Sahana Kamalesh, University of Virginia (USA)

About School

The university is located in Charlottesville , about 3 hours down Washington D.C. and near the east coast. When you are on campus, you will hear many different lingo used. Instead of “Campus”, we called “Grounds”. Similar to here, we call 1st years, 2nd years or 3rd years instead of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.


The classes are similar to the business school in NUS. We have a lot of participation and group projects. However, in our school you will only apply for business school in the 2nd year. In the 1st year, you will take your preferred modules and six per-requisite modules. In the 2nd year, at the end of spring semester, you will get to apply for business school for 3rd and 4th year. There are five different concentration in my school – management, finance, marketing, accounting or IT. You can take up to 2 specialisations. For myself, I’m thinking of taking up finance and IT. Our school also provide tracks – digital analytics, real estate, quantitative finance and global commerce. These tracks are taken after you select your specialisation. For example, you can take finance and IT with a track in global commerce.

Instead of having separate classes like NUS, we have the Integrated Core Experience (ICE) system We have 3 main classes for your modules and they are all integrated. So, instead of you moving classrooms, your teachers will be moving around. The classes are conducted in a seminar style format. You will have the same classes with 50 students and then you will be further assigned to groups of 5 to do projects. Also, our classes are held from Monday to Thursday, from 9am to 12.15 pm. Hence, there is not much variation in our timetable like here.

There are many different business clubs in our school like the AK Psi which is a business fraternity. During Fall there are a lot of companies that hold info sessions and recruitment drives. Our school also have a separate career fair and career centre. There are other clubs as well, including investment clubs. There is one that is called Smart Women Security, an investment club that focus on women and help them in finance.

School Activities

Personally, I am more involve in the university clubs instead of the business clubs. I am in this club called GlobeMed, which is a medical club where you get to go overseas to help people, like in Cambodia. I really like public health, so I got to learn many new things through this club. There is another club that I’ve joined and enjoy, called VISA, where I get to talk to international students, have lunch with them and help them in English.  Of course, there are other clubs that you can join as well.

I stay in Washington DC, but then I don’t commute so I stay in an apartment near school. The student apartment has very limited spaces. After Year 1, many of us do not stay in student house. The fees are very expensive though. For student apartment, you have to pay 700 USD a month. Since I stay in an apartment outside with my friends, I pay about 540 USD a month. I get a much bigger room, my own bathroom, kitchen, which is much cheaper. There are a couple of housing for international students, which make things much easier. However, staying outside is a very normal thing. Many students sublet their rooms when they go for their exchange program, hence, it is easy to find short-term housing there.


About USA

Well, I am from the east coast. The east coast and West coast have very different vibes. The west coast is very relaxed, you take your time with things while the east is very busy, on the dot and people lead a very active lifestyle. The west coast has a lot of start-ups and very entrepreneurial while the east coast have loads of financial hubs.


For Holidays, we only get breaks for Christmas, fall breaks, thanksgiving break and winter break. Thanks giving break is in November. As thanks giving is on a Thursday, you will have classes till Tuesday. Hence, you will have a break from Wednesday till Sunday. Fall break is a month before Thanksgiving, in October. For that month, it is like reading days, where there are mid-terms exams then. You will get Monday and Tuesday off to study. Winter break begins on the 17 or 18 December when exams end, and school starts again on the 17 January. We also have spring and summer break as well.


The variety of food choices depends on where you’re at. I stay in the suburban areas of Washington DC, so it is quite populated. It is a very diverse place, where you get pretty much everything. In Charlottesville, however, its harder to get food there. There are a lot of salad places there.

When you’re here, you have to try Chipotle. Its good and you get a lot of good food. Its not very unhealthy. Its fast food but not like Macdonald’s. You should try all the fried chicken places like Popeyes or Bojangles there. Popeyes are very delicious back home. Specifically, in UVA, there is this must-try place called Roots, where you get to make your own salad.

Places to go

You should go to DC to walk around. It is a beautiful town. You can visit the museums there. Half of them are free. You can also to New York, LA San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Georgia Boston and Pennsylvania. They are very beautiful places. You can go to parts of Florida to visit Disney World or Universal Studios. Otherwise you can got to Miami for the beach vibes. There are a bunch of beaches near the east coast like South Carolina, North Carolina or Virginia. Each state will have their own section of beaches.

Near UVA, you can go to this place called Cater’s Mountain, especially in Fall. It is an apple orchard, which is about 20 minutes away. You get to pick apples and watch the sunset. They have a sunset series, like on Thursday, there will be music playing while you watch the sunset. There is also a tubing lake near James River, which is an hour drive away. You can float down the river which is really nice and fun. There is also this place called Downtown, where you can take the city trolley (similar to bus). Over there is a strip of shops which has good food places like citizen burger. There is an Ice skating ring at the end and a concert venue.

There is another place where students usually go called the Corner, which is located right behind the University. It is a walk-able distance from school. That is where you get you eat bagels, sandwiches and other breakfast options. It is very popular. Roots is also located there. It is a main hub for students, hence there will be promotions like $3 burger for students. There is also a nice study area that you can study in.


Public transportation is not very friendly there, especially the bus system. If you travel around, in the city, like New York where the subway system is good or in DC where the metro system is good. If you go to a more rural place, its harder to travel around. In school there is a bus system like in NUS. But overall, public transport is quite hard to use, so many of us either cab or UBER. I have a car, so I drive around a lot.

Another surprising thing between our schools, is that the buses her in University do not go late. In UVA the buses operate till about 2AM on weekends and 12 AM on weekdays. If you study pass these timings, you can call this service called Safe Ride. You can call or SMS them to reserve a ride home and off-duty police officers will accompany you back home. Hence, it is very convenient.


NUS Bizad Club
NUS Bizad Club

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