Invasion of Privacy: Cuckoo Gupta

Campus was buzzing in the spring with mention of an Indian reality  TV show, which featured current Geneseo freshman Cuckoo Gupta. “College Hunt USA” features college-bound high school students  in India who choose between three colleges in the U.S., according to  a press release from the U.S. Consulate  Mumbai.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln initially invited Gupta on the  show as an opportunity to tour the Midwest campus. After completing  her application, she went through a few Skype interviews and a camera  audition.

But initially, Gupta said she and her family were skeptical of the  show and even coming to the U.S. to attend college.

“I had given up on coming [to] the U.S. and studying,” she said.  “I had applied to 11 universities. I got into 10, but I did not get  scholarships. That was the worst feeling.”

Around the time she was preparing to attend the University of Dublin,  Gupta received a call from the show's director asking if she was interested  in being on “College Hunt USA.”

“In a month's time my bags were packed and I was in the U.S.,”  she said. “I learned a lot through these three universities, but the  best part was I loved meeting new people.”

While the show was in production, Gupta had the option of picking  from six schools. The UNL, Ohio Wesleyan University and Geneseo made  the final roster of colleges to visit.

Gupta, now a self-proclaimed proud Geneseo student, was drawn to rural  Western New York due to the friendliness of the student body and a liberal  arts education.

While it is commonplace for most Indians to stay in the country for  college, some do not. Out of Gupta's class of 24, 21 attended college  outside of the country.

“In India, everyone has to go to college … There it is not about  your resume … or who you as a person; it's all about grades,” she  said. “It's extremely, extremely competitive.”

As a communication major in the journalism track, Gupta said she is  looking to go into film and TV. Though she said she is fairly certain  she wants pursue the field, she wants to be able to explore her interests.

“You know, again, it comes back to the culture. In India, everyone  is very committed to what they do,” she said. “Of course, I am sure  that I want to do film studies; I want to work in TV shows … but at  the same time there is this back voice saying, 'What if I change my  mind?'”

So far, Gupta has been adjusting well to her new environment.  Though this is the first time she has been away from home for an extended  period of time, she said she is enjoying taking in the names, faces  and sunsets that Geneseo has to offer.

“Usually, when I don't have class, I come two hours before the sun  sets, but I don't mind sitting alone,” Gupta said. “Half of the  time you actually meet people.”

“It's been two weeks [since I moved in], and I haven't had a day  where I feel lonely,” she said. “Everybody is always ready to help  you. I just love the people here.”