Robin Ng, from Indonesia, is a third year graduate student at Ohio State University. Robin got his undergraduate degree in Taiwan and says a former adviser at the university there helped him decide what to major in. "Right now I am working on my thesis to teach engineering in the field of Bio-Chemical Engineering."
Robin says anyone interested in studying in the United States should take a look at the Internet first to get information on colleges, including student life. "Everything you need is online," he says. "I wasn't able to get this kind of information until I was really here." But if he checked the Internet, he says, he could have done research. "Like the way they live, their behavior, what kind of opportunities and scholarships [are available]…. I would suggest that they go check for this kind of information online before they come here so they can be more prepared for what they may face in the future."
The people at Ohio State University are very nice Robin says, adding that participating in campus activities gives him a chance to experience a slice of American culture. "What I like about Ohio State is the people are kind and warm and that it is a very big college here, it is kind of like a city," he says. "During my free time I usually play a sport like badminton. Sometimes I play soccer or [go] rock-climbing. Also I am involved in extra-curricular activities such as the Indonesia Student Association, a club of graduate students. And on the weekends I just walk around the campus and try to relax myself."
Robin says the university system in Taiwan, where he earned his Bachelor's degree, is modeled after that in the United States. But he has noticed some differences in the classroom. "I don't feel there is much of the system that is different," he says. "The thing that is different in my point of view is probably the behavior of students. For example, here we can see students in front of the classroom put their foot up on the chair, and in Asia this would be rude and we do not do that. We also seldom called our instructor by [his or her] first name, which is common here in the United States."
Robin wants to stay in the United States once he graduates, however, because he is an international student, he will need to get a H-1 visa in order to work here. "I would like to stay for my career. Right now as a student I am holding an F1-visa which is a study visa and we are not allowed to work," he says. "When we graduate we have 1 year where we can try to find a job and within this amount of time we have to be able to find a company that is willing to support a work visa, which is H1 visa. If I am not mistaken we have only 6 years to get from H1 to either a green card or permanent residence. Iif we aren't able to do, that we have to leave the U.S. after our 6-year H1 visa."