My name is Karnik Shah, I’m a first year Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) student at the School of Public Health. I’m originally from India, but have been living in Michigan for the last seven years.
I am excited to be part of the University of Michigan COMMUNITY. Yes, you are right, it is a community having diverse culture and rich source of erudite personality. Go blue!!! But, don’t get intimidated as each individual is a scholar in his or her own way.
I am currently working full time ( 40 hours in the USA) as a physical therapist. I work in an outpatient clinic, where we help patients recover from injuries and improve their quality of life. I enjoy my profession, but always wanted to serve the society on a larger scale and for that, I needed special skills. Also, I want to go back to my home country (that’s the thought at this moment) and work in rural communities. After mulling it over for couple of years, I decided to pursue a public health degree. I applied to many schools, but always wanted to be part of the University of Michigan for 4 reasons:
- First, the University of Michigan is one of the top public health schools.
- I will not have to relocate to other state and worry about my H-1 visa status. [Well, let me give a brief idea of H-1 visa : As an immigrant, you need a permit to legally work (in your professional field) in the US. The employer has to file a petition for you to an agency, USCIS. So, if you want to change your job, the new employer should be ready to file a petition for your work permit]. So, to avoid hassle I decided to stay in Michigan.
- The University of Michigan allowed me to pursue Health Behavior and Health education program, which is a 2 year course, as a part time student I can complete the curriculum within 5 years.
- The HBHE program requires 30 core credits to be completed from department while rest of the 30 credits can be completed from any department at University of Michigan. It’s cool, right? I mean, if you are interested in taking business classes from the School of Business, the department allows you to do it. No strings attached.
Experience so far
I want to share a specific experience during our first year orientation session. We had a workshop, “Being Cultural Beings”, on our first day of orientation. I do not want to disclose the details about it, but will give you the gist of the workshop. The workshop’s main idea was that, an individual is culturally different. So as a public health professional, we have to be sensitive to other cultures and develop cultural humility. As an international student, the idea of being in different culture and trying to assimilate really resonated with me. The ultimate aim of the workshop was to respect everybody’s culture. And I thought, “hmm it’s a good start for my second round of graduate school”.
The first few weeks were difficult, as I had to commute for an hour from my house to reach the university campus. On top of that I am working full time. But, I’m managing well. It is blessing in disguise as this schedule has sharpened my time management skills. The classes so far are informative and I have already gained some knowledge about the conceptual model ( don’t worry, even I had no idea what that was when I started the course) in my HBHE 600 class.
Conceptual model for my decision making ( practical application of my HBHE 600 class).
Well ! I have already embarked on the adventure of public health. Let’s see how many bumps, left or right turn and hurdles I have to face to reach my destination.
Meanwhile, if you have any question about program, physical therapy, India, food, parking, commute, Ann Arbor, Michigan or just want to say hello you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org