Sampreeti Bhattacharya is an international Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry. She came to UNC-Chapel Hill from India, where she completed her undergraduate studies.
As a graduate student with global impact, we asked Bhattacharya about her take on International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. The week is designed to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. In 2021, she was a finalist during The Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis competition, an initiative of the Professional Development program.
Why did you decide to pursue higher education in the United States?
The decision to come to the U.S. was because I was working in a computational field, and I find the U.S. is at the forefront in my field; there’s some really cool research. … That attracted me. I wanted to do something very state of the art and cutting edge. Carolina has a very strong history in its Department of Chemistry; there have been great scientists here.
How have you found community at Carolina?
There are a lot of international students here, and many are from India. I could find connections. In my department, when I came here, I have really enjoyed my time. We have to take a certain number of courses. I’ve found people I can really talk to and really discuss problems and have a chat. I really enjoyed my time right from the beginning.
How has being an international student enriched your pursuit of your Ph.D.?
It’s a learning process. … We are learning the same thing in the classroom, after coming here, I came to learn a lot about friends who are from Mexico, from China, elsewhere. … I brushed up on my communication skills, presentation skills. I think that has really improved.
That exchange of information really helps, because maybe there is someone who comes from a different background or in a different lab. That has broadened a lot of what I used to think before I came here, and what I can actually pursue with my degree. … Communication is among the most important skills someone can have in a professional life.