NRI Voice: Massachusetts Magic
Massachusetts-based research associate Sandeep Kini anxiously hopes that the whole deal surrounding immigration policies in the United States becomes clearer soon.
Bengaluru-bred Sandeep Kini, armed with a bachelor’s degree from RV College of Engineering in the city, moved to Boston in 2013 to pursue a Master’s in Biotechnology at Northeastern University. Five years later, he is thankful for a great group of friends, and opportunities that the United States offers to satisfy his obsession with comics. The 27-year-old research associate at Monsanto in Cambridge, Massachusetts, tells Little India about his life in the United States, and why he still looks forward to going home during the Christmas break:
Making the move
Since I always had a passion for learning, especially in my chosen field of life sciences and biotech, getting a masters at Northeastern University seemed like a logical step for me.
Thanks to social media, I found accommodation mainly through online posts. My university had a lot of Facebook and Twitter groups that I was able to join and leverage to my advantage. I found roommates even before I landed in Boston!
Pursuing scientific research in U.S.
My course gave me a few opportunities to be unpaid research associates in certain labs around our campus. They helped supplement the theory-based knowledge that we used to get via course work. It also provided me a good framework for an experiential form of learning, which I’m able to use daily on the job. I am involved in a lot of early research that can then be conceptualized and developed into a product.
About casual racism
I live in a mostly progressive state and city, so fortunately, I have not been affected by serious cases of racism. Casual racism is something that is more ingrained in people’s thinking irrespective of their intention. A professor once said to me during our first meeting, “Here everyone likes to use the words please and thank you. I don’t know if you’re aware of that considering your background.” His intentions might have meant well, but it did come off as a bit racist.
Perks of Living in America
One thing that I’ve been enamored by about the United States is that you really have a sense of freedom, that really allows you to be who you want to be. However, that has been changing with our new president. The day the results came out was shocking and anxiety-inducing, to say the least.
Also, I’m a huge comic book fan. Being in the United States has given me the opportunity to be more in tune with comic creators and being able to even meet some during local comic conventions.
Weekends are spent with friends, hanging out at friends’ houses or bars around the city. Sunday mornings are spent on Skype with my girlfriend and family back in India.
Modern technology has made things easier than they might have been, but nothing beats going home during the Christmas break.
Food is my major incentive for travelling around the country. I like to experience the local favorites of each state and region. While I don’t have a particular favorite, some of the best foods I’ve eaten have been the local New York style pizza in New York City and some spectacular macaroni and cheese in Seattle.
However, they just don’t make Indian food here the way they do there. Try as much as they will, Indian food will always taste the best right at home.
While I hope to diversify my skill set by working on things that will allow me to get back into the pharmaceutical side of the biotech industry, I am hoping the whole deal surrounding immigration policies becomes clearer. It will help me plan my future with my girlfriend.