International Spotlight: an unwavering bond

Although he lived in India for only a short time, Ajay George holds a strong passion and patriotism for his country of birth. The senior finance major is originally from Cochin, in the state of Kerala, India, but grew up in Oman. Even in Oman, George kept a connection with his fellow countrymen.

Ajay George, a native of India, relaxes between classes.

Ajay George, a native of India, relaxes between classes.

“Many Indians live in the Middle East, so it was almost like being in India. My parents, my older brother and I travel to India twice a year to visit family, so I still feel very connected. I miss the food (especially samosa chaat – crushed samosas with sauces, fried noodles, and vegetables), the heat, cricket and our humor. Jokes are always funnier in your own language,” he said.

George came to the United States five years ago when he began studying at the University of Arizona. He transferred to St. Thomas in the spring of 2008 after hearing great things from two close friends already at St. Thomas. “They told me St. Thomas was a great place to study, full of wonderful people, and offered the high-quality business program that I was looking for. They also told me about the good opportunities and companies in the Twin Cities area,” he said.

Throughout his time at St. Thomas, George has enjoyed many things. “I like how many organizations on campus are available for students to become involved. They all provide a great experience for the students involved, which I have especially experienced through the Globally Minded Student Association," remarked George, president of the association. “St. Thomas loves being international, which is enhanced by amazing study-abroad opportunities and a wonderful Office of International Student Services. It is a great campus, with great professors, and has been my best learning experience.”

George advises students interested in studying abroad to leave their preferences and attachments back at home. “Be open to new experiences and the new students you will be interacting with, which will help make the most of your experience. You can be yourself, especially here at St. Thomas, because everyone is very accepting. And always remember that we all exist in a small planet in a huge universe," he said. "Life will go on, so do not worry about messing up. We will all continue, and life will continue.”

Upon graduation this May, George hopes to continue gaining valuable work experience in this country for a few years. After working in two other countries outside of the United States (his top choices are Singapore and Switzerland), George plans to return to India and apply all that he has learned.

To learn more about George and the myths of India, attend his CultureLink Tea presentation at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, in Room 155, Murray-Herrick Campus Center. Indian sweets and tea will be served.