My name is Ashit Sanghvi from Mumbai, India. Currently living in Arlington, Texas. I completed my Masters in Bioengineering and currently doing my PhD in Bioengineering from University of Texas at Arlington. I would like share some of my experience being a jain at United States after coming here.
I came to United States on August 2010. It was just a month before paryushan. This was not the first time that I was gonna follow paryushan for alone. But it was hard for the first year. This was the first time when I didn’t follow the Samvatsari pratikraman. As I didn’t know that there is a Derasar in the Dallas city. But later with time moving forward came to know that there is a Derasar at Dallas. It was kinda too far to travel from my place in Arlington as we don’t have proper public transport to travel along. So would rent a car once a month and go to Derasar. This is how I started to meet people following Jainism here in US. I started following paryushan every year. It was my third paryushan here is US. I decided to 8 Upvaas. But had missed out on the starting date. So had started a day late. But I was able to complete all the 8 upvaas with some help from my room mates. At Jain Society of North Texas, they organize parnas for tapavi but as I was a day late someone from JSNT took me at his place made me feel comfortable for the last upvass and helped me break the fast at their own place. The funny and interesting thing about this event in my life is that how I met this family and how that changed my life to follow the JSNT. My mom was worried about how would I do parna alone as I was a day late. He just asked one of my cousin to look up on the internet to find or search something about JSNT. He was surfing thru the JSNT website and came across an everything for my parna. With this I met many people from JSNT and I started indulging myself into helping them whenever needed.
It was next year’s paryushan. JSNT was celebrating Mahavir Jayanti I had some students with me from UTA who were jains and wanted to visit Derasar with me to celebrate it. I met many students from some other universities such as University of Texas at Dallas, Southern Methodist University. They all were interested in attending all the events organized by JSNT. This is how we formed a large group of students who have come here in US for their higher studies. So to bring students from all the universities to Derasar to attend the events JSNT started sponsoring for the travel. It was Swamivatsalya for that same year. There like around 40 students from all the three universities who wanted to attend the event. So we I made arrangements to rent out a 20 seater bus and take all the students from UTA to Derasar.
The next event was the Diwali event. This was a huge breakthrough. Derasar had helped us renting out a Limousine to bring students from UTA to JSNT facility to celebrate Diwali. After this JSNT decided to sponsor every month to bring students from UTA to Derasar.
For the next few months this went on. Later new students came in the number of jain students started to increase. They all wanted to take part in the activities that were organized by JSNT. So JSNT wanted to also help these students back out. So they decided to help students out in helping them getting jobs. So we decided to start some workshops where students get help in writing their resumes. We organized a resume critic workshop on the day when JSNT celebrated Mahavir Janma Kalynak. Around 60 students participated for the workshop. We collected all the resumes of the students and critic those resumes as in how they can improve the resume. We presented some help points in how to make better resume. Also some very respected professional who own their company and who are at respectable positions in some companies came and shared their experience and talked about some topics on how they can help the students.
As more number of students started coming in the limousine was not able to accommodate all the interested students willing to come to Derasar. So we started renting out 60 seater bus to accommodate everyone and bring the students to the various events organized by JSNT.
I went to India after five years in December 2015. When I returned I was interested in applying for the regional coordinator for the southwest region for Young Jain Professionals. This was a great opportunity for me to help the students out by joining this organization. So I applied for the position and interviewed by the Co-Chairs of YJP. They were impressed with my work and events that we organized at JSNT for helping out students and I was appointed for the position.
So next lately we again organized a workshop for Resume Critic as new students had come in. This event was sponsored by JSNT and YJP. There were around 65 students from all the three universities who participated for this workshop. This time we asked for reviews from the students who participated for this event.
So from the reviews from the organized workshop students now wanted a one on one interaction with the professionals so that they can sit and talk to them one on one and help them critic their resume. So accordingly we planned our next workshop. In this workshop we planned in such a way that, we had assembled special desks for a particular major suck as Telecommunication Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, etc. Professionals from each majors were seated and students were allowed to talk to them one on one ask questions and get help. There were again around 40 students who participated in this workshop. This workshop was again sponsored by JSNT and YJP. This time again we took reviews from the participants and we got very good reviews.
By Ashit Sanghvi