Nirmala Lekhak

What made you want to study at a U.S. university and CWRU in particular?
I came to the U.S. in 2005 as an undergraduate student. I chose to come to the U.S. to be self-sufficient and independent. I come from a country where women still experience some form of discrimination when it comes to education and employment. I wanted to make an effort in changing that situation. I saw coming to the U.S. as an opportunity explore myself. I chose CWRU for graduate school because the [Frances Payne Bolton] School of Nursing has very good nursing research program and accepts BSN students for the PhD program.

What do you miss most about your home country?
I miss my family a lot. I also miss the scenery, hills, mountains, and historical sites. I will miss those more now as some of historical sites are destroyed due to the recent earthquake that took more than 7500 lives and the number is still climbing. Millions are affected by this disaster. It won’t be same when I go back home now.

How has your global perspective changed now that you have studied in the US?
It has changed a lot. I have learned a lot about social and health inequality. I have learned to acknowledge that what we see through our eyes can be deceiving as well. I do not think I would be this open in my thinking if I hadn’t come to the U.S. I hope I can use this understanding and knowledge to at least make an effort to bring change in any aspect I can, especially back home.

What is your favorite spot on campus?
I really like Wade Park. But I really haven’t had a chance to explore the campus much until now. Being in the health science building and away from main campus is not helpful either.

Name one thing about studying in the states that you were surprised was actually true?
I have read others' answers to this question and saw that they have mentioned that they were surprised by the friendliness of the professors. I was nicely surprised too. I think I have finally managed to call professor by their first names and not feel bad.

What is a fun place you have visited in the Cleveland area?
I like the Chagrin Falls area. Its gives me a feel of history and nature.

Name one thing you tried for the first time while studying at CWRU, and did you like it?
I have always been hesitant about taking leadership roles. However, I was given the role of [Graduate Student Senate] senator during my first year here at CWRU and I haven't stopped yet. Now, I am serving in different executive roles in different organizations. It’s been a learning experience.

What was your favorite class at CWRU, and why?
My favorite class would be a health disparity class taught by Dr. Gary. It gave me a perspective on social/economic issues and its implication in local and global health.

What advice would you give to students arriving to study at CWRU?
Clarify your goal and keep calm. The goal does not necessarily have to be related to study. Having an aim can help you stop wasting your time. In addition, you should develop an interest during your study and life in the U.S. That can be photography, music, sports, etc. These will definitely be useful in the future. When you have difficulties in the daily life, try to be positive and consider more about yourself rather than the environment. Give yourself a smile and everything will be fine.

What would you like to do after you have completed your educational experience at CWRU?
I would like to do research and teach but also continue to work on reducing health disparity in any way I can.