Someone recently called me a warrior, and it really got me thinking back to how far I’ve come. My 8,000-mile journey from India to America has been challenging, and it’s one that many others have faced. It’s for that reason that I’ve chosen to write it all down and share it with you.

It started when I decided to pack up and leave my home in India behind. I needed to see the world through my own eyes. I always knew that I would need to step outside my comfort zone if I ever wanted to follow my dreams. With the United States being the dreamland, coming here was the obvious decision. I came here with a simple plan to learn and grow, which I started by pursuing my master’s degree in information systems at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. Along the way I got a chance to develop a new understanding of who I am as a person and an individual outside my homeland — armed with my own personality, my own living style, and my own way of presenting myself to new people in a new place.

My first and most difficult challenge was coming to terms with being independent. From the cultural change to the career pressure to the overall concept of security and survival, it all boiled down to the stages of a migration journey. The curve of my experience started on an upswing, where I was exploring my life in a new country. After a few days of exploration, however, the culture shock hit, and there was a  drastic dip in my tranquility and happiness. I found myself isolated from the world around me. I was often told that stepping out of your level of serenity is indeed difficult. While the thought of following my dreams seemed beautiful from a distance, facing it in reality was a hard-hitting experience. I struggled when I finally took the leap away from my family and my comfort zone for the first time.

Things started to pick up when I found my way into the tech industry through Vidyo’s summer internship program. After having completed two semesters of my master’s, I started working, learning the work culture and ultimately becoming financially independent and stable. This gave me a liberated feeling, as I was no longer dependent on my parents back in India to support me.

Vidyo gave me an opportunity to intern and gave me a lifetime of experience as well. My mentor at the time helped me thrive. He not only guided me from a professional standpoint, but he also shared his personal experiences that led me to reflect on my own struggles and goals.While my career is still in its infancy, it’s great to learn from people around me who have been working for as many years as my mentor has. I have grown as an independent individual and that is something nobody can take away from me. I owe much of that to the opportunity Vidyo has given me. Interacting with people from different cultures, different backgrounds, and different experiences has allowed me to grow, both professionally and personally.

I’m in a phase now where things are steadily looking up. Things are starting to move a little more rapidly as I’m now at the end of my college career. I’ve completed my master’s degree and have continued my journey with Vidyo. I am more confident and independent today than I ever was back home. To me, that is one of my greatest accomplishments.

While I described my experience until now in phases, one of my co-workers called it a “journey.” It gave me immense joy when, despite being my senior, he said he wanted to learn from my short journey.

One thing that I would like to tell all the interns joining Vidyo this year is to always keep an open mind — you never know what might be waiting for you on the other side of the right door. After all, every situation has the potential to go from something small to something unimaginable.

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