Beyond the Borders: Vishal Rajput

The first time sophomore Vishal Veersing Rajput lived in the United States, he loved it so much that he decided to return for college.

Originally from Aurangabad, India - a city about two hours from Mumbai - Rajput spent the 2006-07 school year in Arizona as an exchange student. He later decided to return to the U.S. to study, choosing Geneseo because "it sounded like a good school, both financially and academically."

Having lived in the U.S. for over a year now, Rajput said, "[I feel] like a total American, except for my funny Indian accent."

There are still a few differences between the cultures, however, that Rajput has found difficult to adjust to. "Indian people don't hug too much and here I do it all the time," he said. "I feel like I almost do it awkwardly, but I am working on it."

The straightforward attitude of Americans is another aspect that Rajput finds to be quite different. "In Indian culture saying 'no' to other people is considered rude, so it's been a change for me to see people straight up saying 'no' when they can't do some favor."

Rajput said he has adjusted well to most aspects of American culture, but what he misses most about India is his friends and family.

Though he loves eating all the different types of food offered in the states, Rajput can't seem to find an Indian restaurant with food that is quite up to par with what he had at home.

"We add a lot of spices to bring good flavor to the food, but the Indian food they have here is too Americanized," he explained. Rajput's favorite Indian food is Naan, a leavened, oven-baked flatbread that he shares with his American friends - most of whom, he says, love it.

Upon arriving to the U.S., Rajput also found that the most popular sport in India, cricket, is almost nonexistent in America. "I was talking to one of my friends about cricket and he had no idea what it was."

Rajput described the game as "similar to American baseball, but better." American sports like basketball, football and baseball aren't really played in India, but Rajput has taken a liking to watching basketball, especially the Phoenix Suns and Kobe Bryant.

If he had to describe Geneseo in one word, Rajput said it would be "incredible." He said that he loves his professors - some of whom he plays ping-pong with - the extra-curricular activities available, and the lovely campus.

Rajput said that he has enjoyed every bit of time he has spent at Geneseo and that his favorite thing about it is the people. "I absolutely love the friendliness on this campus," he said. "I have made unbelievable friends over the past year and I remain friends with almost all of them."

According to Rajput, his decision to come to Geneseo was, "looking back … the best decision [I have made] so far."