International Student Spotlight: Meet Avanthika Bharath

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Four photos of Avanthika Bharath, international student at Rutgers
Wednesday, June 5th

Rutgers University is proud to welcome more than 7,000 international students from around the world to our campuses each year. Rutgers Global’s International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) team supports our international community by providing services and enriching experiences from their arrival to Rutgers to graduation and beyond. Some of our international students choose to become Orientation Leaders (OLs) at our International Student Orientation events, held in the fall and spring. These OLs volunteer their time and energy to ensure that new international students arriving to Rutgers feel welcomed and prepared to start their academic journey at Rutgers. Here is one of our OLs, Avanthika Bharath from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu in India, who will share a bit about her journey to Rutgers along with some of her favorite things.

Why did you choose to come to Rutgers?
I finished my bachelor’s degree in industrial biotechnology in 2018 and I was looking at schools with a good life science program, particularly focusing on environmental research and microbiology in the United States. I applied to a few schools around the country, and finally joined Rutgers due to its excellent research and highly illustrious faculty

What are you studying at Rutgers? 
I started as a master’s student in the Microbial Biology program in 2018. I thoroughly enjoyed my research in the deep-sea microbiology lab, so I transitioned to the PhD program the following year by passing the comprehensive and qualifying examinations.  

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?
My favorite place is the Passion Puddle on the Cook/Douglass campus. It has a beautiful fountain, surrounded by benches, trees, and a few wonderful quotes. Walking around here really helps me feel calm on stressful days. I love it during the autumn with the fall colors and, in the winter, I love the views of the snow-covered grass and the frozen pond. 

What is the thing that surprised you most when you came to Rutgers?
I was primarily surprised by how friendly and supportive everyone was. It is a very nurturing community of people with shared goals of finding friendships and advancing in careers at the same time. That helped me adjust fairly quickly to my new life here. 

What is your favorite restaurant in the area and why?
My favorite place in the area is Thomas Sweets on Easton Avenue. They have the best ice cream flavors and milkshakes in town. It’s the perfect pick-me-up during the exam stress and, of course, to beat the summer heat. 

What do you do when you are not studying? 
I am very involved in the Student Chapter of the American Society of Microbiology here at Rutgers and enjoy going to the fitness classes in the Recreation centers. I also love hiking, biking, and kayaking in the summer. I like cooking and trying new board games with friends. 

Why did you decide to become an Orientation Leader?
Coming into a new country can be scary, especially if you’re on your own. It is my 6th year in Rutgers and, so far, I have helped several friends and acquaintances with their queries and apprehensions about life at Rutgers and in the U.S. in general. I remember how helpful the International Student Orientation was for my friends and me, so I thought I could put my experience to good use by joining the Orientation Leaders and helping incoming students. Additionally, I am looking forward to making new friends on the team. 

What advice would you give to a new international student at Rutgers?
My advice would be to involve yourself in activities and clubs beyond your coursework. Despite the hectic schedule of the semester, make time to meet new people and venture into new interests, which enhances the whole college experience. Rutgers has a lot of diverse opportunities to offer and there are plenty of resources we can make use of.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself working in environmental microbiology as a researcher, either in academia or a start-up research company. I enjoy teaching and mentoring students passionate about science, so I wish to continue doing that in that in some way. 

Learn more about International Student Orientation, coming up on August 26-28. 2024.
Learn more about becoming an Orientation Leader.