The Influence of Adventure

My name is Rushil Ramprasad and I am a third-year honors student at the University of Pittsburgh. Academically, at Pitt, I have most recently taken classes in both the College of Business Administration and the School of Arts & Sciences due to my exposure and interests in chemistry and finance. As a finance major and chemistry minor, this interdisciplinary track has allowed me to further explore my passions and apply what I have learned in the classroom to a future career path at the crossroads of both disciplines. Tapping into my interdisciplinary coursework and a particular interest in financing initiatives for sustainability innovation through chemistry, I will be continuing my internship experience next summer with KeyBanc Capital Markets as an Investment Banking Summer Analyst within their Utilities, Power, and Renewable Energy group.

My professional aspirations tie directly into the global program I selected to participate in. At The London School of Economics and Political Science, I am studying within the Department of Finance while also having the opportunity to take a wide range of other courses in management, philosophy, statistics, and economics.

With the opportunity to study at this prestigious institution not only do I see the value it brings academically and professionally but also culturally as I walk, talk, and learn with my foreign classmates. Personally, I hope to understand the melting pot of cultures London and its universities are home to. I look forward to collaborating and learning the perspectives of my international peers on various projects in the classroom and socializing with them and forming new bonds that I never thought would be possible, outside of campus. 

Academically, I look forward to learning from LSE’s world-renowned professors in their field. From finance to economics and management, I chose this institution not only for its professors but for what the institution stands for and is recognized around the world. The challenging curriculum and prestigious reputation the LSE carries around the world, I hope, will make me a better banker in the field of sustainability financing and boost my professional career. If anything, this opportunity will give me the chance to make connections, both personal and professional, I never thought would be possible with my professors, my peers, and the locals of London. Hopefully, not only making me a better student but also an overall better individual which I can bring back and share with my peers at Pitt.

With that said, there are obviously many differences between Pitt and LSE, but surprisingly enough, there are similarities as well. Starting with the similarities I have noticed, so far, comes in the form of diversity at LSE. Both LSE and Pitt share a very diverse classroom with people coming from all around the country and the world. This has led to many interesting class discussions with starkly contrasting perspectives. Furthermore, I’ve found that both institutions have fostered a small college community feel in a very large city. LSE only takes up about two blocks of a densely-packed downtown London. I find this is very similar to the nestled Oakland campus Pitt has built its foundation on. However, with the number of similarities comes an even larger amount of differences. With LSE’s global reach, I’ve had the honor of joining talks with some of the world’s most influential minds and leaders. These are opportunities LSE is able to capitalize on based on its geographical location and reputation, situated in a financial hub of the world, but, nevertheless, this opportunity has broadened the access I’ve had to leaders in their respective fields. Furthermore, of course, located in the center of London has given me an unexpected, yet exciting opportunity to go on walks to famous landmarks between lunch breaks and after class. This is something I didn’t think would be possible coming to this institution, however, as a pleasant surprise, I continue to take advantage of this and will definitely miss it when returning to Pitt’s campus.

Rosebery Hall, where I live, is one of several student accommodations LSE provides for its undergrads; however, it is one of few halls that are exclusively dedicated to LSE students. Other halls are shared between different universities in London such as University College London, Kings College London, etc. but this key feature is what differentiates my hall and largely why I enjoy calling this place my home during my time in London.

This year, I opted to get a single dorm where I do not share my accommodation with another student. That said, I do share a communal bathroom with about 13 other people on my floor along with a communal kitchen. Furthermore, our entire residence hall shares a recreation space and dining hall for occupants to interact and relax.

Now, about 5 weeks in, I’ve made some great friends at LSE and most of them come from the same floor that I live on! Some are other students in the General Course study abroad program while others are regular, three-year students at the university. Regardless, we have bonded over our similar interests and intellectual curiosities, spending time together having philosophical discussions and laughing in the dining hall, walking on and around campus, or, sometimes, just going out to grab a drink at the pub. Although I am only here for the year, I was pleasantly surprised to find that LSE and its students welcome study abroad students with open arms. Although it seemed hard at first, I quickly found friends I spend my free time with and have as a support system, just like a Pitt.

Now, this challenge of making new friends in a new environment, acclimating oneself to a new city, its people, and culture all are growing experiences that are expected when studying abroad. However, one concept I’ve found that has helped me, particularly in the first few weeks of living in Rosebery Hall, is that everything comes in its due time. Of course, being open to new conversations and curious as to where the next discussion will take you are key to establishing a great network of people and friends, but I found that taking it slow and going through the process with patience is just as key. A new environment can be overwhelming but by taking small breaks along the adventurous process, I began to value every interaction I had when I stepped outside and was able to better reflect on these interactions. This combination of openness and truly valuing every interaction I’ve had not only helped me quickly settle into London but were key in helping me find my core group of friends here.

Finally, if there is one last thing I will say about Rosebery Hall, for the time being, is that it is relatively far from campus. Walking to campus from the hall takes about 25 minutes, or approximately one mile, which doesn’t help after putting in a long night of studying coupled with an early morning class. But within this challenge, there is a silver lining. Rosebery Hall is situated in, what I believe, is one of the most beautiful parts of the city. With a short walk you find yourself back in the bustling traffic and normalcy of a large city; however, around Rosebery is a quiet, neighborhood environment. Next to the hall, you will find a small primary school and on the other side of the hall, is a market filled with local restaurants, bakeries, and a small park. The main street, Rosebery Avenue, is lined with large trees creating a great walking environment filled with families and other kind locals. This environment is what makes the long walk worth it. I often find myself looking, trying to spot new shops or buildings I didn’t observe before, and I always try, if I’m running early, to take a new detour/route to campus that I haven’t before. That way I’m able to explore new parts of the city one walk at a time, balancing my time between school and experiencing the city which, I guess is one of the many perks of where I call home here in London.