Why the U.S.? – Anchal Bhatter (Brown University ’23)

The summer after graduating from school, although excited, I was terrified to go to the US – I was a relatively sheltered kid who had never lived outside Kuala Lumpur. Realising that I would soon be moving to the other side of the world on my own and not knowing anyone there made me extremely anxious. I was so scared that I wouldn’t make any friends, that I wouldn’t be able to adapt to the American education system, and that I’d just want to come back home. 

But I was very soon proven wrong. I was taken aback by how welcoming, kind, and understanding Brown’s community was – they made me feel at home almost instantly. It is such a privilege to be surrounded by such a diverse, intellectually curious, and passionate group of people, where even casual conversations can be so thought-provoking. Brown has the reputation of being the most “liberal” and “social” Ivy, and this is certainly evident on campus – there’s a very strong “work hard, play hard” culture. 

Academically, Brown’s liberal arts education and ‘Open Curriculum’ is one of a kind. It allows me to experiment with my education and shape my curriculum to reflect my own interests and aspirations. Whether it be understanding the science behind modern physics theories or learning about the history of the world’s refugees, each class brings together aspects from different disciplines. Bringing current global issues into class discussions has really helped me look at the world through multiple perspectives. 

Sure, I’ve experienced my share of homesickness and imposter syndrome. But every time I walk around campus, I think about how surreal it is that I’m actually here. I can easily say that my first year at Brown has been the best year of my life.