The video of a Telugu university student from India, presently in the United States, detailing the difficulties she faced in making ends meet has gone viral on social media.
Stating that she was disillusioned with the ‘American dream’, she outlined how many students had to clean toilets and work as babysitters to earn a living.
Stating that she was a B.Tech graduate, she neither revealed her name nor her location, but dropped the names of 2 universities in the video.
“A frustrated US student. I’m that frustrated US student. Your B.Tech is done. You have spent a year doing nothing, sitting at home. You don’t know what to do. Everyone you know is going to America, so you also follow them here,” she says in the video.
“Silicon Valley! NPU!” she remarks, saying that universities like these assist Indian students to get a visa.
“Here, most students dress well and go out in the morning. But where are they going? They head to part-time jobs to do household work, like cleaning toilets, and working as babysitters, bathing and feeding little children,” she said.
Stating that the rent for houses was a minimum of $3,000, she adds, “At least 15 students stay in a flat to overcome this. Every time there is an inspection, everyone has to leave, and only those who signed the lease, four or five people, should be present.”
Stating that she herself was in the same situation when the video was shot, she said that all her possessions were still in the room, and she was waiting for the inspection to end so she could get some food and water.
At the end of the video she urges people to ‘live happily in India’ and not travel to the US for further studies.
As the video went viral, there were many videos uploaded in response to the student’s claims.
The response videos faulted the woman and claimed that this was a common phenomenon, and a different country meant different rules, and different standards of living.
Many also said that she had to be ‘grateful’ for what she had.
“All your life, your parents took care of you and paid the rent. Here, when you suddenly have to work for your rent, it becomes a problem for you? We have to face it and work hard. We have come here to study and work. Not to enjoy, and go back home with a degree,” one of them remarked.
“It depends on your potential. If you continue working hard, then you can get your own house and your own car, and whatever you want,” another one said.
Many also said that rather than joining ‘low-grade’ universities like NPU and Silicon Valley, students should join ‘high-grade’ universities, where things were much better.
The two states of Telangana and Andhra send the highest number of students from India to the US every year.
As of 2014, there were close to 30,000 full-time students from Hyderabad alone, compared to Mumbai’s 17,294 or Delhi’s 8,728.
Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam in Andhra, accounted for another 2,000 students each.
As of November 2016, over 2 lakh Indians were enrolled in American universities and institutes of higher education, accounting for a 14% increase, a report released by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said.
Out of this number, a large chunk was from Andhra and Telangana.
Most Telugu students who pass out of American universities work in the computer and software sector in the US, or return home with their degrees to work in India.