Higher Education in the US – A Talk by the US Consulate Chennai

The U.S. Consulate, Chennai conducted a session for the students of MAHE, on 21st August 2019, for students wishing to pursue their higher education in the United States. The session conducted was highly informative and included various resources to help the students in the application for their U.S. visas.

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The session was conducted at the Interact Hall, Kasturba Medical College from 6 P.M to 7 P.M. The hall was filled (around 200-250 people), and there were around 60 people without seats. Dr. Ashwini Kumar introduced the speaker, Ms. Michele Giovia, who is a vice-consul at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai. He said that Ms. Giovia hails from the American state of New Jersey and has always had a keen interest in international affairs and diplomacy. One of her responsibilities is to appraise students at various colleges and universities about studying in the U.S., working in the U.S., etc.

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Ms. Giovia began by asking about the number of undergraduate students, (almost all hands, except a few, went up!) graduate students and postgraduate students present in the audience. As most of the students were looking to pursue a graduate/postgraduate degree in the U.S, she elaborated on the U.S. education system, saying that it is incredibly flexible. The students can choose what subjects they wish to study and what they want to major/minor in.

She added that the tuition fees vary from college to college, and some colleges do offer lower fees. However the more popular colleges are usually pretty expensive, so the students should keep an eye out for that. She said that as Indian students, the students would enjoy the diversity in the colleges in the U.S.

Interestingly, every 1 out of 6 international students in the U.S. is from India. She went on to talk about the U.S education system and how it is different from the Indian education system, for example, the U.S. high school graduation is called a diploma, in contrast to the 10+2 of the Indian system.

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She elaborated on the Graduate programs in the U.S., saying that the location of the university is significant to one’s career, for example, Film students might want to study in a university-based in Los Angeles or New York City. She added that thorough research should be done on what a student wants to study in the U.S., as there are numerous factors which will make up the decision of the student.

She also said that finance and issues regarding funding should be dealt with beforehand. She then went on to introduce an organization called EducationUSA. EducationUSA helps international students learn about universities, fee structures, etc. in the U.S. They have free as well as paid services, both of which help students with the visa process and other study-related issues.

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The presentation included informative slides which contained information about the GRE, i20s and SAT exams (which are the exams one has to write to qualify for either a visa or higher education in the U.S.) Several websites and office numbers were also provided to the students to help with the process of application.

Ms. Giovia, being a part of the visa confirmation process herself said that the interview is the crucial part of the application. She said that the interviewer might ask some personal financial questions and/or other personal questions, but nothing embarrassing or confidential. The program ended with her entertaining numerous questions from the audience.

All photos by Malaika Shenai

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