India Night’08 @ Milwaukee-UWM

India Night at UWM, India’s Cultural Extravaganza organized by Students of India Association was lots of fun and a grand hit, having an audience of over 500 students, over 22 performances and great dinner for the night, the show was simply mindblowing .. Few Pics of the evening are here

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Milwaukee Photos..

I keep updating Happenings in Milwaukee at my Orkut Album, also i have updated a few in Picasa..

MilwaukeePhotos

Orkut Album is available at http://www.orkut.com/AlbumList.aspx?uid=3984653157684661653

and Picasa Pictures available @ http://picasaweb.google.com/vikas24/USPhotos

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Life in The U.S. of A and Lessons learnt so far .. ;-)

It has been quite a smooth yet vibrant stint in the US so far. Firstly there were the various shocks to deal with, weather, culture, cost of living, food, academics and PR. Not all of them were really good but none of them was entirely unwelcome or surprising either. Well, for those who wanna catch with what’s happening here, currently I’m at University of Wisconsin@Milwaukee as a Special Student for one semester. Don’t be so Naive as to be taken by the ‘Speciality‘ of it, Semester Abroad Program was launched under a MoU between SRM University in Chennai and UWM, so under this, whoever can cough up the fee, is free to go and explore the world. Anyways, coming back to where we were.. Milwaukee is the second most coldest city in the US, and I’m surprised at myself and my body fat to have adjusted to it so well. We landed on 18th of Jan and faced temperatures of -6 F. For those more comfortable with the metric system, -6 F is like even below -21 C and you can add the wind chill over that and it comes to somewhere around -28 C.. haha, you could not be outside on the street for more than half an hour tops, then u gotta move in some place and warm up before you wanna go out again. The Sun is highly deceiving, all that is bright is not hot is a lesson people from India learn very quickly here. Though as exciting and new it was to us, winter is not enjoyable for long, and the irony is that today 27th of March, i can still see it snowing outside. I mean what the hell, does the spring semester have only one month of actual spring in it. Well, moving on, the Culture shock was not much, the whole world knows America and its ways of life ( pun intended ), but now that i have seen the reality for myself, i really pity them. As flamboyant and social americans try to be, the truth is that they lead very lonely lives, family ties are very weak and social bonding ain’t that strong either. The Philosophy of every man for himself seems right in many ways, but doesn’t always make you happy. But the cursory attitude adds to the irony, if you are walking down the street, lots of people walking across will greet you, ‘Hi, Howz it going’ is a commonly heard phrase but the person would have said that and walked away even before you reply, so why did he ask the question in the first place if he’s not interested, bcoz thats customary and thats how they are, they try to be friendly and good outside but everyone understands the material world and no one actually cares for anyone else. The Cost of Living in US was a big big shock for me, i never expected things to be so so expensive. The Average living expenses for a month for a student is around 600$, and bcoz we are in University Housing, expenses are as high as 1000$ per month for us. Thats the expense of an entire semester back in India. I can write on this for hours but i guess it would be sufficient to say that a loaf of bread cost ~3$ in US and around 25 cents in India. Even Electronic Stuff, which i could have bet to be damn cheap in US, turns out quite expensive compared to prices to you get back home, but if you living here and earning in dollars , then it wont seem that expensive to you. Whatever be the case, nothing beats good old Nehru Place in Delhi or Ritchie Street in Chennai for me. Then, Food was something which was actually a shock to me, US being a land of Immigrants, gives u taste of food from all over the world. But i couldn’t figure out that what people have as a staple diet here. I mean u have a horde of choices from Italian,Mexican, Chinese etc, but Indian works best for me, so instead of getting confused what’s best to eat and spend lots of money on food, i have started cooking on my own. Get Rice, some Vegetables , MDH masalas , some ready-to-eat curries plus a Microwave and you’re all set. But in spite of all these problems, the excellent education system and quality of academics is what makes me love this place. Your creativity is brought out and you’re actually made to think, studies is fun and exciting. Loads of assignments and projects makes life interesting coz i love challenges and keeping my mind occupied. So far grades have been excellent for me. Lets see how it goes on.So that was a brief description of my life here, i hope those planning to think about following my suit can get good pointers from here.