Sanjhi Gandhi ‘makes magic happen’

International student taking advantage of opportunities at BGSU

By Bob Cunningham

Sanjhi Gandhi was born in India, and her family moved to Kenya when she was 4 years old.

Gandhi’s biggest move, however, came when she decided to attend college in the United States. She chose Bowling Green State University simply because it wasn’t too far from Cincinnati, where some of her relatives lived. 

“My mom didn’t want to send me all alone to a new place and Bowling Green was the closest to family,” Gandhi said. 

Now a junior in the Department of Neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science, Gandhi can’t imagine herself on any other college campus.

“Coming to an entire new country has been a challenge for me, but I have really enjoyed it,” Gandhi said. “When I came to the United States, I was full of mixed emotions and was not as confident and open as I am now. I have learned so many life skills while attending BGSU.”

Gandhi decided the best way to take advantage of her new surroundings in northwest Ohio was to get involved in campus life as much as possible.

And did she ever. 

Gandhi is a student ambassador for International Student Services, representing India and Kenya, and she served as president of the Student Neuroscience Association last year as a sophomore. She also is a member of the India Student Association and hosts several events including the annual Diwali Festival, usually in November.

If that weren’t enough, Gandhi also is a tour guide for the BGSU Office of Admissions — the first international student to serve in that role.

“Being in the tour guide program has taught me a lot about how to interact with different groups of people, and how to communicate effectively,” said Gandhi, who said that in addition to being a neuroscience researcher she also would like to be a motivational speaker some day. “Being the only international student as a tour guide makes me feel like I am part of the Bowling Green community.”

Gandhi said she has come a long way since first arriving on campus.

“The first day I came here, I was lost,” she said. “I had no idea what was going on because the first thing you notice is you don’t see people the same color as you, so you are lost. But language was not much of a problem because Kenya’s first language is English as well, but then they do have a different accent here, so they don’t understand all of your words. I just got involved in a lot of activities and pushed my way through.”

Gandhi said she has made many friends during her time at BGSU and if she were to give advice to other international students it would be: “You have to push out of your comfort zone because that’s where the magic begins. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because that’s the only way you’ll learn. Make the most of your opportunity to learn in a foreign country.”

She also takes her own advice from the tours that she gives potential students.

“One thing I always point out on my tour is that this is a perfectly sized campus — it’s not too big and it’s not too small,” Gandhi said. “When you walk around every day you get to meet somebody new as well as see somebody you already know. You don’t feel lost on campus That’s what I love about Bowling Green. It’s amazing.”

So, is her family glad she picked BGSU?

“They’re very glad the way things have worked out because I feel like I’ve grown more as a person after I’ve come here, and they’ve seen the growth in me,” she said. “They are very glad that I picked BGSU.”