I came to Stern exactly 14 months ago. Stern in many respects was a great next step for me – a chance to explore new careers, a chance to explore new subjects and learn about things I never imagined I would learn (aka Behavioral Finance). But most importantly, it was a chance to explore a completely different culture than mine.
I am from Delhi, India. I have never ventured far from home. My high school and undergrad school were 15 mins away from my home. Even my work was a manageable 40 minutes away so I never had a compulsion to move away. Coming to Stern, and by extension New York, was a giant next step in my life. It was the first time I have ever lived away from home. When I stepped off the plane and wandered around New York on my first day here, I was swept with two feelings – that of awe and a sweeping reservation about fitting in.
One fact that a cursory research will show you is that Stern has a very diverse student body. In fact, international students make up 30 – 37% of the class in any given year. Knowing that gave me assurance that I might be able to experience a new culture while still staying around people I am most familiar with.
In my first month here, I held a small dinner gathering for all the Indian students at my apartment. Fun fact: The smoke alarm went off seven times while I was cooking! NY apartments are not built for Indian cooking! Barring that mishap, that evening, I made new friends and started developing a sense of community here.
The most amazing thing about Stern is how every culture is embraced with open arms here. We had Passport Day in which students from 47 countries around the world participated! There was great joy, laughter and dance. A lot of people showed up and shared each other’s food and culture. It was just one of those many things that show Stern’s emphasis on diversity and inclusiveness.
Last semester, SABAS (South Asian Business Association of Stern) hosted a Diwali party. Over a 100 people attended that event, dancing, laughing, and sharing my culture. Last Diwali, I felt incredibly home sick and regretted missing out on all the festivities back home. This time around, as I was leaving the party at the end and walking towards the subway, I discovered a new feeling. A feeling of being right at home.