Why The US? – Kaviarasan Selvam (Boston University ’18)

So why did Kavi chose to study in the states and not anywhere else? So he can merge both of his interests in Astrophysics and Computer Science! Oh, did we mention cool opportunities like a semester abroad in Switzerland for an internship with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to work on an Artificial Intelligence in Particle Physics project? What’s even cooler is that these opportunities can be yours, too!


Why The US?

That’s a question I’ve been asked multiple times over the years. Every single time, I ponder about that time in my life when I had to make a crucial decision on charting my next path in life. I had many options, but America stood out for no apparent reason. At that point in life, I could not come up with a reason as to why America seemed like a very appealing option, but it just was. With a skip of a heartbeat, I trusted my intuition and chose to go to the United States for college.

Now, 3 years on, I consider that decision to be one of the best I’ve made in my life. Why?

Over the last 3 years, I have grown so much as a person. I would attribute that personal growth to the flexibility of the American college education system. The fact that this system allows you to take control and plan your college life helps you think about your interests and goals in life. The system allows you to develop your passion and add some elements to it and then connect all the dots together. For example, I started off my college career wanting to be an Astrophysics major. Some time along freshmen year, I stumbled upon Computer Science and really liked it. And guess what? The American college system told me that I could extensively study both fields and graduate with a double major at the same time.

The options that this system provides you is limitless. I learned to speak a new language. I learned about archeology around the world. I had an amazing professor who taught me about medieval European history. I will be learning how to swim next semester. And the list goes on.

Wow, it seems like I have a considerable amount of free time to do all these things that are not related to my major. And all those things that I mentioned are actual classes and not “extra-curricular activities”. So do I have more free time? How?

Yes, and this “free time” is absolutely why you should choose to go to college in the US. An undergraduate degree in the US typically takes 4 years to complete. The system is designed to give students the flexibility of planning their college lives, meaning you choose what you want to do besides school work and you choose when you want to have fun. I chose to use this extra time to try my hands out at some astronomy research. During my sophomore year, I studied meteor showers and their various effects in the lower atmosphere. The reason I was able to get this research job was my background as an Astrophysics and Computer Science double major, which was only made possible by the college education system!


My 1st day working at Boston University’s Department of Astronomy!

This American college education system that allowed me to learn French and do multiple degrees at the same time gave me the opportunity to use these skills through a study abroad program. Study abroad programs are programs for students to typically spend a semester in another university, which could also be in another country.  This past semester, I studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland. I took Physics classes in French at the University of Geneva. I also did an internship at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), where I worked on an Artificial Intelligence in Particle Physics project. All of this was made possible because I had the opportunity to learn multiple skills throughout my college life.

With my mates at the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), a general-purpose detector at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)!

I’ve had to work hard to be given such opportunities, but the American college education system gave me an avenue to invest my effort. This system provided the framework that allowed me to grow as a person, learn new skills and expand my boundaries. I might not have known why the US before I chose to go there for college, but now I can tell you why you should choose to go to the US for college. Come talk to me and other amazing facilitators about our American college experience at the USAPPS workshops!

Hiking the Swiss Alps!