The first time Sushaan visited Penn was anything but pleasant. The night after a snowstorm in 2007, he and his mother drove from their home in Northern New Jersey to rendezvous with his brother, who had spent the night at Penn. Although the trip was twice as long as normal, it was well worth the wait. That day, Sushaan discovered the Huntsman Program and immediately knew it was for him.
Throughout high school, Sushaan participated in different homestay programs in diverse locations — Scotland, Costa Rica, and Spain — that opened his eyes to the cultural nuances of each place. His trip to Costa Rica was particularly meaningful because of his ability to learn about the country on an intimate level from his host family and other ticos. This trip triggered a desire to continue to study Spanish, and the politics and economies of Latin America, something that only the unique nature of the Huntsman Program could provide.
After just a few semesters, Sushaan knows he’s made the right choice. His favorite aspect of the program is the community that transcends hometown, culture and even age. His three current roommates are international students, and many of his closest friends are current freshman, juniors, and seniors. This interclass bonding is best represented by a night last fall when he and six fellow sophomores organized an impromptu dinner and karaoke night with eight freshmen. “The support you receive and bonds that you form within the Program are incredible,” he said. “From seniors who will gladly look over your resume to freshman who are eager to grab coffee with you, I can count on my friends within the program for as long as I live.”
Exploring Diverse Interests
To Sushaan, the Huntsman Program is the perfect intersection of the practical nature of a business degree and the importance of understanding culture. Yet that hasn’t precluded him from pursuing courses outside of the curriculum. Last semester, Sushaan took a course on the principles of human nutrition. He has followed that up with a course entitled the Biology of Food, and is now considering a minor in nutrition. Additionally, he is taking a seminar entitled Iliad in the Time of War, which examines Homer’s famous epic and the modern interpretation of war in video games, like Call of Duty, and movies, like Saving Private Ryan.
Outside the classroom, Sushaan is a Sports Editor for the Daily Pennsylvanian, the independent student-newspaper of Penn. The position has allowed him to cover a range of sporting events, such as the 2011 NCAA Wrestling National Championships, the 2011 Penn Relays and a matchup of national collegiate basketball finalists Duke and Butler. Through his experience Sushaan was able to tour The New York Times building and meet renowned sports journalists Allan Schwarz, Michael Sokolove, and Ken Rosenthal. Additionally, he plays in a local Philadelphia soccer league on the weekends.
Summer Internship in Mexico
The summer after Sushaan’s freshman year, he was fully funded by the Huntsman Program to work at an NGO in Mexico City called Fundación Proacceso. He found the work of the organization, to develop community centers where they teach computer and English classes to low income students and adults, fascinating. His internship entailed two different projects — a creative guideline to develop a charter school and a Social Return on Investment report. The end goal of the SROI, a project that had never been undertaken at the NGO before, was to quantify the social, environmental and financial effects directly related to the organization’s work as a function of every dollar invested in the project.
“Living in Mexico was eye-opening and provided a great opportunity to practice my Spanish in both business and conversational settings,” he said. “From the eclectic cuisine of the Condesa neighborhood to a soccer game between Pumas and Cruz Azul, the city provided a vibrant hub of life, and I owe my entire experience to the Huntsman Program.”