International STEM Students Master’s Degree Abroad: Here’s how moving to New York City to study a STEM master’s changed this international student’s life.
For many students across the globe, studying abroad can be a life and career-changing experience. From getting to know a new culture to making new friends and learning in an entirely different setting, the perks of relocating to a foreign country can make a powerful impact not only your education, but also on your personal life and future job prospects.
International STEM Students Master’s Degree Abroad
LiteTechPoint caught up with Prishita Maniar, an international graduate from India, to find out why she decided to do a master’s degree in New York City, and what special benefits the Big Apple reserves for STEM students.
Experiencing the STEM field abroad
Prishita’s graduate education began at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (Mukesh Patel), where she acquired an integrated B. Tech and MBA dual degree with concentrations in Civil Engineering, Infrastructure and Real Estate Management.
After graduating, she began working in the construction industry – an experience which, she says, made her realize the importance of gaining an international perspective.
She said: “My undergraduate internships and full-time experience made me understand how traditionally the construction industry works in India. There are issues in every phase of every project – be it on field or in the office.”
“I was always intrigued by the way other countries worked and the kind of software they used, and I believed that there would be a lot of scope in bringing into India some of the automation and structure foreign companies used. That was the reason I started looking into courses abroad, especially the US and Canada.”
But Prishita soon realized hands-on experience in construction management – her dream field of work – wasn’t the only perk of studying in North America.
She said: “The main advance of doing a STEM course [in North America] was that it would give me a three-year work authorization. I personally didn’t come to the US with the intention to settle, but I did want to get an adequate amount of experience in the industry here. A one-year visa wouldn’t have been enough.”
Life in the Big Apple
After looking at various schools, Prishita finally decided to enroll in the Master’s in Construction Management course at NYU Tandon – a decision that would change her career for the better.
She said: “From an academic perspective, I really liked the curriculum [at Tandon]. It covered everything I wished to learn during my masters. It also gave me an opportunity to do minor courses from other NYU schools such as NYU Stern Business School, which is one of the best business schools in the world.”
“The classes were very much practical. Think all the credit goes to the visiting professors, who either worked in big industry firms or had their own. Every module and every course had some really good discussions – not just about the theoretical concepts, but also about when and how those concepts are used in the industry and what problems you can face on the job. This made me feel like I was learning something useful.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the US just as she began her degree, Prishita says the school managed to offer an open environment that allowed her to make the most out of living in New York City as an international student.
She said: “Something that impressed me was how welcoming the professors were to every question a student might have had. They treated students more like professionals than just students. They made sure we spoke our mind and not shied away from discussions, which was something new to me as an Indian student.”
“Living in New York was also a great experience. It’s not just about what you learn from the university, but also how you learn to live in such a busy city, and NYU supported me immensely from the start. Even during the pandemic, when international students were worried about their situation, they made sure to answer all our questions and help us successfully transition online.”
Securing a job
After graduating from Tandon, Prishita landed a US-based Deputy Project Manager job at the global engineering firm AECOM. She says studying abroad, and especially in New York City, played an essential role in this achievement.
She said: “New York has a lot of job opportunities, and the hustle of the city really teaches one to be competitive and to just keep going. NYU had a lot of committees that organized different events, both professional and social, which gave me a chance to connect with more people.”
“When I was networking with people or doing job interviews, I realized how much confidence studying at NYU had given me by pushing me to have open discussions and speak my mind with professors and fellow students. There is a diversity factor you have to deal with when you go abroad to study that teaches you how to make people listen to you in a job.”
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