GLOBAL CONNECT

A window to the wide world
Riya Bahadur
Undergraduate Student | FLAME University
Semester abroad @Kelley School Of Business, Indiana University

I am Riya Bahadur, a third year student at FLAME University. I am majoring in finance and minoring in digital marketing and communications. I represented my university as an exchange student and studied at the Kelley School Of Business, Indiana University from January-May of 2022. I’d like to share my unfiltered experience, with its ups and downs and how it made me a more independent minded, confident and stronger individual. 

It was the peak of winters when I arrived in Bloomington, Indiana on January 5th, 2022 and I promise I’d never felt cold like that before. With orientation week, setting up the apartment, walking to buy groceries in the snow, meeting new people, constantly converting dollars to rupees, understanding the grading and assignment pattern and several emotional breakdowns, initially it was hard to get some time to take it all in.

Slowly, I started to feel settled and at ease. A few things I did to make sure I felt this way were: stop converting back to my home currency, decorating my dorm to make it feel like home, buying new stationary, making to-do lists, having meaningful conversations with my roommate, reading fiction, and finding our staple diet-ramen, frozen food bowls, peanut butter and bread. Talking about academics, I studied several business courses like legal aspects of business, financial markets, financial management, strategic management and marketing research. These courses gave me deep insights into the world of business as they covered a broad range of concepts like investment analysis, management theories, business law etc. We had several formal business presentations and group projects over the semester and worked with real world clients to solve their business problems. The courses we studied were taught from the perspective of American business law and thus, I had to constantly read up and self learn. This enabled me to access critical cross-cultural insights.

Over the course of the semester, I got the opportunity to go on a camping trip to the Mammoth Caves with the IU trekking club, explore Bloomington and its eateries, make friends from different countries, experience freedom like never before and get to know myself on a deeper level.

A few tips for anyone going to study at IU, Bloomington in the near future: manage your finances on excel and avoid currency conversion, do not go to College Mall for groceries and order online from Walmart instead, revise your course work everyday, invest in a warm jacket, do not spend on a meal plan if you live away from campus, find/create a support system, prioritize your mental well being and make some time for yourself everyday. The exchange program gave me the chance to interact with and learn from students and faculty from different nationalities and cultures. This peer learning exposed me to new ways of thinking from a global perspective. The two other exchange students from Flame, new friends made at IU and family and friends back home helped me navigate through this journey and I’ll be forever grateful for their support. Lastly and most importantly, I’d like to thank my university for believing in my potential and giving me this wonderful opportunity.