Hometown: Patna, India
Major: Engineering and Economics
Post-Graduation Plans: A career in investment banking or consulting and eventually an MBA.
Favorite Class: I have enjoyed all my classes at W&L, but the two that stand out in my memory are Microeconomic Theory with Professor Guse and Poverty Studies with Professor Beckley. While Micro made me realize how much I love economics, Poverty Studies opened my eyes to issues that I wasn’t aware of.
Favorite Lexington Landmark: I am great fan of ice cream, so my favorite place in Lexington is Sweet Things. My friends and I often go there to have their delicious banana split.
Before high school, I had never thought of attending a college in another country, literally oceans away. But I’m glad I did. I find myself a completely changed person, and I owe it to my Washington and Lee experience.
My parents were apprehensive about the cultural differences between India and America, and were afraid that I might have problems settling in. I came to W&L with some of the same apprehensions, only to discover that they were all unnecessary. I soon made friends with the people on my freshman hall, and in just two days I felt like I had been a part of this institution forever. I came to appreciate the curiosity of my fellow students to learn about another culture. Engaging in cultural exchange is one of the most enlightening parts of my experience at W&L. Not only am I learning a lot about America and its people, but I have the opportunity to share my own culture with others.
I appreciate the efforts of the University to bring more diversity to campus. Cultural interactions help me--and will certainly help others--understand the world and its workings better. That deepened understanding is especially important today, when cultural conflicts are threatening the world. Washington and Lee prepares its students to face such challenges not just academically but socially. There are a variety of courses and programs about different countries, cultures and languages, including East Asian Languages and Literatures and Russian Area Studies. We also have a Japanese Tea Room on campus and a museum dedicated especially to Chinese export porcelain. Socially, there are groups like Student Association for International Learning (SAIL) and Pan Asian Association for Cultural Exchange (PAACE) that work to promote global awareness on campus. I have actively participated and chaired both the organizations and find the cultural exchange very fulfilling.
The opportunities for cultural exchange aren't the only reason I'm glad I came to W&L. The University’s size works to the advantage of students. Most students know each other, and the small size makes it possible for people to continue the speaking tradition, greeting everyone you see with a smile. We get more attention from teachers than we would at a large school, and learning is a more personal experience. My individual interactions with professors have also helped me discover my career goals.
The bonds that I have made with my teachers, my friends and the University itself are precious. They have helped me become a better person, realize my goals and prepare to face the challenges of life. I am excited to see what else W&L has in store for me in the years ahead.