Beggers cant be choosers(?)

A huge number of students in India have this “dream” of going (coming) to the US for their higher studies. Face it, studies or education is their last passion. They are in this mad rush simply because this is an easy route to immigrating to the US. The most typical illustration of this can be seen universities where the funding is at a huge premium, and jobs are not easy to come by, I know of one such. I havent been there myself, and I havent see how it is out there, I confess. I have heard enough from a lot many sources to say it with confidence.

There is hardly any funds available to the students to pay for their tuition and living expenses. It’s a pretty well known fact, yet people throng that university, simply because it gives them admissions. Once there, the struggle begins. More often than not, to make ends meet, students end up working more than 50 hours a week (legal limit is only 20 hrs) illegally. They are patronized by the indian population and merchants there. Out of sheer necessisity, they have formed huge networks of information among each other. It is a virtual socialist setup there. Any job being offered is brought to the attention of the “council”. The council decides who needs to the most, and then works towards that person getting the job. The “council” is pretty much anybody and eveybody who wants to be a part of it. This has worked out amazingly well for them. Everything from buying groceries to booking flight tickets to India is done is this fashion. It has evolved into an extremely efficient organization over the years!

On the other end, the university that I am enrolled to, is an anti-thesis of the description in the previous paragraph. The International Students’ Office here more strict than the INS (or whatever it’s next re-incarnation is). So no one works off campus, let alone more than 20 hours a week. There are plenty of student worker jobs available. A “lucky” few manage an assistantship. The kids who manage an assistantship consider it to be a gift from god, and go to any lengths to keep it. To the extent of giving up all of their free time and dignity just to keep that job! It was depressing and sickening to see them slogging away like docile mules on weekends on the professor’s whims! Any matter of counseling, talking sense, forcing them to see what they have lead themselves into, doesnt seem to help. The only argument they have is “beggers cant be choosers”!

They seem virtually ineducable (ironically, they are here to receive an education of a higher order). A sorry state of affairs. But is only us to blame for we have demeaned ourselves to these levels through our actions and desperation.

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