From India to UMass
Rashi Shah is an international student who came from Gujarat, India. She is currently studying psychology here at UMass. Rashi has family in the U.S. and had visited many times before so “it wasn’t all new to me,” she said. However, there was still quite a transition. Rashi mentioned that the food was one of the larger adjustments. She was used to eating very spicy food, and giggled saying the food in the U.S is much blander. In terms of language, Rashi was getting used to American accents and noticed others had to get used to her accent as well. Even on a smaller scale, she noted things like the way students dress much more casually here.
Rashi also had to adjust to a whole new education system. In Gujarat there is, “no credit system or GPA system, scores were only based on a percentage on exams which is much different from here,” she said.
Rashi decided to come to UMass for many reasons, including the proximity to major cities such as Boston and New York. Rashi explained that she was also attracted to “the amount of opportunities they had for psychology majors. They have a lot of research opportunities and so many programs and I just felt like the courses and curriculum resembled me.”
“The good part about UMass is that it's diverse,” Rashi said. I didn't feel like a minority here, and met so many people from my country.” Although she found others like her she was still a bit shy initially about reaching out or asking for help. When it came to her academic transition she needed to push herself to reach out to her advisors and professors, who ended up being really helpful in explaining the GPA system and Rashi’s academic requirements.
Not only did Rashi find academic support, but she found a community. Seeing others from where she came from gave her that great sense of home. Rashi was also excited to share that she has had many interactions with people from all over, allowing her to have so many different conversations. She also found a deep sense of community within her job as an International Admissions Fellow, where her fellow team of around eight other students all come from different parts of the world and relate to her own story.
When Rashi came to UMass she was worried about being introverted at a larger university, but she realized that other students and faculty were, “so welcoming and open to everyone and I feel like that has changed me and I am a little more social than I was before,” she said. UMass also pushed her ambitious side with the amount of opportunities available. Rashi is currently working as a research assistant in a lab studying social psychology.
One thing Rashi wants new students to know is, “Don't be scared to reach out to anyone, and just be open to everyone, they are here to help you… make sure to use all the resources that are available to you because they will only help you.”