I moved to US in June 2011 soon after getting married. My first destination was Cincinnati where my husband was pursuing his PhD. Before moving to US, I was practicing dental surgery in India while also working as a lecturer in a dental college. The new beginnings in a new place also brought a well-deserved break from a busy past life.
After few weeks of settling into a new culture, and enjoying an idyllic life, I started thinking of my future plan. I became curious to know about American health care system, so I volunteered at a dental clinic, University of Cincinnati’s dental college and there I got to understand differences between work cultures of two countries. To speak with American patients was a great experience as it increased my ability to understand their problems in more detail. In end of 2011, we moved to Boston, a city that I have come to cherish for its unbridled enthusiasm and creative energy, all of which undoubtedly stems from having young students of various nationalities studying at many of the world-class institutions in the city. I became very keen to go back to school again. However, things were challenging as I was on dependent visa (F2) that has both work & study limitations.
I wanted to gain knowledge so that I can orient myself towards health benefits of the whole society. My husband was a great motivation for me and he always promoted my intentions of advanced studies. We did a research on the various courses taught in Universities around the area and in the meantime I also attended information sessions of couple of Universities. Finally we decided to target Masters of Public Health program from Boston University School of Public Health. In the meanwhile, I prepared for GRE and TOEFL and after getting through those tests, we applied for the program. It was very competitive but due to my good GPA during my bachelor’s and master’s degree, I not only got the admission but also received merit award. Initially, I was registered for Fall 2012 session but due to some visa related issues I had to defer my admission by a semester. For that period, I studied a certificate course through HarvardX where I learnt a new software called Stata that has application in statistical analysis purposes. Having practiced medicine for a greater part of my adult life, it was challenging to learn software and high-level mathematics initially. But soon, I started enjoying these activities. During those few months I also got myself involved in MIT Spouses & Partners Community, where I made new friends from various ethnicities. The time when you are away from your family, friends are always a good support. MIT S&P helps spouses to acclimatize in a new culture and provides career related guidance. Here, I attended weekly Wednesday meetings to strengthen my understanding towards US culture and made some good friends (including Shruti & Ankita).
Finally, my wait was over and I started with my Masters in Public Health with major in Biostatistics and Pharmaceutical program. It is a two year program and I have completed my first three semester of study with good GPA. In summers, I did few projects with my professors. It gives me pleasure and joy to work for improving health of the community. After accomplishing first step towards my dreams, I feel that if your target is clear, if you are faithful for yourself, one day you will achieve your goals. I know I have chosen a challenging path for myself but I am still learning from these experiences. In Boston, I have seen some of my lovely friends who are hard-working and were able to accomplish what they wanted to be and in my hard times I see them as an inspiration for myself. My husband and people like him always keep me motivated for my goals. I remember the times I have spent in my husband’s lab by working on my college assignments and projects. I wish to have many such times in the future where I can get his company while doing my own work.
For the spouses who are planning to move or have already moved on dependent visa, my advice is to recognize your interests and never giveup!