Student Spotlight: Saif Sarvana
Saif Sarvana chose College of DuPage for many of the same reasons others do -- its strong reputation, affordable cost, small class sizes, great professors, excellent facilities and flexible scheduling.
Now he's the envy of his friends who went from high school to a four-year school.
"The overwhelming majority of my friends and acquaintances who did not attend a community college for their general education courses regret it," he said. "Not only do you save money but the quality of education provided by COD is the same if not better."
Sarvana also took advantage of a program that he might not have found at a different school. Because of COD's long-standing association with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) program, Sarvana spent the 2013-2014 academic year studying and working in Germany. He was one of only 75 students in the U.S. selected from more than 600 applicants for participation in this year-long, federally funded fellowship for study and work in Germany.
“Ever since I was a young child, I’ve had the desire to travel and see the world because of my interests in other nations and cultures,” he said. “Also, with the world globalizing at unprecedented rates, programs like these are very important for students aspiring to go into the field of business.”
While in Germany, Sarvana attended the Mainz University of Applied Sciences and was enrolled in the Business Administration program, with all courses taught in German. Together with Johannes Gutenberg University (established in 1477), Mainz University is one of the largest campuses in Germany and includes a 10 percent international student population.
He then worked an internship at Mittelrheinische Treuhand GmbH, an accounting/auditing/tax advisory/consulting company. During his final seminar in Berlin, he visited the U.S. Embassy and met the U.S. ambassador to Germany. He also was invited to sit in on a parliament session in which they celebrated the 65th anniversary of the Basic Law, which is the German constitution. During the ceremony, he saw Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Sarvana said that the CBYX program afforded him the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream to travel and helped prepare him to enter today’s workforce.
“It's an opportunity that will fit into my major of accounting and finance, where a global understanding of the marketplace will be highly beneficial,” he said.
Sarvana is returning to College of DuPage, where he will finish his associate’s degree before transferring to a four-year school and obtain his bachelor’s degree. He then wants to work in the financial industry while obtaining his MBA and someday own an investment company.
While he selected College of DuPage for the obvious reasons, Sarvana gained far more than he ever expected.
"I met so many people at COD who influenced me positively. They helped me in school and kept me away from the wrong crowd," he said. "I was interning at a bank in Oak Brook, and COD -- being conveniently located in Glen Ellyn and offering a flexible schedule -- allowed me to continue to work there.
"If you decide to go to COD, take advantage of what the school has to offer. Get acquainted with your professors, preferably in your field. For example, I want to go into business so I am staying in touch with my accounting and economics professors. You can benefit from their insight and build professional relationships which will help you in your search for a career.
"You should also find out about opportunities and pay attention to the announcements. It’s been a dream of mine to study abroad but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to. Then I heard about this scholarship and now my dream of not only studying abroad but working abroad will be fulfilled."
2014 College of DuPage