Thank you, UM-Dearborn!

May 1, 2023

Class of 2023 graduate Rudra Mehta, a Reporter editorial assistant, reflects on his experiences that he gained as an international student and Dearborn Wolverine.

Portrait of Rudra Mehta, Class of 2023 CECS graduate student
Rudra Mehta earned his graduate degree on April 30.

I barely knew anyone when I arrived here from India  in August 2021 to prepare for the first semester of my master’s program in Automotive Systems Engineering. Leaving my family and friends behind and moving to a new country to study and grow was practically restarting my life from scratch. I did have the support of my family and loved ones that kept me going, and I am fortunate enough to have had it from day one.

Rudra Mehta

To my fellow international students: I commend your bravery and resolve to move so far away from home and be determined to grow your career exactly the way you want. I also commend your faith that you can create a home wherever you go. 

To incoming international students: I want to tell you that it gets easier with time. I still remember spending my first week or so understanding just how “cheap” or “expensive” things are based on dollar amounts and using my absolute willpower not to convert currencies. Pro tip: Don’t convert dollars to your money. Ever. The sooner you start living like an American, at least in my opinion, the easier it will be to integrate yourself into the American culture and way of life. As long as your focus is clear, the results will show in whatever you pursue — even simple things like grocery shopping, figuring out utilities and getting around town to explore. 

With every new experience, you learn and grow more confident — which makes you want to learn and explore more. One of my favorite memories was taking a road trip with friends where we covered six states in just a week. I also went to Mackinac Island and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Both were very beautiful. I’m also proud to have earned the (M)Talent honor, maintaining a high GPA and landing a job in the automotive industry where I’m working on driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles.

To all students: Even though there’s stress from exams and projects, you will fondly reflect on the fun instances in your story when you look back. I would change nothing if I had to go back and redo my chapter here in Dearborn, from living here to studying, to the classes I took, the friends I made and the opportunities I dove headfirst into. I didn’t know what the outcome would be — I was in it for the experience. Everything you decide to partake in is worth the effort. You can only gain as much from your student experience as the effort you put into it.

UM-Dearborn has something for everyone. You need only try to find what resonates with you, be it clubs, organizations, academic and cultural programs, research opportunities and more. UM-Dearborn truly provides the potential to make your journey here unique.

This rollercoaster ride has been nothing short of an exhilarating one. I got jobs in the U.S., first on campus and then in the “real world.” And I collaborated and worked on a dozen projects and research over two years, trying out different programs to help me prepare for my career and more. As I leave my school behind, I remind myself that I am and will be a lifelong Wolverine.

To my friends, professors and staff: You’ve made a difference in my life. I bid adieu for now, but it will never be a goodbye. There will always be a “see you next time.” Go Blue! Go Dearborn!