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How can I network before I leave?

Last updated on: August 02, 2006 22:42 IST
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This is the first part of our series of FAQs on studying in America.

We asked a selection of students, already in the US, to share the wisdom of their experiences with us. This is what some of them wrote back to say.

Our topic: How can I network and build connections before I leave.

Reply 1 from Arindam Chakrabarti, University of California, Berkeley, California

Your university should send you a list of "peer advisors". Email them and ask questions you may have. Also use social networking sites like Make a yahoogroup of students who will be joining your university from your college,
and other colleges you know of. Use it to find partners to house-hunt together. Communicate with the graduate assistant of the university you will be joining. She will direct you to e-mail groups from which you'll get help on house-hunting.
Use to find apartments of houses for rent.

Reply 2 from Tejas Nair, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Keep in touch with some of your prospective seniors at your future university. Let them know about your flight plans and get informed about the place and the university. Look out for Indian student associations at these universities. Almost every university has one ! This is the  best way to get acquainted and build up connections. Try and call them up but value their time and privacy. Try and talk to your department representatives and inform them about your flight plans before you leave. For starters this could be a good way to start building connections.

Reply 3 from Priyanka Gupta, a student in Connecticut

Email your college's admissions office and ask for a list of incoming and already enrolled desi students. Email them and see if some of them are from your part of South Asia. They will have great insight into life at your particular college. You could even arrange to meet them if they are visiting over breaks. If you want to network with American students at your college, at once join the hip and cool Facebook at

Reply 4 from Shikha Prashad, Bryn Mawr, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

If you know anyone in the US, get in touch with them.

If you know anyone in the university/college you will be attending, contact them.

Request the admissions office of the university/college you will be attending to get you in touch with alumni or current students from your area. 

There are some sites, such as, in which students start communities for their college, and sometimes specifically for incoming students. These sites are not a thorough way of knowing the university/college, but are fun and a great way to make contacts.

Reply 5 from Nisha Mishra, University of Minnesota,Twin Cities, Minnesota

Join USEFI or findout about their pre-departure orientation programs. Go these orientations and meet people going to your university, same city or same state. Be ready to make friends, give and ask them too for their contact information. 

Join Yahoogroups of your university, your batch going to the university, interact with people, ask questions. Join Orkut Community of your University.

Find out about the international student office of your university, generally their information is sent alongwith your I-20. Ask questions regarding bank accounts etc from them. Any information related to visa, university, life in the university etc is best provided by them.

Figure out the Indian Student Association of your university, contact them for information regarding accommodation, monthly expenses etc. An Indian can any day provide this information better than the university office.

Find out about Indians studying/graduate from your program. Ask them about the program.

In general most of the sorces listed above are extremely helpful.

Reply 6 from S, a student in Michigan

There's always an Indian Students Association that you can write to. Most major universities have an International Buddy program. Write to the grad secretary and find out. Don't be afraid to email people and ask for information.

Reply 7 from Suba Vasudevan, formerly at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Several online forums like Yahoogroups, Orkut Communities and such exist for students going to a particular university in a particular year and sometimes even for a specific degree. Even before you get admission, it is useful to sign up on these groups as the discussions on those may even help you choose a school.  Once you choose a school, discussions with other seniors from your college in India or at the school you are targeting, or on the above mentioned forums, should help answer most questions and doubts as well as find you room-mates.

Reply 8 from Aniket Malvankar, State University of New York, Binghamton, New York

Get a list of Indian students from the international student office and contact them once you have decided to go to a particular school. Mostly all schools have an Indian student organization. So contact them and let them know about you itinerary. List one of them as your emergency contact.

Also put down one of their addresses on your bags so that if your baggage arrives late the airline can send it to that address and you will be saved the pain of going back and collecting your baggage from the airport.

I was lucky to have a great Indian student organization that picked me up from the airport and arranged temporary accommodation till I found my place so I think most schools would have something similar so make sure you know about such organizations in your school.

Reply 9 from Kavita Thomas, formerly at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts

Often the university sends you a booklet showing who is going to be in your first year. Try to see if you can spot anyone in your area -- you could try to contact them through the university

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