From India to Michigan: My Experience as an International Graduate Student at Kettering University

ketan-pardeshiHello Everyone. Since this is my first post, I thought a short introduction would be in order.  My name is Ketan Pardeshi and I am a graduate student at Kettering University. I completed a baccalaureate in mechanical engineering in India and moved to Flint to pursue graduate studies about a year ago.  Currently, I work as a Graduate Research Assistant under Dr. Scott Reeve. In this introductory blog I will focus on the international student experience, graduate programs and the university life. I have learned a lot over the last year and I feel that this information can be really valuable to everyone back home (India).

When I finished my undergraduate degree in India, I knew I wanted to study further. I wanted to explore the business and management side of engineering in more depth, so to broaden my horizons I decided to apply to universities abroad.

The US stood out for lots of reasons, the fees were affordable, the language was not a barrier, but the most important reason was my best friends were in the US ☺

I did my research, and soon choose Kettering University – mainly because the school had been ranked 13th nationally among non-Ph.D.-granting engineering universities and seventh nationally among mechanical engineering programs in the 2017 U.S. News and World Report ‘Best Colleges’ edition.  The institutional ranking was very reassuring for me.

My journey to the United States began in April 2018, when I got admitted to Kettering and that is when it all started. The Graduate Research Office was supportive right from the application stage and their advice gave me the confidence to understand the application process in a better way.

I had so many questions as I was preparing to travel to the US – this would be my first time traveling alone internationally.  I was worried about how much cash I should take with me, how I would get from the Flint airport to the university, what the accommodations would be like, who would be my housemates … so many practical things.

The University took some of the worries away by providing a free pickup service from the airport and people from the Office of International Programs (OIP) were waiting to greet me at the airport.

When I arrived, seniors helped me in settling down with the heavy luggage and they even organized a get-together party to welcome me. It made me feel very welcome.

I was given an introduction and a tour of the city that would be my home during my studies. I met lots of people from different parts of the world and found out about some activities and trips available to international students. For example, there was a trip to Cedar Point, which is the second older operating amusement park in the United States. I was amazed by experiencing the roller coaster rides. In the summer term, I also had a chance to visit Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, which is one of the heavenly places in Michigan.

I do miss home sometimes – for example, last year was my first Diwali away from my family, which was difficult for me.  Fortunately, the Office of Student life and the International Office co-sponsor a Diwali event on campus, which was organized by the seniors.  The performances, the speeches, and the food all made me feel at home.

My course of study, Engineering Management, is very interesting. I’m learning many new things like Project Management, ERP, Lean Methodologies and Six Sigma. I also like that we are graded based on our class discussions and assignments which are very engaging and challenging.

The teaching staff is very attentive and thorough, and they know us very well. They understand our strengths and weaknesses and help us with our assignments, projects, internship applications and more.

I have had the chance to explore Flint, and I’ve found lots of great places for eating and shopping. “Grill of India” is the Indian food restaurant on Linden road, which provides amazing Indian food.

I feel at ease now with my life on and off-campus. I find this a safe, affordable city to live in, and it’s very student-friendly – in fact, I like it so much that when I go back home to India during vacation, I find myself looking forward to returning to Flint!

Ketan Pardeshi

MS Engineering Management

School of Management, Kettering University

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