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The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Leaving home for a chance at the American Dream: Meet Juhi Ketan Lalka

Juhi Ketan Lalka at the Taj Mahal. Courtesy of Juhi Ketan Lalka
Juhi Ketan Lalka at the Taj Mahal. Courtesy of Juhi Ketan Lalka

Juhi Ketan Lalka strived to live the typical American dream, and since early childhood, she has been doing everything she can to fulfill it. In 2019, Lalka finally got her chance when she came to America to visit a friend in San Francisco.

“That’s when I was even more sure that America is where I want to do my master’s and bring my dream to life,” Lalka said.

She came to America from India after earning a bachelor’s degree in visual communication along with a master’s degree in mass communication. She worked for 11 years, earning a postgraduate in international business. During this time she got married and moved to a new city, but that didn’t crush the drive to live the American Dream.

“I was most excited when I came to know that I was going to New York, but little did I know that Utica was a small city in New York State,” Lalka said. “I was taken aback by seeing the typical laid-back life here at Utica, but the university campus was full of fun and frolic.”

Lalka said even though she was happy to finally be in America, she faced challenges like homesickness and finding proper accommodations.

“I did face some major panic attacks due to living alone and feeling homesick, but I was blessed to have such good friends and faculty who filled up the void,” Lalka said.

Another challenge she faced was finding the proper dietary needs for herself when she came to Utica. 

“I am a vegetarian and I have had a tough time finding vegetarian food at most public places, except for some sweet dishes and snacks,” Lalka said.

She ended up choosing Utica for her master’s program because it offered a hybrid business analytics course. 

“The course being hybrid allows one to concentrate on their studies and at the same time make use of the opportunities available on campus. It makes me manage my time efficiently,” Lalka said.

One of the biggest things her time at Utica has taught her is how to make decisions on her own, she said. She hopes to contribute to the campus community during her stay here and says being hired as a community advisor is a milestone for her.

“I am great with my communication skills, and I work as a Community Advisor at one of the halls at the university,” Lalka said. “This gives me an opportunity to talk to a lot of people and get to know them. This is the best chance I could have had to learn American culture and show off my culture.”

Lalka hopes that her time at Utica will not only give her more education and knowledge but also a chance to make long-lasting friendships and to learn to do business in a more international setting. This will help her set up her own business in a better global manner, she said. She advises students considering studying abroad to take the opportunity.“This is your chance and I urge them to take it up,” Lalka said. “Not everyone is blessed to be granted a visa to the United States, so if you have one, make sure to use it to its optimum. Secondly, the U.S. sets the Western standard for education and lifestyle worldwide, so it’s the best way to grasp it firsthand.”

Lalka plans to return home after she finishes her education.

“Academically I feel my life is going to be a learning experience throughout. I am always going to keep studying something new,” Lalka said. “Personally, I am more than excited to go back home after my education and implement all that I have learned in my new business.”

Lalka’s friend Vernon Dcunha said that her friend is very engaged in class. “I consider her a good friend of mine, and she’s a decent classmate as well,” said Vernon Dcunha, a graduate student and classmate of hers in business analytics. “She’s very passionate in her leadership classes as it’s a topic she enjoys learning.”

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About the Contributor
Charles Buckley,, Features Editor
Class Year: Junior Major: Communication and Media Minors: Creative Writing and Theatre Previous Position: Staff Writer (2020-2021), Clerk (2021-2022), Features Editor (Fall 2023)

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