Seniors fly off to international schools


Upon graduation, many former high schoolers move away from home.  But to move to a different country? That’s another giant step forward.

Six students out of Cal’s 2015 graduating class will undertake this major adjustment and continue their studies abroad.

Senior Shalaka Phadnis will study law at the University of Oxford this fall, while senior Fiona Klassen plans to attend Global College Long Island University (LIU Global) to major in global studies after taking a gap year.

With LIU Global, Klassen will study in places such as South America and Europe.

Seniors Vincent Egawa and Lavleen Khangura will be attending Osaka University in Japan and Aureus University in Canada, respectively.

Seniors Rameesha Fareed and Mitchell Claussen are also planning to study abroad.

Fareed will apply to medical schools in Pakistan following graduation, and Claussen will spend 10 months in China learning the language.

All are excited to experience not only the different cultures abroad, but also the unique aspects of their universities.

For Phadnis, one of the advantages of studying in the United Kingdom is the shortened length of study.

“For my major, law here takes seven years, but it takes three years [in the UK],” said Phadnis.

Phadnis’s friend originally recommended the school during her application process, and though extensive research was required to figure out how to transfer the degree to the United States, Phadnis decided to apply.

Phadnis believes that Oxford’s college system and style of teaching are the most unique aspects of the university.

“You can’t hide,” said Phadnis. “It’s a lot more intimate and intense.”

But outside of its education, Oxford does offer many student clubs and societies.

Phadnis has begun the interview process with its Model United Nations, and hopes to participate in TEDx, the organization that screens TED Talks, as well.

In her free time, Phadnis would also like to see Stonehenge, Scotland, and other areas within the northern part of the UK.

She has already met several of her classmates, who are mostly native to the UK, with only 30 percent being from abroad.

For Phadnis, the biggest challenge will most likely be the extremely small class sizes, but Phadnis is excited to study law under this intense environment.

“[Law is] something I’ve wanted to do my whole life,” said Phadnis, a member of Cal’s mock trial team the past three years. “My mom’s a lawyer, her dad was a lawyer…there’s a big line of lawyers [in my family].”

Klassen has also known for a while her post-graduation plans.

“I’ve known since early middle school that [LIU Global] is where I wanted to go,” said Klassen.  “It was the only place I applied.”

During the course of the year, students pursuing LIU Global’s Bachelor of Arts in global studies have the unique opportunity to fully immerse themselves in studies and internships while living in at least eight different countries of the world.

“[The curriculum] incorporates study, cultures, politics, language, and religion,” said Klassen. “For me, it’s a really cool way to learn about the world while getting an education, just getting to see all the different walks in life and lives that are different from here in San Ramon.”

By the time she receives her degree, she will have studied in about 15 different countries.

Classroom instruction will be held in LIU Global centers situated in each country.  For the few countries where LIU Global does not have its own facility, Klassen and her classmates will likely study in a borrowed building of another university.

“The class size is great,” said Klassen. “There are only 20 to 30 kids in a class, so there is more in-depth learning.”

With LIU Global’s emphasis on learning through experience, Klassen looks forward to volunteer work and internships, especially in places where she will be staying for a longer amount of time.

Of course, Klassen understands there will be more to her time abroad than her studies.

“I’m really interested in food and different cuisines,” she said.  “For me, it’s going to be like, ‘Let’s go try this restaurant!’”

Like Klassen, Khangura will attend a college next fall that will provide her the opportunity to study in more than one country.

Khangura plans to partake in the five-year medical program, where she will spend a year in Canada, and the next four in Aruba, an island situated in the Caribbean.

After her education, she will take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) test, an exam that grants a license to practice in the US.

“[The program] is pretty intense, but the ratio of students to teachers is two-to-one,” said Khangura.  “[Teachers] even know where you live.  It’s so intact.”

Khangura and her family found this unique program through an advertisement broadcasted on television, and her mother decided to call the college.

Khangura is excited for the next few years.

“I want to explore myself,” said Khangura.  “By the time I come back, I feel like I’ll be a totally different person.”

Egawa, also eager for studying abroad, will pursue a combined major in biology and chemistry at Osaka University.

“I chose the school because it’s in Japan,” said Egawa.  “I love Japan. I really want to learn the culture and heritage there.  It’s going to be radically different from the U.S.”

Egawa will be studying at Osaka University’s international school and will speaking mostly English.

But he is proficiently skilled in the Japanese language already, as he speaks Japanese with his mother and attended Japanese school from first to seventh grade.

Egawa said school in Japan will be different because it is more academically oriented, and that there won’t be as great an emphasis on sports. Egawa looks forward to joining the university’s clubs, especially ones associated with the theater.

He has met some of the university’s professors, and he has set defined goals for his future.

“Biology will keep me going,” said Egawa.  “I want to design medical implants… how to detect diseases, and learn how to fix stuff.”

Another exciting aspect of his time ahead is the cuisine.

“Osaka is known for its food,” said Egawa.  “So I’m excited to try the food, such as okonomiyaki and takoyaki.”

Although Fareed is unsure of which college she will be attending, she knows she will begin medical school in Pakistan.

She has yet to apply to any Pakistani college, however, as the colleges require her final transcript.

“I’m trying to take a shorter route there,” said Fareed.

In Pakistan, five years of schooling are required, and then one extra year of training.

“It’ll be tough, but I’ve done a lot of harder things,” said Fareed, who intends to study physics and chemistry over the summer.

Another reason Fareed wants to study abroad is the fact that she has family there.  In addition, she was born there and loves the country.

“It’s very beautiful,” said Fareed.  “There are a lot of fun places that I’ve never seen.  It’s not the way people think it is.”

Claussen will go to an international high school in China for 10 months, where he will be entirely immersed in the Chinese language and culture.

He has taken Chinese classes for seven years already, and he plans to major in International Relations when he returns to the States.

Claussen won a state scholarship that gives him a full ride for the entire program