After the Chinese, Indian students form the largest community of overseas students pursuing higher education in colleges and universities in the US. Most colleges and universities have recognized student associations that aim to provide a platform to students to put forward their grievances; provide support to students and take part in community activities.
In addition to such associations, academic institutions in USA also have community specific International student associations such as Chinese, Indian, Nepali and Bangladeshi Students Associations among others. These associations help students belonging to specific community or nationality to adjust to their new environment in US universities and colleges. They also organize community events such as Diwali or Holi celebrations.
In this blog, Student Cover outlines the benefits of joining Indian Students for Indian students going abroad to study in US universities and colleges.
1. Get assistance in settling down – When an Indian student joins a university or college abroad, he or she has not only get used to a new lifestyle but also has to go through a lot of documentation and related processes. At times, the student may need assistance in filling the form and understanding complex rules and regulations of the academic institution. Being a member of Indian student association helps a student as fellow students who have already been studying in that academic institution can assist that student. Moreover, a student may also need assistance in getting an accommodation out of the campus. Indian Student Associations help students find accommodation in those areas that suit their budget as well as meet their dietary and other requirements.
2. Means to socialize – For Indians, their identity in India may be determined by their caste, language, religion or region. However, such differences disappear when they go abroad as Indian students view themselves and Indian first and everything else later. Indian Student Associations provide students a sense of community. Indian students from different caste, language and regional backgrounds come together to celebrate your festivals and community programs. This helps develop a sense of camaraderie between students.
3. Brings out the leader in you – Being a member of student association also helps in bringing out the leadership quality in students. As a member, a student may be required to organize and participate in cultural as well academic events. Such activities require a student to display leadership skills as it involves getting other people to do things that you want. At times, students are given specific task such as organizing relief programs for communities living near the campus. Students who do well can then stand for student body elections and become president or secretary. It also helps students to participate actively in an electoral exercise in a democratic system.
4. Helps raise matters of concern to students – History is witness to power of students. From anti-Vietnam war protests in 1960s in America to anti-government protests during Arab Spring revolution in countries like Egypt, students have played a key role in world history. At a time when the world is facing dual threat of global pandemic and global recession, students can use student associations to not only raise awareness but also find solutions to problems facing the world. As a member of Indian student Association, Indian students can organize conferences, seminars and marches on issues like racism, gender discrimination, student debt etc. that can help bring about positive change in society. Joining Student Association is strongly advised for those students who are pursuing degree course in humanities or social science stream.
5. Learn to work in a team – When a person is a part of an organization like Student Association, he or she is required to work in a team. Student Associations have their goals and objectives which can be long term or short term. Members and leaders of student associations are expected to play their part well so that the association is able to achieve its goals and objectives. For example, if an Indian Student Association’s goal is to help students get internship offers from reputed companies, different tasks are assigned to different students in placement cells. While one group of students may be tasked with contacting the prospective employers, another group may be tasked with finding the right candidate among students for the right job. Moreover, Indian student associations have members who come from different backgrounds. Participating in association activities helps them work in a team. They can then use this experience and skill acquired as member of the student union in their workplace in future.
Let’s Wrap Up!
Indian Student Associations in US colleges and universities not only help students to settle down in a new environment but also provide community support whenever they need it. It gives Indian students an opportunity to organize as well as participate in programs undertaken for greater good. Students can use the association as a platform to raise issues of interest as well as acquire leadership skills. Associations also help students learn to work in teams and get a preliminary experience in management.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is based on personal research of the writer. Readers’ discretion is advised. Neither Student Cover nor the writer will be held responsible for any wrongful interpretation of the content of this blog.