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Jan 9

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, Cultural Adjustment Coach
Saturday, January 09, 2010

Desi Professors in US – Some Random Thoughts

Guest Post By Brijesh Nair

Original Post here.

(These thoughts about desi professors were formulated in me during the seven years of graduate studies in US. I don’t want to generalize my thoughts but like to know your views on this topic)

Last week a girl, who just got an admit for Spring 2010, came to my house to talk to my wife and me about the graduate program she was about to join. Her eyes lit up when she told me that she had applied for assistantship with two desi professors. The way her eyes lit up was exactly the same way my eyes lit up when I saw the name of a desi professor while I was applying in graduate school during 2001. After I got admit I used to send emails and resume from India to desi professors thinking that they will help me out. As soon as I landed in my school the first piece of advice I got from the seniors here was “Working with desi professor – keep that as a last option if nothing else works out”. I have seen few good desi professors but lot of them are extremely tough to work with. So it was my time to pass the baton of advice to that girl -“Working with desi professor – keep that as a last option if nothing else works out!”

Desi professors know the helplessness of most of the Indian students (especially with funding and visa) who come here to study, as they were in their shoes a few years back and they exploit it very well. These professors know that an Indian student is not going to complain if he is paid for 10 hours and made to work for 40 hours.

One of my roommates was working with a desi professor. That professor works six days a week and 10 hours a day. Only day he takes off is Saturday and he expects his students to be in lab all the time he is in office. In this age of internet and instant messaging, if he finds that a student is not in his lab, he writes a small note and posts it in the lab and goes back to his office. My roommate took one Sunday off and the professor promptly wrote a note on his desk around noon. My friend saw that note on Monday and when he met him the professor shouted at my friend for over 30 minutes. He did not even care to listen to my friend. It is all together a different story that my friend left that professor and joined another professor for rest of his Masters.

I have seen some desi professors having their weekly lab meeting at Friday night after 7pm. One of my roommates, working with a desi professor always had the lab meeting either on Friday or Saturday night. Another worst thing – this professor will call my friend any time of the day or night and ask him to come to the lab – it doesn’t matter even if it is 10 at night. I am not sure if that same professor could have done something similar to an American student.

I have seen so many stuffs in the seven years of my school where desi professors treat Indian students with total disrespect and disregard to their feelings. Very rarely I have seen such an attitude from an American professor. They always treat every student with equal respect.

Would like to know your opinion and thoughts on this subject….


Thank you for sharing your insights, Brijesh and allowing this reprint.

Other articles by Brijesh on Alaivani

A to Z of Graduate Study in US  
See original post on Brijesh's site here, and to leave/see comments.

Related Posts/Sites:
International Students Introduction to Life in America
Test Taking Trials and Tribulations in India- An American Studying in India

Video Tutorials on Adjusting to Life in America as an International College Student/Expat:
International Students in USA Tutorial Intro
International Students in USA - Chapter 1
International Students in USA - Chapter 2

Thank you for spending your time on Alaivani.


Copyright ©2010 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


1 comments so far...

Re: Desi Professors in US – Some Random Thoughts

Kaushik. Thank you for spending time on my blog and leaving your thoughts here.

By Rakesh Mehra on   Thursday, January 14, 2010

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