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A Minor, In Time: International Student Stays on Course in Winter Session

For the 3,400 international students in Rutgers’s diverse student body, online courses taken during summer and winter terms enable them to be in two places at once.

Hailing from more than 115 countries, international students use online courses to hurdle time and distance barriers to complete required courses, pursue a minor, or chase other academic goals.

Bhagyawati Sanghani is one of those. She’s an international student who took a class even though she traveled back home to India over winter break.

Taking an online class -- remotely from her family’s home – as part of Winter Session at Rutgers University-New Brunswick allowed her to graduate with a minor in Public Health in May 2015. That minor rounded out her degree in Biological Sciences from the School of Environmental & Biological Sciences.

“Winter Session was a good experience because it accelerated my minor program, which I just decided to do in my senior year,” explained Sanghani. Winter Session kept her on her intended schedule and let her “finish everything on time -- and I didn’t have to stay any extra semesters,” she pointed out.

Sanghani said it was a priority to be with her family and friends over the break. “It was a positive experience because I enjoyed my holiday and worked at the same time and did really well in my class.”

Taking online courses requires getting the communications process lined up with the instructor. Sanghani reported: “The course instructor was very informative on what he wanted us to do, although we had guest lecturers every unit or every class we had to cover. But he kept us informed and let us know if we failed to do any assignments or we were lacking something. So the communication was very clear with the instructor.”

Taking just one class in Winter Session had its appeal. “You can definitely spend more time on just one class instead of all the credits you take all together in a regular semester,” said Sanghani. “And you focus more on that one class. It finishes in fewer weeks, and so it’s going to be less of a hurdle than a regular semester -- and doesn’t take as long.”

The time difference was significant between the U.S. and India, she said. But with the class being online “I could finish up all my requirements and enjoy my time with my family.”

“Winter Session is definitely a good experience and I would encourage other students to take it as well. Being abroad or at home, it really doesn’t matter because the class is going to be online,” noted Sanghani.

“You can sit home, relax, enjoy your holiday with your friends and family – but just spend a few hours working on your course and you will get done with a few credits, which will lessen your load in the coming semesters.”


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