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FPJ Initiatives

Updated on: Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 01:01 PM IST

US education is more valuable and attainable than ever before

David J Ranz |

David J Ranz |

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Every Consul General comes to their appointed jurisdiction with an area of focus. It was no different for the United States (US) Consul General (CG), David J Ranz as well. Despite being posted in the financial capital, he decided to focus on education during his first speech in the city. His passion for education especially higher education in the US, can be garnered with his address delivered at FPJ-NMIMS education conference.

Below are edited excerpts:

When I arrived in Mumbai about two months ago, I was talking to my team about what I wanted to focus on during my three-year tenure—one of the very first things I said was, I want to talk about higher education. I would like higher education to be the subject of my first policy speech, because I do feel very passionately about it. I am extremely pleased to be able to have this opportunity today.

Let me start by saying that I feel your pain whether you are a parent or a student. I have two children currently attending in US colleges, and as a parent the entire process was and still is overwhelming. I can really only imagine the anxiety that our students go through. I can only imagine the added stress and complexity of managing this process from thousands of miles away in a foreign country.

After the decision is made, the process to get admission maybe a lot more easier than you think. And let me also assure you that the US education is more valuable and attainable than ever before.

The US education stands out because it allows an individual to develop a wide variety of skills and knowledge, the ability to conduct in-depth research, work laterally across disciplines, adapt and work in teams, think critically and communicate clearly succinctly and cross culturally.

You develop soft skills while receiving a world-class and rigorous academic training. In short, a US higher education prioritises skills that are essential to working in the modern workforce. A degree from the United States means it will be recognised anywhere in the world. I am not alone in feeling that way.

Nearly two lakh Indian students are currently studying at US colleges and universities that have almost doubled from what it was just five years ago. In terms of students traveling every year to the US for education, Indian students is second largest, after Chinese students. It has been found that the majority of those students are there for masters and doctoral level programmes.

More and more Indian students are realising the benefits of an undergraduate education in the US, including a wide variety of majors in courses, unparalleled research opportunities, access to the latest technologies and development of critical thinking and writing and communication skills from the very start.

The Community College option also offers some potential benefits for students, including a low-cost, high-quality education; and a vital stepping stone for students interested in pursuing a four-year undergraduate degree.

At the same time, it is important that prospective students do their research in order to select the right community college that will satisfy their educational needs. I want to take a moment to talk about safety and attitudes towards foreign students.

There is a lot of misinformation out there. I would like to add Americans appreciate the vast contributions of international students and they are always welcomed into the United States. We are a diverse and friendly country.

I would also note that American universities take the safety of their students, including foreign students very seriously. Since the early 1990s, the crime rate overall has declined significantly in the United States. And currently stands at its lowest level since the 1960s. Across the country, universities have put in place robust security programmes to create the best possible environment for learning.

College campuses in the US are safe and welcoming places for foreign students. Now, coming back to the decision-making process. The US government assists prospective students to navigate the process, through the EducationUSA Network, which is present in more than 170 countries around the world, with seven student advising centres across India.

If you have any queries, please get in touch with EducationUSA through Facebook, Android or iOS mobile app— EducationUSA, or visit the EducationUSA website.

Before I wrap-up, a short word on visa. You should have no concerns about applying for a visa if you are a legitimate student; if you can demonstrate you have the ability to finance your education; and you can show your intend to return to your country of residence at the end of your studies.

That is what our consular officers are looking for. Finally, if you are able to attend a US University, I hope you make American friends. These friendships will last a lifetime and expose you to the richness of American culture, food and society.

US universities also provide great opportunities to build your network with students around the world. The connections you make there will be among your best assets to take with you back home and into your life ahead.

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Published on: Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 10:58 AM IST
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