America – First Impression

Update: I removed a few lines that I did not think were ok here.

I thought I will wait for a month before I pen my first impressions on America rather than writing a post immediately. Here are a few things I noted down about the place.

Friendliness:

About a year ago, there was survey conducted about politeness and Indians turned out to be the most rude people. After traveling to Japan and being here for nearly two months, I must say with a heavy heart that it is true. You are always greeted with a smile every place you visit. Millions of ‘thank you’s and ‘sorry’s may sound artificial initially but its surely better than frowns you receive back home in a government offices.

Why brain-drain?

Academia is very friendly towards students. Much more than in India.

Back in IITM, in my last year, there was circular sent saying student have to be in exam hall at 8:50 for 9:00 am exam. It was more of a guideline everyone thought. When 3rd year mech. students (I was in 4th year then) made it at 8:55, they were not allowed to write the test for 30 minutes. Thats the difference in attitude in two counties. HOD of Mech, IITM has no right to complain of brain drain. You can’t expect students to be obedient enough to stay back in iitm after being treated indifferently.

Paper Work:

When is comes to paper work, this place is no better than India. We still need to carry paper from one department to another to get things done. But at each place, work get done in quick time as all the tasks are computer based. My friend lost his passport after coming here. The assistance he received from Indian Embassy was pathetic. He complained that no one spoke to him in English in Washington embassy. Any English he spoke was not responded to. He had to run around DC and NYC and several hundred bucks later, got his duplicate passport. Now, his I94 will take 2 more months. I guess its typical of Govt. offices to take such a long time.

Punctuality and road discipline:

Except on the days on foot ball (American foot ball), buses are always on time. To the last  minute. You can always expect trains to be fast as they are computer handled, but these guys manage to run buses on time. Lane discipline is amazing too. Hardly anyone ever jumps a red light. When I drive in India, I always slow down even on a green signal because I “know” someone will jump the signal. It is scary initially when every vehicle zooms past an intersection on green light.

Earlier, about 6-7 years ago, buses in Bangalore used to be punctual despite the unpredictable traffic. I now don’t think it true after  the population explosion of sorts in Bangalore.

Foot ball and Base ball:

They as big as cricket in India. A person who claims that base ball is a boring game and 2020 cricket is good is a hypocrite. I am sure most of Indian don’t follow base ball and simply pass a judgment. And American foot ball is a big craze here. I have seen people holding huge banner begging for tickets on weekends in this place. I wish to understand the game too. Thats one more thing to do on week ends.

A lot of people say that love for soccer is more than that for cricket because people who follow soccer also madly follow club soccer. But in India, the regional cricket is hardly followed by masses. One should realize that given the frequency of International Tournaments in Foot Ball, naturally other forms of soccer gain popularity.

International PresenceMy university does boast of international presence but 60-70% of international presence is made by Chinese and Indians. And talking about China, pub culture is looked doen upon just like in India. And also, there are a few Chinese  who would love to have a sibling but cannot as it is illegal for couple to have more than one child. Coming back from CD trip as part of international orientation, a chinese girl was saying about many people deciding to stay in US because of one-child policy back home. My opinion: China’s dictatorship/ communism is just a ticking time bomb, Tienanmen’s square massacre was just a beginning. Also,  I hope Burma get its independence soon. Walk On!

Fall :

Trees change colour and shed their leaves. Until now these were true only in text books 🙂 But yeah … this place is damn green. I some how fail to understand the garden city title to Bangalore. Even 10 years back, it was never this green.

Food:

Dear god .. its so bland! Thankfully, we have all the spices at home to cook. Americans don’t have trouble understanding my accent, but every i say vegetarian, they ask me to repeat it.  Indian food is expensive …. the restraunts call it “exotic” here.

Coming soon: Pics from NYC and DC and few other things i may have missed here

10 Replies to “America – First Impression”

  1. AH!! after so long! Well, i havent been in US for as long as you, but i always knew that for a common man, its much easier to live here. I think it is true. People are kind here. But i wouldnt say people would frown back home. I particularly noticed this in India in the last three months in Blore, I met a lot of people in the buses. Everything online here does help , so does all the money that is spent into building the system. Face it India is still pretty poor. Attitude of profs ( obviously a general comment, not specific) is waaaay better here. They tend to respect the students here, unlike some profs back home…..
    And AMerican food is so bland! Maybe we should carry chilli powder along with us everywhere we go.

  2. Nice post. I have been in this country a little longer than you have, which is why these are not striking to me. But, you have made quite a few interesting observations. Of course, the taste buds suffer a lot during the stay in America especially if you are vegetarian. On an aside, It is really interesting to see how the Chinese have been able to build their little ‘Chinatowns’ all over the US. But the one disappointing thing that I see about the Indians and Chinese here is their lack of interest in learning about other cultures. We tend to want to stick together in the same little groups which is kind of disappointing with all the international students here with the rich cultural background and varied upbringing.

    Anyways, hope you will really enjoy your stay in PSU. Cheers to a good life in US!

  3. Nice post…. But dont go too hard on India dude… India never ever was anyway close to all these western countries…

  4. Many of these impressions are very true. I too realised them during my six month stint in Singapore. Coming back to Chennai was definitely a bit of a shock – after six months of polite and helpful people, indifference and basic uncivility in chennai struck me like a brick – and i’m still smarting from it 🙂 And the pollution and dust is horrible(I may be sounding so bloody-uncouth-Indians types, but hell, my health is getting affected!) Can’t drive without avoiding dust getting into your eyes. And yes of course, the indifference at IIT… Seriously, do they expect us to be groveling at their feet? More moronic decisions like the intern decision and people wouldn’t think twice about tellin bye bye… Even the scare of an exit tax doesn’t seem to deter many – guess junta have given up so much 😀

  5. I’ve never been abroad. So I’ll see things from that perspective !

    reg Indians begin rude -> That’s not true.. Indians are not rude..! I have seen atleast 2-3 government offices (for e.g take the IITM post office) where they treat us with a lot of respect. And yes…. even if Indians are really rude.. I wouldn’t complain about it in a place where people from other countries can see it.

    reg brain drain and quizzes —> ROTFL at the connection. How do you connect the two at all ??

    “Back in IITM, in my last year, there was circular sent saying student have to be in exam hall at 8:50 for 9:00 am exam. It was more of a guideline everyone thought.”

    If we take the liberty to understand the circular as we deem fit.. I feel it’s our mistake and not theirs.

    And most importantly.. if people feel that they won’t stay back here just because their HOD didn’t allow them to write an exam… my suggestion to them would be “Please do so.. you are not required here” This is as foolish as saying my father shouted at me for something.. or he didn’t allow to do so and so.. and hence I will not talk to him anymore.. ! Whatever fart !!!

    and reg the intern decision: My initial reactions were similar.. but on second thoughts.. they might be right.

    @Brado : Health getting affected ?? You talk as if you’ve been bought up in Singapore all your life. 🙂 I had a similar experience with one of my cousins who had come here during his vacation.

  6. Hey Shankar, it may be a little tough but can u please quit comparing India and US on each and every point. Do u think it’s a fair camparison ? Nevertheless I don’t see why we should not adopt all the good things in their system.

  7. @mahesh
    i will blog at least once a month
    @tak
    yeah, indians dont mix well … already i have seen regional groups (let alone indian groups) forming here in penn state …. thats kinda sad.
    @vishwa
    i will start praising india when i see the shortcoming here ….. i have couple of points ready already 🙂
    @brado
    my room mate’s dad told us the same thing when we told him that we wished to go back to india …. you get used to this life and when you go back, the rudeness hits like a shock to you.
    @gantek
    earlier last year when i survey came out …. i did not believe it either. i thought whatever happened abroad was too artificial …. it is not all that artificial ….. it feels good to know that people respect your personal space

    abt the connection … its not about one this one thing …. how about the intern rule? the pizza delivery rule? the lack of respect shown by profs/teachers is many aspects makes you wanna get away from the place. when someone else is treating you so well, why would anyone wanna come back? check out http://www.coolshankin.com/blog/2006/11/12/taken-for-granted/ …. it talks about how callously students are treated …. it is combination of all the factors ……

    you wouldn’t leave you dad because he got you a cycle when you performed well and a computer when you wanted one …… the administration goes out of the way to punish you, but does it reward you when anything good happens? giving good grade or bad grade is their duty … not allowing to write exams for 30 mins is not their duty …. thats plain sadism.

    we should be objective about it. not implements rules because they say so. if a policeman gives a ticket to a guy during at 66 mph when speed limit is 65 … i will call it ridiculous. on a bright sunny day upto 70-72 mph are excused .. not on a rainy day as you are risking many lives when you speed. the rule was to ensure student attend exam on time …. that has been achieved. i am not saying students are not at fault . they are .. just like i was ….. i was treated much better here then the juniors … all thing put together … i like this place better …..

    yes, india had subsidized my education … i am sure i will give something back for that ….. in return i expect to be treated like a human being who makes mistakes and should be given a second chance …. a lil courtesy goes a long way.

  8. pretty harmless post and ppl already taking sides, starting arguments!
    frankly, these are some of the not so controversial opinions of coolshankin. he’s said/written lots more argument worthy stuff in the past.

    about the post, i disagree with you on a few things
    1) you’ve to goto shivaji park in Mumbai on a hot sunny afternoon to realize the kinda craze that indians have for Cricket. We out do Americans with sheer numbers. be it number of gully cricket matches going on at any given point of time or the number of eyes glued to the TV set during a match. so i believe that your point about the craze for baseball and foot ball there being same as that of cricket in India is not valid unless you have statistics to prove me otherwise. heck, they call it world series and play within states whereas a cricket world series is actually played by 3 or more countries!

    2) i believe insti Campus is as green as it gets. yeah, B’lore = garden city is trippy only. i’m curious to know where insti greenery stands in comparison to US of A.

    3) Indians are ruder. not rudest. ruder compared to a few others. thats probably because noone put racism laws here to bring down the rudeness. and education goes a long way in this regard. Half of India doesn’t even know what sorry or thank you means!
    and here’s a twisted take on the issue. I believe that ppl there are insecure and this insecurity comes out as niceness. you never know when someone’s gonna bomb you down, when the kid next to you is gonna go on a shooting spree etc. so being nice and polite to the guy next to you would probably increase your chances of survival. 😛

    nice post. write often. looking forward to NYC pics!

  9. @baaju
    1. what i meant was because there are no intl matches, regional or club football becomes important. so you simply cannot say that cricket is not popular as junta dont follow domestic cricket. cricket _is_ popular …. i am on your side

    2. insti is way better. green here is ‘garden green’, not natural green.

    3. “you never know when someone

  10. Nice summary [:)] Most heartily agree with your about the brain drain section, sigh, that was almost 2 grades [:D]

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