Magazine Feature / People

International student finds a bit of home wherever he goes

The first time MBA candidate Akash Vijay experienced culture shock it was actually “weather shock.”

He was born in Hyderabad, India, and had lived in that country for 13 years when his father accepted a job in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

“We landed in Dubai at night and it was blazing hot even then,” Vijay recalls. “I learned that it was always [at least] 100 degrees and sometimes 115.  I was an outdoor person, but I learned to look for air conditioning really quickly.”

Vijay said his experience with the actual culture of Dubai was limited.

“It was a very diverse population where 80 percent of the people are expatriates,” he explains. “Most of the expatriate communities stuck together and most of the locals were aloof.”

When he decided to earn his MBA at the Daniels College of Business, he expected the same treatment from Americans.  He was, as the cliché goes, culture shocked.

“I didn’t expect Americans to be so friendly! It was my first time interacting heavily with a local population and everyone was so friendly.”

The weather, however, was not.

“It sure was bad luck that I arrived in 2006 before one of Denver’s toughest winters,” he says. “When it snows, the whole landscape looks so pretty, but it’s cold!  You have to wear so many layers of clothing!”

Vijay says he feels like he’s adjusted well to all of the changes … all but one.

“Sports. Everything here is different,” he says. “I’ve followed the same sports for 23 years and they don’t even show them on TV here!”

Vijay has brought a bit of his culture to campus: he started a cricket club. He ordered bats and balls, and every Sunday he meets a group of friends at Observatory Park.

“Now, my friends can play one of my games,” he says. “I look forward to Sundays more than any other day of the week.”


Comments are closed.