Aditya Raam Sankar Goalpost, University of Georgia, Master in Artificial intelligence

Aditya-Raam-Sankar-GoalpostInitial Preparation

It started in August 2015, when I finished my GRE. The decision to choose the right college and the right program took three long months of intensive research on the internet and in-depth analysis of course curriculums along with preparations for TOEFL, all at the same time. Then came the most difficult part of the application process - writing the Statement of Purpose (SOP). My advisor at the EducationUSA Center at the U.S. Consulate, Chennai was my sounding board in the whole process and their guidance on drafting an effective SOP, especially, was invaluable as this is a key component of the U.S. university application. After receiving the various admission decisions, I chose to pursue my master's in artificial intelligence at the University of Georgia (UGA) in the Classic City - Athens. Everything seems like yesterday when I look back now.

Moving to the other side of the Globe

Fast forward to August 2016, I was dropped off at one of the busiest airports in the USA, Atlanta, and I was on my own from then. The two-hour shuttle bus from Atlanta to Athens was the most exciting trip with students from various countries, views of vast open spaces and pleasantly cool weather, all very different from what I had experienced back in Chennai. The Indian Students Association (ISA) at UGA did everything they could to make this huge transition as smooth as possible. The next few weeks of the orientation allowed me to understand and get into the groove of this new system. Meanwhile, I also learnt to cook so that I could enjoy idly-sambar even in the USA!

The Fall and The Spring

Being in a dedicated course for artificial intelligence, I could skip the basic computer science courses and directly take the ones that introduced me to different areas within this stream. The best part is that I got to customize the whole course according to my interests by choosing the subjects that I wanted to study each semester. Also, the structure of every class and the method of teaching varied from professor to professor. Some subjects had a final exam while others required us to apply what we studied in the class and submit a project. I enjoyed this kind of practical learning which made my life exciting here because I have never been a fan of exams to evaluate my knowledge in a subject. Over and above the tight schedule of classes, assignments and projects, I juggled my schedule to find time for sports and Tamil movies!

Feeling like India

The Indian Students Association at UGA celebrates major festivals such as Diwali, Holi and they hoist the Indian flag on Indian National Days. It has been interesting to talk about India, our festivals and culture with my American friends and, in turn, learn about American traditions like Halloween and Thanksgiving festivals here. Initially, I missed Chennai very much as there were no bikes to roam around the city, no vehicular noise during weekends, nor any milk packets or newspapers every morning. After almost a year, I have adapted so well to this environment that it feels like home.


This article was sourced by Education USA and published in The Hindu.

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