WYOMISSING, Pa. — For Shivansh Bhatt, attending Penn State Berks was not part of the plan. An international student born in India and raised in Dubai, Bhatt had originally applied to University Park to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. But an error with his high school transcripts prevented him from making the application deadline, and the rest, as they say, is history. Bhatt will graduate on Saturday, May 4, from Penn State Berks with dual degrees in business and information sciences and technology.
With the deadline for admissions past, Bhatt was encouraged to consider alternative campus choices and to pursue a 2+2 approach to his education, with a transfer to University Park after his second year. As an international student he wasn’t familiar with the different campuses, but after being offered admission to Penn State Berks and reading positive reviews of the campus, he decided to give it a try.
He said of his first visit to the campus, “It was home. I loved the campus right away.”
As an international student with anxiety and concerns about the transition to a new country and fitting in among his fellow students, the International Student Orientation was very positive experience for Bhatt. “I immediately felt welcome and appreciated; I felt like I was someone from within the Penn State Berks community from the start.”
Bhatt was encouraged to become an intercultural mentor to help other international students make the transition to life on campus. He initially resisted the idea, aware that it would be a potentially uncomfortable role for someone who identifies as an introvert, but allowed himself to be talked into it. After completing the training and assuming the role, he found to his surprise that it came naturally to him and that he enjoyed being in a leadership role. His own experiences as an international student were invaluable to him as a mentor, and he found a new confidence that drove him to seek additional leadership roles, including becoming an orientation leader during Welcome Weekend.
As time for Bhatt’s move to University Park drew closer, a weekend visit to the campus threw an unexpected wrench into his plans. He found that nothing quite compared to the feeling of being at Berks, which had become home to him. The smaller class sizes and friendly, welcoming community were irreplaceable, as well as the potential for on-campus involvement and leadership opportunities. Bhatt decided to stay at Berks, where he was already a “member of the family.”
After deciding to stay, Bhatt doubled down on his involvement. He enrolled in resident assistant training, became a Lion Ambassador, served as vice president and then president of the International Club, a member of the executive board of the Muslim Student Association, and a member of the Berks Technology Club. He also worked with the Office of Diversity and International Programs. He was recognized with several awards for his involvement on campus.
Bhatt also completed two internships during his time at Berks: one with Aflac insurance company in their sales and marketing department and another with Deloitte management consulting company as a technology consultant.
“Penn State Berks has prepared me in every way possible -- from academics to developing interpersonal skills to learning how to work with different groups of people. Basically, the college prepared me for Life 101,” he laughed.
On a more serious note, he stated, “I am very grateful to Penn State Berks for helping me. I was introverted when I arrived and through the international orientation and getting involved on campus, I grew as a person.”
That dedication to serving in campus roles and the lessons he learned from them have certainly paid off—after graduation Bhatt will begin a new job with Amazon as a Cloud engineer with hopes to grow during his time at Amazon and continue to pursue leadership roles.