(left) and music
that help share
with the campus
majority is already fluent in
English upon arrival. Many TOP 10 COUNTRIES
Indians are vegetarians Qp ORIGIN
due to beliefs in the Hindu
religion and may struggle International student
to find certain food choices. enrollment in fall 2009
Beef, for example, is not
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eaten by Hindus because China 540
believers consider the cow Vietnam 146
to be sacred. South Korea 117
"I have been a non- Nigeria 101
vegetarian all my life, and ^audia Arabia H
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hence food was not an issue Mexico 68
for me, but I know of a few Pakistan 68
friends who have struggled Canada 64
initially due to the lack of
vegetarian options in restau- f™*j™™ ^ ^^°^
rants and fast food joints.
Indians love home-cooked
food. We use some unique
ingredients in our cuisines. Houston has several Indian grocery stores thanks to the large number of people of Indian
origin staying here and it is easy to find the ingredients in
these stores," said Chitnis.
Many international students do enjoy campus life on UH,
but many also like to keep in touch with their culture and
heritage as a reminder of home.
"I think it is very important for international students to
keep in touch with their culture. The values and traditions
with which they have been brought up is a big part of their
identity, and it is vital for them to respect it," Chitnis said.
Thanks to Houston's immense diversity, it is not difficult for international students to stay in contact with their
heritage. Around 22 percent of Houston's metropolitan
population is foreign-born. The Houston Foreign Consulate
represents 96 countries, ranking third behind New York City
and Los Angeles. Approximately 90 languages are spoken
in Houston, making our city a veritable United Nations to
students who choose their college education at the University of Houston.
"Cricket, a sport similar to baseball is a big part of our
heritage, and it is common to get together to watch the
matches live on television," said Chitnis on how Indian
students stay in touch with their culture. "Big banner Bollywood movies are regularly screened at theaters like AMC.
It is very easy for us to catch up with the new releases.
We also like to visit temples, mosques, cathedrals in and
around Houston once in a while to take a break from the
crazy everyday life. There are several events organized by
other organizations like the India House, HMM etc. wherein Indian artists are invited to perform. We make it a point
to attend these events. In fact, there is a wonderful event
in July, right here on the UH campus by famous Sarod
player Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Aman and Ayan."
"It is very heartwarming to see our non-Indian friends
take part in our celebrations and enjoy the festivities," said
Chitnis. "The diversity on our campus has exposed me to
several different cultures and traditions, and it has made
me appreciate and celebrate the similarities and differences
Chitnis has enjoyed his time in Houston and at UH.
"The last 2 years that I have spent in UH have been the
most wonderful years of my life. If I could rewind my life,
I'm sure I would love to relive these days over and over
again," Chitnis said on his experiences. "Houston is a great
place to live in. Houston may be more commercial, and
not a real tourist attraction, but it's a place I've grown to
love. Late night trips to the Starbucks at Post Oak will be a
fond memory. Camping trips to Hunstsville State Park and
early morning walks at the Memorial park with friends are
etched in my mind. Houston is home now, a place which
will forever remain very dear to me!"
Spring • 137