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Incoming Terps Meetup in Pune, India: Destination UMD

Incoming undergraduate students from Pune, India, share their experiences planning a meetup ahead of their arrival to the University of Maryland.

On April 16 and May 8, over 8,000 miles away from campus in Pune, India, nearly 30 newly admitted master’s students gathered together to celebrate their admission and upcoming departure to the University of Maryland (UMD) this fall term. 

Ashish Salunkhe, pursuing a master’s in information management through the iSchool, co-organized this meetup with other incoming master’s students Aashay Zanpure, Gunjan Suriya, and Siddarth Kulkarni. This international get-together was held alongside other incoming Terp meetups in India, including one on the 25th annual Maryland Day on April 29. 

When asked about their motivations to host this meetup, the organizers offered this collective response: 

“We wanted to provide a platform for students to connect with each other, network, and share their excitement for the upcoming academic journey.” 

Their excitement towards their upcoming arrival is evident and each of the organizers and participants look forward to bringing their own valuable cultural knowledge to the greater campus community.   

Gunjan Suriya, a business analytics master’s student, drew from her familial values when making the choice to study at UMD. 

“As a daughter in a third-generation family, my elders have constantly taught me the importance of independent thought,” said Suriya. 

Additionally, the prestige and professional promise of the Robert H. Smith School of Business made the commitment instinctive for her. 

“The school’s diverse alumni network with strong roots in the financial world, the curriculum offering a blend of quantitative modeling and business analysis techniques, and the practical experience offered through internships and capstone projects have attracted me to the school since the beginning,” said Suriya. 

Similar attitudes are mirrored by the other co-organizers. Siddarth Kulkarni is pursuing a master’s in information systems, also through the Smith School, and is excited by the university’s collaborations with leading institutions including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

“The prospect of collaborating with UMD’s distinguished faculties will provide me with unparalleled opportunities to explore my interests,” said Kulkarni. 

It’s clear that UMD continues to make a name for itself on the world stage, attracting the best and brightest to its red-brick campus, and offering exciting and transformative experiences to all who pass through its halls. 

“UMD’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving field of Information Systems, through its cutting-edge curriculum and interdisciplinary approach, provides me with the tools to turn over a new leaf and transform my passion for technology into a flourishing career,” said Kulkarni. 

Aashay Zanpure, also pursuing a master’s in information systems through the Smith School, shared his excitement for broadening his cultural perspectives, in addition to the appeal of UMD’s robust academic curriculum. 

“I’m excited to be part of a diverse community at the University of Maryland and to learn from a range of cultures…I believe that this exposure to different backgrounds and viewpoints will help me become a more well-rounded individual,” said Zanpure.

Further, Zanpure was attracted to the easy access to D.C. from campus, allowing students to step outside of the classroom for real-world professional experience.  

“The university’s location in the vicinity of the nation’s capital was a huge draw for me. The potential for industrial exposure and networking opportunities in Washington D.C. was immense, and I knew that this would be beneficial for my future career prospects,” said Zanpure. 

For Ashish Salunkhe, when asked about why he selected UMD, a better question it seems, is what doesn’t UMD have to offer? 

“Joining the UMD iSchool is an exciting step for me, as there are so many compelling reasons to choose this institution…UMD has partnerships with several federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which means that I will have access to unique resources, research opportunities, and funding sources,” said Salunkhe.

Whether domestic or international, every UMD student can share in the excitement that comes with arriving on campus for the first time. You never forget how it feels to be a Fearless Terp.

“I’m looking forward to having the time of my life as a Terp, making new friends, broadening my horizons, and just soaking in everything that UMD has to offer!” said Salunkhe.

Are you an incoming international Terp? We want to hear from you! Send us an email to 

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