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Samriddhi Jaichand Explores A New Country, Returns With New Perspectives

old castle-like structure at dusk

By Mary Giuffrida

Samriddhi Jaichand knew from the beginning of her time at the Wilson College of Textiles that she wanted to study abroad. As an international student she is no stranger to exploring new places, but pursuing her college degree in a new country only made her interest in travel stronger. 

“I wanted to explore and see how studying in other places would feel,” Jaichand says.

As a junior polymer and color chemistry student it was important for her to find a university that allowed her to continue studying within her specific major. However, when deciding on where she wanted to travel for her study abroad, Jaichand focused more on finding a location that spoke to her.

“I knew I wanted to go somewhere in the U.K.,“ she says. “When I looked for universities that offered polymer and color chemistry, The University of Leeds was one of the options and it just seemed like a really nice place.” 

Studying at the university gave Jaichand the opportunity to push herself in new ways and to learn not only from the classes she took, but also from the diverse group of people she interacted with everyday. 

“I ended up in an international dorm so I’ve been able to meet people from all over the world,” Jaichand says. “It’s really nice to see how everyone has their own way of thinking and culture.” 

three students eat dinner at restaurant

She took those new ways of thinking and incorporated them into her studies, exploring topics and ideas she had never encountered before. 

“My favorite class has been my philosophy class. I’m a science major, so it would make sense if my favorite subject was chemistry, but philosophy is really nice because it’s all about what you think and there’s no right or wrong answer,” Jaichand explains.

Jaichand found new connections in familiar subjects as well. While taking biology and chemistry she explored connections to her coursework at the Wilson College, gaining new knowledge and experience to bring back to Raleigh in the fall. 

“I was learning microbiology, and we learned about this research that involves using yeast to produce dyes,” she says. “I also recently wrote an essay about living cationic polymerization and its applications, so it’s all very relevant to what we learn at NC State.”

The exploration continued beyond the classroom. Jaichand spent her time getting to know new cities like London and creating memories she will never forget. One of her favorite days was spent lounging with cats at one of Leeds’ cat cafes, a coffee shop where she enjoyed her drink alongside friendly felines in search of homes. 

All these experiences taught her valuable lessons she says she will take with her as she returns to the U.S. and throughout her life. 

“I learned how to get around by myself,” she explains. “You have to rely on yourself a lot more, so I learned how to be more independent.” 

For Jaichand the value of a semester abroad is immeasurable, and she encourages other students at the college to pursue spending time abroad. 

“It’s a really valuable experience,” she says. “You get to learn differently and find yourself adapting to new situations. You feel more in control when you have these experiences and you think, ‘Yeah I can take on anything.’”