July 16, 2019

Paying it forward

Sudo Choudhury discovers Midwest hospitality, passes it along through summer internship

Sudo Choudhury remembers the crisp September day he arrived at UW-Superior like it was yesterday. With much persistence, he had convinced his father that leaving his home in Mumbai, India, to attend college in the United States was a good idea, and summoned his courage to begin the long journey to a place he had only seen on the internet — Superior, Wisconsin.

“Everything was going fine until my final connecting flight from Minneapolis to Duluth was cancelled due to bad weather,” he said. “I had no idea what to do. I was told I could take a shuttle, but I literally had no idea what a shuttle even was.”

That’s when Sudo had his first taste of Midwestern hospitality. A young military man sitting nearby noticed Sudo’s distress and asked if there was anything he could do to help.

“I told him I was trying to get to Duluth, but I couldn’t even pronounce the name of the city. It came out like Deleth. He said, ‘Oh, you mean Duluth!’ He told me he was going there, too, and could help. He stayed in the airport for hours with me while I waited for my luggage, and then rode the shuttle with me. He and his girlfriend even gave me a ride from Duluth to Superior, bought me dinner, and made sure I got safely into my residence hall. When I asked how I could repay him, he said, ‘Just study hard and earn your degree. That’s all.’”

Sudo said that encounter was a foreshadowing of what his experience at UWS has been like. “I’ve made more friends here in two years than I did in my whole life in India,” he said.

Paying it forward

The truth is, Sudo has a knack for hospitality, himself, and he has put that trait to good use helping others. Last year he served as a resident assistant, which recently led to a unique and prestigious summer internship opportunity. He is working as a residence life assistant at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth at Haverford College in Pennsyvlania, a nonprofit dedicated to developing the talents of academically advanced pre-college students from around the world. These students comprise the most promising minds of the next generation.

Sudo with students at Johns Hopkins summer program

“I got an email inviting me to apply and I thought, ‘Why not?’” he said. “I was selected for an interview, which was the most difficult interview I’ve ever had. It was two hours long and it was all situation-based questions. I would give an answer and they’d instantly tell me if what I said was right or wrong.”

Evidently, Sudo answered the questions to their satisfaction as he was selected to work with students. His role is to ensure they are taken care of during their time there and that they are having fun and are mentally challenged during ‘down time.’

“Part of my job is to provide activities that break their social barriers to help them learn important life skills,” said Sudo. “That’s something I’ve experienced firsthand, as well.”

“I’m looking forward to the experience with one of the most prestigious universities in the world,” said Sudo. “The Haverford campus and surrounding community is beautiful, and I’ll get to explore the area. I know the experience will also help me in my duties as an R.A. at UWS.”

Building experience, resume

The Johns Hopkins internship will undoubtedly benefit Sudo, who is a business management major with mathematics minor, in many ways, and will help him build his resume as he works toward his dream of someday working for Google. Sudo said he also anticipates the experience will be valuable when he assumes his newly elected role as Student Government Association president this fall.

“I’m hoping to start a program in the UWS residence halls to make it easier for students to pass along unneeded or unwanted items to incoming students who can use them,” he said. “I also want to help make the UWS campus more sustainable by encouraging the use of reusable containers and silverware.”

UW-Superior takes pride in having the second highest percentage of international students in the UW System. The small, supportive environment with challenging academic and research opportunities commonly associated with much larger universities makes UW-Superior a great choice for many international students.

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