Snowy winters and cheese-tasting: Sampada CH looks back at her early days at the University of Wisconsin.

Milwaukee!! The name evokes strong memories of delectable cheese in my mind. Wisconsin Sate wherein Milwaukee is located is “America’s dairyland”, and in the two years I spent in Milwaukee, I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to taste some of the yummiest varieties of Wisconsin Cheese, famous all over USA.

I remember how nervous I was when I went to attend the mandatory orientation for the new students of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) fall 2010 batch, organised by the Centre for International Education - UWM. It was a well-co-ordinated programme which gave us an idea of what it took to achieve success in academics, showed how to make friends in a new place, information about the range of facilities UWM had to offer and some practical tips to make our stay exciting there. It was a fun orientation where I had my first brush with authentic American food and I still remember those lip-smacking giant chocolate chips cookies which were served for dessert.

Milwaukee is a beautiful city. The first thought that crossed my mind when I was accepted by the UWM was, the snowy winters, and Milwaukee did not disappoint me. It snows quite a lot in Milwaukee and the cold winter months here are an absolute treat for people who love snow and there is a lot to explore here. For my stay in Milwaukee, I chose the University accommodation for graduate students. This place is located on the trendy East side and is close to a number of restaurants and grocery stores. This place is just a few blocks away from the famous ‘Brady Street’. The 24/7 free shuttle service from the dorms to the campus and back is an added advantage. I would recommend future students to stay at the UWM dorms at least for a year as it provides a very unique experience. Many events are organised at these dorms throughout the year and there was never a dull moment.

Studying at UWM was not only about earning a professional degree, but also moulding my personality. In most of the courses, classroom participation was about 25 per cent of the grade. This meant that I had to read about the topics to be discussed in the class in advance and prepare notes in order to make a meaningful contribution during the class. The university has a lot to offer to all the students in terms of activities and has many exchange programmes with universities around the world, including India. On one such programme, I had the opportunity to travel to Ghana, West Africa. It was an enriching cultural experience I cherish.

The writer is pursuing her MBA at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, U.S.