My experience at University of Wisconsin- Madison

When I first decided to go to UW-Madison, I was not sure about anything. I had selected some random subjects and I did not know if I will get the chance of working in the laboratory under a professor and do a project. But then I talked to a senior in SRM who has been to UW-Madison and he told me to take the risk, he said that even if I do not end up getting a project, I will still learn a lot! Thanks to him setting up in Madison was not difficult. He had already told me almost everything about the city. 

God bless facebook, it was what helped to find a roommate who carried out all the formalities of leasing the apartment. She was maybe one of the best things that could have happened to me. She told me a lot about the American university system and everything else regarding the day-to-day living. 

By the end of the first week I had changed all my previously selected subjects (yes, you can do that). One of my newly selected subjects was human genetics. In the first class I met Dr. Akihiro Ikeda (Aki sir) (one of the professors handling the course), I asked him about the procedure that needs to be followed to get a project under a professor. He took me to the genetics student coordinator and told me to email various professors. I emailed a lot of professors, but of no avail. Most did not reply, the few who did said that their lab was full. One fine day in the second week after class Aki sir asked me what lab training I had. After listening to me for 5 minutes he just asked if I knew how to do PCR, that’s it and he decided to give me a project. That was the best day of my life!! I learned a lot under him and his wife who is a researcher in the same lab. He was very encouraging and appreciated my work. He answered all my questions patiently and is one of the friendliest professors I have ever met.
The human genetics and introduction to psychology lectures turned out to be very informative. We had guest lecture’s from eminent people like the founder of FRAXA during the human genetics course and others who are directly related to people suffering from genetic disorders and though they did not have any scientific background they decided to be scientifically informed and make a difference by starting organizations, funding research agencies and helping patients.

I also volunteered 4 hours a week at the Veteran’s Affairs medical centre as the recreation therapist’s assistant. Those were the most satisfying 4 hours of the week. Helping the patients, interacting with them, playing games/cards with them or just reading a book to them made me feel really happy.

Well don’t think that I spent all the time just studying and working in lab. I took a 1 credit course in ballroom dancing and had the time of my life dressing up and attending social dances. I made amazing friends and we would have lunch together every day and go out every Friday. The best thing about Madison is its weather, I was lucky enough to witness the colourful fall as well the first snow storm. I was so excited during the first snow. We had snow fights, made snowmen and sledged down the snowy slopes.

I participated in a international friendship program called BRIDGE and they took us on a field trip to a place called Devil’s lake. The beauty of that place in fall is incomparable. We went hiking along trail through the woods on the hills surrounding the lake. They also arranged movie nights and casino nights (we played poker with chocolates and candies). Through BRIDGE I made friends belonging to various other countries who had come to Madison for a semester just like me. It also enabled me to have a traditional thanksgiving dinner with an American family at their countryside house.

Madison is a wonderful place for studying. It’s a small city with an awesome weather and two huge lakes. Shops offer student discounts and there are restaurants offering all sorts of cuisines. There are night carts which serve things like fried brownies and cheesecake (you have to taste them). Every Saturday there is a farmers market around the capitol which has fresh cheese, vegetables, honey, maple syrup, flowers, baked goods and local handicrafts

Name : Pooja Gangras
Year : III B.Tech