies.
Every year, many Indian students join to do their PhD and master’s here. Indian students in UCF help the new students during their application, their arrival and even for accommodation through an Indian association. Each department has many Indian students and many a time, even Indian faculty members. UCF provides housing inside the university but most of the Indians prefer to stay off campus, most preferably in the apartment complexes very close to the campus.
The best part of the campus is the library which has a collection of 2.4 million books. The employment rate at UCF is significantly high with major companies surrounding it including Siemens, Qualcomm and so on. The career services at UCF is excellent in that they give training for placement and conduct career fairs often in the campus. In addition, many graduate students are supported financially if they get associated with the research labs in their respective departments. The department of molecular biology offers financial support providing tuition fee and also a monthly stipend for research assistants even during the master’s programme. Students can contact different professors of their research interest well ahead of their arrival or immediately after their arrival. UCF is also ranked as one of the most affordable universities in the U.S.
The India Center at UCF helps in exchange of researchers and establishing partnerships between India and UCF. Last year, India Center helped in arranging a series of lectures by the former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for five days. Adapting to Orlando from Chennai is very easy but it would be better if students can make enough contacts regarding their courses before they arrive at UCF. Living in Orlando, you feel like living in Chennai because of the weather, nearby beaches and the Indian community which celebrates Indian festivals and gatherings, including weekly cricket.
The writer is a post-doctoral research associate, the College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, U.S. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org