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UKIC / International Student Scholar Services / The journey of hard work: Global Wildcat makes her way to campus

The journey of hard work: Global Wildcat makes her way to campus

Friday, June 25, 2021 | By Facundo Luque

Sanjana Dhayalan is from Coimbatore, India and she found herself in a challenging situation while she was having her virtual semester: the time zone difference of 10.5 hours. It was her motivation, hard work and support from her family, faculty, peers and friends that helped her be part of the Wildcat family.

Dhayalan is an undergraduate student of physiology who participated in the Global Wildcats program, an online program that was created by UK International Center in order to allow international students, who were slated to come to the University of Kentucky campus in Fall 2020, to begin their academic journey from their home countries. As well as other students, Dhayalan finally made their way to campus in late January.

“When I was told that I was not going to travel to U.S., I was really sad,” Dhayalan said. “But the university offered the program Global Wildcats. I would say I am really fortunate for that. I have other friends who attend other universities and they couldn’t do the same.” 

However, having to attend the first semester online seemed challenging due to the big-time difference, which made her usually finishing classes at 2:00 a.m. 

“My schedule was tightly packed for the whole day,” Dhayalan said. “I would get up in the morning and sit in my room and start the work for the day.  Then, I would spend half of the night attending classes and finishing up my work.” 

Sitting for exams was also not easy due to the difference she went through. Besides, she was not always able to get answers as quickly as other students. Nevertheless, faculty were very accommodating to help adapt the time of her exams so she could sit for them – something she found unusual. “My exams timing was not so comfortable for me. I was lucky to have professors who agreed to adapt them to my local time,” she said. 

Staying positive during the pandemic is what she considered the key to go on. “Making it to campus was the motivation for all of us,” she added.

Through the different classes she took, Dhayalan said she was fascinated with the UK 101 class, which is designed to guide students in transition to university life, build a strong foundation of academic success and embrace educational opportunities.  

“I always waited for Thursdays just to attend Ms. Karen Slaymaker's class as it was always fun and encouraging,” she said. “We used to talk about how each of us was doing each week and she would give us advice. It was a good way to connect with other Global Wildcats and hear from their experiences and how they were handling things in the pandemic.”. 

“I was fortunate to get to know Sanjana while she was beginning her UK journey as a Global Wildcat in India.  I so appreciate her positive attitude and incredible work ethic during such challenging times.  Sanjana never complained about taking her classes day and night because of the 11.5 hour time difference.  It was wonderful to meet Sanjana and her mother when they first arrived on campus on windy day in January,” Ms. Karen Slaymake said about Dhayalan.

Dhayalan said that the program gave her an opportunity to not only connect with the students from the other countries, but also with the U.S. students at UK.

“We were kept informed about all the activities that were going on campus and had the opportunity to attend them through virtual sessions,” she added. 

After her continuous hard work and commitment to the program, Dhayalan has finally made her way to the campus in late January, where she was able to meet her fellow Global Wildcats coming from across the globe. 

“The first time I went to campus to get my student ID, I was really amazed to see the campus the first time, in real life,” Dhayalan said. “If I hadn’t had the motivation to come to UK, I wouldn’t have been here experiencing all of this.”

Dhayalan said she was really happy to see her my friends in person and people she got to know virtually. 

“I believe I am really lucky to have experienced this unique program,” she added.   

For more information about the UKIC’s Global Wildcats online program visit