Campus living provides home away from home for international student

Het Adhvaryu, a senior biology major and chemistry minor, is a long way from his native India, but over the past three years, UA Little Rock has become his second home. For the past three years, he has been an International Student Services Ambassador, and he is president of the International Club, a student organization for international students.  

As a senior, he’s now focused on finishing his final year with a high GPA and getting his research published, both of which he needs for admission into a Ph.D. program.

Having attended an international boarding school in India for much of his childhood, Adhvaryu was already fluent in English, Hindi, Gujarati and several other regional dialects spoken in India. The most difficult aspect of being an international student, he said, was understanding the culture.

“I’ve tried to embrace the culture here and blend it with what I grew up with,” he said.

Living on campus helped him meet other students. He also participates in International Friendship Outreach, a group that that meets regularly to have fun while practicing their English. The group has taken hiking and canoeing trips, enjoyed barbecues, and experienced Thanksgiving dinner with local families.

“It is good for widening your social circle and meeting people,” he said.

Adhvaryu wanted to attend college in the U.S., and he has family in Arkansas. After researching the state’s colleges and universities, he chose UA Little Rock.

The No. 1 selling point: the quality of the science faculty. Adhvaryu, who wants to be a researcher and immunologist, knew he wanted to be involved in research as soon as possible.

“When you are a science major, what matters most are the people you work with,” he said.

Dr. Nawab Ali, associate professor of biology, soon became his mentor.

“When I came here, my first semester was a bit slow trying to figure things out and settling in,” he said. “By second semester, I went to all my biology professors in the department and showed them what I had done in high school. I asked if I could work in the lab, and Dr. Ali said, ‘Of course, you can work in my lab.’”

Adhvaryu has worked on projects related to cellular apoptosis.  He’s also figured out that his research interests lie primarily in the field of immunology.

“That is the area where I have skills and knowledge through which I can most efficiently help the world and make a difference,” he said.

Top right photo: Het Adhvaryu, a biology major and chemistry minor, is involved in research on campus and plans to work in the field of immunology.

Above left: Het Adhvaryu, an international student from India, serves as president of the International Club and works to help other international students feel at home. Photos by Benjamin Krain 

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