Monday, December 08, 2003

I posted a message on the BW Forums a few days ago about international students at Yale and how they fit into the school's culture and got this response today from RGB, a 2Y student. Thought I should blog it for future reference. I am very impressed by how responsive the members of the Yale community (adcomms, students) have been both when I have contacted them and on the message boards. I actually started looking at Yale seriously because an MBA student friend of mine (at another top school) said that they have high regard for Yale and it was a close knit community like Tuck & Darden. I like what I've found out thus far. Going to visit campus in the next couple of days, and then make up my mind about applying.

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Hi PowerYogi,

I am a second year international student at SOM of Sri Lankan origin, and my experiences at Yale have been great. There are a pretty diverse bunch of people here, and whilst I know almost everyone, including the South Asians, I tend to hang out mostly with Americans. Of course that has really just come about because I probably have the most in common with them in terms of outlook and interests.

The truth however is that almost all things at SOM are what you make them. I know many Indians who are really integrated, but then I also know a few who tend to hang out mostly with other Indians. This isn't necessarily because Americans are unwelcoming, but, in general, reflects the ease of associating with people from your home country, especially when you are having to get used to being in a strange land and so far from home. In some cases, it is because the individuals are married and/or have kids, which means socializing is often somewhat different for them. And of course, if you are looking for a fellow badminton player, you certainly need to seek out the international students (Indians and Chinese usually)!

On the whole however, I do feel that all the international students here bring a lot to SOM in terms of experiences and outlook, and I think most Americans recognize that as well. (I just asked one of my American friends what he thought on this matter, and his first response was "almost all my favorite classmates are international".)

A couple of ways that this is reinforced is through the Student Interest Groups (SIGs). Many countries/regions have their own groups which are often intended to promote their country/culture/cultural activities, but which are equally often more serious in intent. For example, the South Asian Business Forum has a variety of social, cultural and career related events. The Chinese SIG organized a study to trip to China over Spring Break last year, that was initiated and organized by an American. The International SIG hosts a month of country presentations that are generally well attended, in which students present on their respective countries. The culmination of this event is an International Dinner, which is great fun, and where you can sample food from across the world. This event often attracts a fair number of faculty as well.

Also,international students often auction dinners for the Internship Fund (a fund that supports students wanting to do nonprofit or other non-traditional summer internships). Of note are the Brazilian BBQ, the Peruvian dinner, the South Indian breakfast (which was quite outstanding - 2 South Indian boys who really can cook (idli, sambar, ...)! In fact, this evening, I just hosted a Sri Lankan dinner that I had auctioned off for the Internship Fund last semester. It was great fun, and was the first time that the four Americans attending had tasted Sri Lankan food - which they loved!

I hope that helps.
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thanks very much RGB, that was indeed very insightful and helpful.
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