People of UCA: Anish Gilani

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It is hard to imagine moving 8,000 miles away from home in order to go to school.

Well, that is exactly what many University of Central Arkansas students like computer science student Anish Gilani are doing.

Not even 21 years old, Gilani is sitting in class this morning on the opposite side of the globe from home.

His journey to UCA began in April 2014. In India, college is treated not as a separate education but merely a continuation of school from the 11th grade, much as we go from elementary to middle school and high school.

At a young age, Gilani discovered a passion for computers. When he got introduced to coding in an elementary class, he decided to pursue a career in computer software.

In 11th grade, Gilani found himself at a major crossroads in his life. He had to make a decision: stay in India with his family, or go to the United States where he could afford an education.

Choosing the latter he began taking classes to prepare for the SAT and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). For him to apply for school in the United States had to take and pass the exams.

In order to take the courses to prepare for the tests he rode a bus from his hometown of Nanded almost 180 miles to neighboring town Hyderabad, where he shared a room with three others during the three months it took to complete his courses.

Gilani has family in Memphis who met him at the airport when he arrived in the United States.

Gilani has a cousin who lives in Russellville. Speaking to the cousin brought him to Arkansas where he applied at UCA and is now studying computer science and is an RA in Conway Hall.

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