Having an a family member already in the United States was important for Sana Advani being that the rest of her family lives far away.I’m originally from Bombay, India and I lived in India for the first twelve years of my life and then my family moved to China where I completed my high school years and while I was in China, my sister went to college before me and she chose to go to the United States,” she says.
“So when I was looking at colleges I predominately to do research in the U-S because I wanted to be close to at least one family member because my parents would still be in China and it would be kind of far to travel,” she says.“I decided to go to the states and I look at colleges all on the East coast and I fell in love with Elon University and that is where I ended up.”
Elon University was one university Sana says she never heard of and she wasn't too interested in going there she says from what she saw on the website, but the actual visit to the college sealed the deal. “It’s actually a funny story. I was looking at colleges in North Carolina and I never heard of Elon University until my high school counselor told me about it and she told me to visit it.I looked on the website and I wasn’t too intrigued about it, but my father told me that we might as well stop there because it was on the way and we were already in North Carolina so why not just look at another college and as soon as I stepped on campus I fell in love with the university and I never understood people who said that they just got a feeling when they stepped on a campus and that is actually what happened to me,” she says.
“So even though my decision at the end was pretty hard, I am really glad that I chose Elon and I know that I made the right decision because there has never been a moment when I have regretted it.”
Sana is in her third year at Elon. She is a junior and she says that the professors, class size, and the overall experience there is rewarding.“Elon is a pretty small school.It has the whole small school population there, around five thousand undergrad students there, but at the same time it has everything a big school has,” she says.
“All the equipment, all the classrooms everything is just great and it’s been a wonderful learning experience for me.When I was looking at colleges I really wanted the small classroom experience because I didn’t want to be just another face in the classroom.I wanted to actually know my professors and that is something that I really have taken advantage of because the professors are really helpful with all the work and everything, they always give you their email addresses, they give you their office hours, their phone numbers so they are always there to help you know if you don’t understand anything and because class sizes are so small over here, they actually notice if you’re not in class which is a good thing because then students are just taking a day off randomly or not coming to class until the mid-terms or the exam,” she says.
“I actually coming into college had no idea what I wanted to major in and Elon has a communication school that has been accredited so I’ve been majoring in Corporate Communications and I think that has actually worked out for me, but now I want to either get a job in Advertising or Public Relations.”
When it comes to retaining the information from her courses, Sana says it has been better for her to understand what she has learned in her classes due to the different educational method.“I think over here the system is more where you actually understand what is being taught to you.I felt in India a lot of times people really mug for their exams and cram everything into their heads and then spit it back out on a piece of paper and I think over here I’ve actually learned more to understand what is going on and get the whole grasp of the concept and that is how I felt myself learning in the process.”
Graduation for Sana comes with a few options.“Right now I am considering maybe graduating a little early because I came in with a few credits so it is a possibility, but at the same time I want to spend as much time as I can at the college,” she says.“I’ll be graduating in May 2010 if I stay for my full four years.”
Sana's advice for other international students... “I think they need to find a place where they feel comfortable in and look for things that they like doing and the university has because for international students we don’t get to go home very often and that can be a little overwhelming at least during the first year that you’re here because at one point you might say I want to get out of my parents house, but there are always time when you want them right there for comfort or sympathy or anything like that and for me you want to enjoy it even more like a home because it is so small, and I made some great friends over here, so they really need to find somewhere they think they can fit in and not somewhere they are unsure about.