Utsav Jain was selected to be the student speaker for our inaugural “Celebrate! Honoring International Graduates” event for the class of 2019. He currently works as a Software Engineer in Silicon Valley and remains an active international alumni, who continues to give back to our Global Spartan community.
What are you doing now?
Software Engineer at Corning Inc.
What is your most favorite memory of SJSU?
It is quite hard to pick one memory. Having group project meetings in the student union, playing games and chatting with other international students at the ISSS Coffee Hour. One of the most favorite things I did was the “Practically Speaking” program conducted by Amy Russo from the Writing Center.
I will also remember my graduation ceremony quite fondly. Due to current events, it might sound like a brag, but there was certainly something magical about the event.
I would like to mention my favorite professor, Prof. Michael Larkin. The way he conducted his lectures was truly remarkable.
How has your SJSU experience impacted your life either personally or professionally?
My advanced degree from SJSU enabled me to further my career as a Software Engineer. A major advantage of my program, MS in Software Engineering, is that most of the courses are taught by professionals working in the industry, that too in Silicon Valley.
Personally, I started a new phase of my life after graduating from SJSU, although I carried a lot of lessons, memories, and friends from my “University times”.
What do you wish you would have known sooner about life in the U.S. or about being an international student at SJSU?
Firstly, you will get home sick. However, the Bay Area is very diverse. There’s a good chance that you’ll find shops and restaurants catering to your background. Nothing can replace the comfort of your hometown, but going to a place which serves food like home certainly helps.
Secondly, if you plan to stay in the US for long, depending on your nationality, you may need an immigration plan that might be a decade or longer. You would need to be selective with your employers and limited to the kind of jobs you can work.
Lastly, SJSU has so many resources, it’s hard to even know all. I wish I had attended some more random events and participated in some more random activities. For example, the aforementioned “Practically Speaking” program was a totally random thing offered by the writing center. I was a software engineering student, so it didn’t really have a connection with my field of study. But it turned out to be one of the most fun things I did and improved my overall personality.
What advice would you give to current international students?
Firstly, always stay on top of your paperwork, especially immigration related. It appears quite intimidating at first, but most of the time, it is pretty straightforward. Also, whenever the U.S. immigration authorities want something from you, it’s best to give them as soon as you can even though they might take an arbitrarily long time to get back to you.
Secondly, connecting with your peers in class is just as important as making industry connections. It may feel a bit difficult to talk to people of other nationalities in your class, but it can be very rewarding.
Lastly, change your computer language to default to English (U.S.) :-).