Why I chose to study abroad: ‘It’s important to step outside one’s comfort zone’

Meet Aadit Tambe! Aadit hails from Mumbai, India, and chose to study at the University of Iowa (UI), where he studies journalism and mass communication with a minor in German. Aadit chose UI based on its legendary writing program. Despite his concerns about “fitting in” on campus, Aadit has had a positive university experience since day one.

Why did you choose to study in the US?

When I was in seventh grade, I had decided to study journalism after high school. Storytelling was my passion, and I love writing. Journalism is a relatively new academic discipline in India. There aren’t many reputed colleges that have good journalism programs. In order to broaden my horizons, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and chose to come to the United States for my higher education.

How did you choose your university?

The University of Iowa is recognized worldwide for its writing programs. When I was looking at journalism programs at different universities, I liked the pool of classes Iowa offered. Additionally, Iowa’s student newspaper, The Daily Iowan, was also an important “pull factor” for me. Getting real-world experience as a student seemed beneficial. I, therefore, decided to accept Iowa’s admission offer.

What skills did you most need to build to study abroad?

I think the biggest thing I needed to prepare myself for was living independently, without my parents’ support. I grew up in a cocooned environment with my parents and relatives around me. Going to the US to study meant preparing myself mentally to live independently with no family around me. I was also not used to managing my finances by myself—another skill I picked up.

What were you most excited about to study in the US?

I was most excited about studying journalism in the US. I had grown up watching BBC and CNN International. Getting to learn journalism from the very best seemed to be thrilling. I was also excited to live independently—although this seemed scary at first, I knew I would make friends, figure things out, and make the most of my time at Iowa.

What were your biggest concerns or challenges about studying in the US?

My biggest concern was fitting in. I always knew that I was going to a place where very few people ‘looked like me.’ Therefore, I was always concerned about whether I’d be accepted for who I was. However, from the day I came to Iowa, I have always had good experiences with people. Despite not looking like most people around me, my work is valued here, and I get to be whom I want—and that’s what I appreciate most about my international student experience in the US.

If you had one piece of advice for a student looking to study abroad, what would it be?

My advice to students studying abroad would be to remain open to new experiences. The US is a great place to study; and simply by keeping an open mind, I have learned so much in the past three years. In order to excel, it’s important to step outside one’s comfort zone.

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