What does it take to be a husky?

Shivaram K. Viswanathan’s passion for automobile technologies took him to Michigan, where a world of snow, games and fun welcomed him.

Updated - May 19, 2016 10:53 am IST

Published - March 23, 2014 08:22 pm IST - chennai

Shivaram K. Viswanathan

Shivaram K. Viswanathan

Michigan is home to places such as Detroit and Dearborn, where headquarters of automotive giants — Ford, GM and Chrysler are located. Michigan Technological University, popularly known as Michigan Tech, is a public university offering courses in automobile technology.

My passion for electric vehicles and modern automotive technologies brought me here. The university offers hands-on courses in advanced automotive technology, including the electric vehicle systems and plug-in hybrids. It is one of the few universities which has dedicated labs and courses in hybrid vehicle technologies. The best part is that you get to drive many high-end cars in and around the campus as part of your lab courses and test their parameters. Participating in hands-on SAE student competitions gives you an opportunity to interact with and learn from the brightest minds.

Michigan Tech is termed the snowiest college in the U.S. The Michigan Upper Peninsula is known for its harsh winter, which goes on for about six months non-stop, but students at Michigan Tech, aptly termed huskies, celebrate it. It’s about relishing the snow and being a “Husky”! Hailing from south India, the winter here seems amazing! I was worried about my health, but the winter never caused me any serious illness. The Winter Fiesta brings people together. I also enjoyed skiing a lot. Also, there are broomball games, ice hockey tournaments and snow mobile races. Students make snow statues and snowballs. Once, people got so excited that a group made a spherical snowball at the campus, which is now the Guinness world record for the largest snowball in the world!


The small town of Houghton County provides a friendly atmosphere to the international crowd gathered here from around 70 countries. Every year, Michigan Tech celebrates the ‘Parade of Nations’ festival, where people from different countries proceed in their traditional costumes in and around the city. There are food and cultural programmes, as well, and it truly makes Tech a centre of global diversit. I have a friend circle including people from seven countries and learning about different countries, and cultures is an enriching experience.

Education is highly student-oriented and one has to be enthusiastic to learn about anything and everything. Studying abroad also encourages self-realisation and teaches you time management and pushes your achievable limits to the maximum. The personal tryst one faces as a student in a foreign country gives an opportunity to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses and to mould oneself in a better direction.

Shivaram K. Viswanathan is a graduate student of electrical engineering at Michigan Technological University. Email: kvs.in.eee@gmail.com

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