Indian student looking forward to seeing snow

Stephanie Gaytan

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Tony Manuel recently moved to Alabama from Kottayam, India. He is a 24-year-old graduate student in his last year at the University. Manuel is majoring in mechanical engineering, plans on applying to be an official U.S. citizen and hopes to work for Mercedes or Honda upon graduation.

Why did you come to America and choose The University of Alabama?

I came to America this past fall to pursue the end of my graduate program and to study here at The University of Alabama. My older brother came to America and studied here and started his own company. He now lives back in India, but he still comes to the U.S. to visit clients that he has here.

What do you like about campus? What do you not like about campus?

I like campus a lot. There are a lot of very cool and very beautiful plants, flowers and greenery here that are different from what we have in India. I think Alabama should be well known for how pretty everything on campus looks. There isn’t anything I dislike. People here are very lucky to be at the University.

What about the United States is the most different from your home country?

The most different thing from India is the traffic here. In India you drive on the left side of the road and since not a lot of people have cars, it is hectic and people go in and out all over the place. Here, everything is very systematic and it is much easier to drive here than in India. I am hoping to buy a car soon and will start the process of getting my license.

Was it hard to adjust? 

It was hard in the sense that I always had my family by me in India and here I live in an apartment so I have to do everything for myself. I am pretty used to it now though. It did not take very long to figure things out.

What’s the weirdest thing Americans do?

In America, it is acceptable for students to have snacks or drinks in the classrooms as well as cell phones and laptops out. In India, students would get kicked out of the room for any of that.

What is your favorite thing Americans do?

I love how cordial and friendly everyone is. If I need help, I can ask almost anyone and they help me out. Americans are generally very nice, helpful people.

How do you feel about American food?

It is pretty good. My favorite thing to eat here is pizza, but my favorite dish in India is called biryani. It is a mixture of rice and meat and you can get chicken or different kinds of meat with it.

How do you feel about Alabama’s crazy weather?

It is very extreme here. Where I live it is always moderate temperatures. I think the range is like 72 to 85 degrees year round. Alabama is good because I get to see all four seasons here, but I have never seen snow and I really hope I get a chance to see it. I don’t like the extremes though. August and now are bad. I prefer fall and mid-spring.

Do you like football?

Yes, I like it but I don’t understand the rules. I went to two or three games. I played soccer and a lot of cricket in India so that is what I’m used to. The games are very big and fun here. It is a cool experience.

Source: Tony Manuel 205-764-8010