'Everyone Is Here To Make You Feel At Home'
Students from India are currently the largest international student population on campus, with about 470 students currently enrolled. Harsh Mishra, is a graduate student in Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services. Hirsh is also the president of the Kent Indian Association.
Mishra is currently completing his master’s program in public health, majoring in epidemiology. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in epidemiology, to complement his medical degree, with the goal of a career in research.
'Everyone is here to make you feel at home'
If he were speaking to an international student, and their parents, to encourage them to send their student to Kent State, Mishra said, “Firstly, I would say you don’t have to worry. That’s the best thing I can say to them. I know, coming here for the first time, my parents did worry. They said, ‘How will I live?' 'How will I survive?' and everything. But I would say, the campus, the people, everything around and even all the staff and faculty – everyone is here to make you feel at home.”
Public health and epidemiology
“You know, back in India, public health is not given that much importance, until COVID,” said Mishra. “But after COVID, the importance of public health has increased a lot. So, after my master’s, I’m planning to do research in epidemiology, regarding, I would say, some of the most common infectious diseases. I won’t say I’m not looking at some chronic ones, but yes, for the infectious ones, because they are the ones which should be a concern right now.”
Mishra was happy with the research opportunities he found at Kent State and at how quickly he was able to able to begin working with researchers here. “When I came here, I hadn’t applied for any job beforehand,” he said. “After coming here, I approached all of my professors about research, even graduate assistantship, research assistantship and even as a teaching assistant.”
One of his professors sent him some links to investigate about where to seek research opportunities. He followed one of those links, approached a professor, and was working with that professor on research less than a month later.
‘The best part is the faculty’
Mishra says the best part of studying at Kent State is the faculty. "They are the best, I would say one of the best I’ve come across. And the second thing I would say is my co-students, who are in my class. They are TOO good,” he said with a laugh.
He finds the faculty exceptionally helpful and always willing to go the extra mile for students. “They are approachable, any time you want,” said Mishra. “It was a Sunday. I e-mailed one of my professors about a question and he replied in a half hour. What more can you expect than someone replying to you on a Sunday?”
Help from O.G.E.
Kent State’s Office of Global Education (O.G.E.) provides support for international students even before they arrive on campus. Mishra said “The Office of Global Education helped me in several ways, like clearing all my doubts about how I can live here, my residence and about my program. They even helped me get a campus job. They even gave me good counseling when I was wondering what I might do, because, you know, it’s a foreign place. Something very different from where I’m coming.”
“On my first day, they gave me a welcome kit with all the necessary equipment that I would be needing here. They helped me in my immigration process, in filling out my forms about my immigration status and everything. Even after getting my job, they helped me get my Social Security Number and all the documents required to live here and work.”
When asked about any funny stories about his time here at Kent State, Mishra shared, “I wouldn’t say that it’s a funny story, but I would like to mention that the day I came here, that day they had the snowstorm here. I heard it was the heaviest snowstorm they had in years. And that continued for a week or two. Trust me, we don’t get that snow back in India.”