Harish came to the United States from India, studying information technology and management in Kentucky. ISO got the chance to hear from Harish about his experience as a student in the U.S., and the struggles he is facing during the pandemic.
Like many other international students, Harish was drawn to the United States for the culture and opportunity it provides. When describing his experience thus far, Harish says, “I like everything here – the work life, and the work culture… so much diversity here.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, Harish was working for a sales and marketing company as a software developer. Gaining professional experience and working towards his MBA, Harish had set his path of success and building his career. “Everything was great,” Harish says.
“We left with no choice”
It was only a matter of hours however, on the day that Harish got word his company would need to lay people off due to the financial constraints of the pandemic. He was unfortunately one of the employees who were let go. Harish is facing the struggles that unemployment brings, and while he knows he is not alone, the weight of the situation is still felt heavily. Harish is “looking for other opportunities as well, [however] no big companies are hiring.”
“We also pay taxes, but we don’t get any aid, and that’s challenging.”
Among the struggles, Harish mentions the challenge of not being able to receive federal aid as an international student. As loans and financial aid have been distributed from the federal government as a part of the Congressional stimulus bills, Harish discusses his personal financial concerns.
While the semester is over, you can still reach out to your school’s international student office and advisors to see if there are any scholarships or financial aid available through your school to help you during these unprecedented times.
While Harish spoke on the various challenges being faced by students everywhere, he also acknowledged the power of not being alone in this situation. He talked about how the virus is not enough to keep international students from working hard and staying motivated to complete their education.
ISO is committed to sharing the stories of international students throughout this time. Giving a platform to our members for their voices to be heard brings awareness to the reality that international students face and reminds students that they are not alone during this difficult time. When asked about sharing the stories of students like himself, Harish states, “Our stories should… it should help someone.”