Earnest James PD

Earnest is a graduate student from India who is very involved on campus and loves life in the CLE. Here is his advice on how to adjust well to living in the US and the best opportunities to take advantage of while you’re in Cleveland.

What made you want to study at a US university and CWRU in particular?

I did my Masters in England and I always wanted to have the US experience for my PhD. US universities are among the best in the world to do biomedical research. No one can deny! Actually, doing a PhD in the US is well esteemed in Europe, especially the ‘5 year research programs’ with intense course work and extended training. So I started with applying to select universities that hosted some of the leading Professors/Gurus in my field of interest. Case was one of the Universities where there were few professors who I really wanted to work with. Now being here, I consider myself blessed to work with the leaders in the field and to publish in some of the top scientific journals in the world!

Name one thing about studying in the US that you had heard about before arriving and was surprised it was actually true.

I did look forward to one-month lab rotations before starting my PhD. It was a dream come true to work in at least four different labs consecutively, thinking about different scientific questions and learning wide range of techniques for a short period of time. It was a mind-opener to see first-hand, how different scientists view scientific questions, handle problems, and test their path-breaking ideas.

Name one thing you tried for the first time while studying at CWRU.  Did you like it?

For first time, I have joined philosophical cum faith based student society. I am part of International Student Fellowship (ISF), a Christian based graduate student group, where internationals of all faiths meet and discuss day to day moral issues. I have friends from about 24 different countries. It feels good to be part of a ‘United family of Nations’.

What do you miss most about your home country?

Like all new immigrants, I miss family and homemade food. Growing up, I used to watch new Tamil movies in a crowded theater and burst crackers on road during Deepavali. I miss them all. Every morning, I used to wake up listening to Vedic Chants, the smell of fresh flowers, street vendors shouting near the house entrance! The cultural flavor is so unique! Now missing them makes it more special!

What is special about Cleveland?

Love Cleveland, not necessarily for its weather J! Cleveland is the homeland of Cleveland CAVS, Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Art Museum, Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana. These are some of the best in the country, if not in the world itself. From science to sports to Music and Arts, we have it all!! Glad I chose to study here. Believe, the LAND flows with milk and honey 😊 The ‘Case’ is pretty strong 😊

What is your favorite place to visit in the Cleveland area?

I love outdoors. One can witness all four seasons vividly here. There is something to do every season, from fall foliage drive and apple picking trips during fall, visiting metro-parks and waterfalls during spring and summer, doing skiing during winter, Yes!  Cleveland offers the variety! My favorite spot in Cleveland so far is the Edgewater Park Cliff overlooking Lake Erie. It gives a perfect view of the Cleveland Skyline and the lake.

How has your global perspective changed now that you have studied in the US?

My perspective about ‘faith’, ‘life’, destiny’ and ‘human responsibility’ has all matured for better. US Universities are one of the fertile grounds where birds from all cultures can fulfill their dreams. The country is quite diverse and united, although getting divisive lately going through identity crisis. But one thing you would notice right away is the ‘freedom of speech’ that makes US stands out from most other countries.

What would you like to do after finishing your studies at CWRU?

Will continue studying!! J After my PhD, I would like to stay in academics, starting with my post-doctoral training. Where work finds me, I will find my home!

What advice would you give to other international students arriving to study at CWRU?

Arriving at Case, please start with finding a student group where you can express yourself and where you will meet more like-minded people!!  Take it from there, Keep your mind open and don’t be too judgmental! Involve yourself in a community and make a difference! We learn more outside our classrooms!

Academics [at CWRU] are mostly guided self-learning. Prepare well before attending regular lecture classes! Meet up with Professors on a regular basis to clear doubts! Stay ahead!