“I had heard about MIT when I was in class 7 or 8 when I would read about one or the other pathbreaking research their students or professors were doing in the international pages of the newspapers,” Ayush Sharma says in an interview to Huffington Post .
Ayush, 17, the son of a mechanic in the state public works department was ecstatic as he found his name in the selected students’ list of Massachusetts Institute of Technology i.e. MIT with a full tuition waiver.
The journey from Kanpur to MIT was not a cakewalk but Ayush was quite sure that he never wanted to learn science in a conventional manner.
These dreams, however, were difficult to achieve until he came across a forum called Avanti run by IIT alumni.
“I was introduced to idea of studying abroad at Avanti coaching centre. Mentors helped me in understanding the entire process,” he told NDTV .
They trained him and he crossed the first hurdle by getting through Yale’s Global Scholars Program.
“When I first assessed Ayush for our study abroad program, I was not sure he would be able to cope. His communication skills needed work and there was little precedent of middle-class Indian students qualifying for top US schools,” Avanti’s foreign applications program leader, Taylor Gregoire-Wright told Huffington Post .
“English is one thing that I could not have learnt from anyone. I hardly had any people with whom I could converse with, I thus resorted to speaking to myself in English. I gradually started to improve,” recounts Ayush.
The Kendriya Vidyalaya topper, with hard work and a passion for physics, achieved the near impossible goal he set his sight upon.
“I am one of the three people selected for MIT from India, so I am very happy,” he said.
His mother Manju Sharma proudly exclaimed, “God has blessed us that our child will now study abroad.”
Ayush still needs to raise funds for his travel and other expenses which he plans to do via social media and crowd-sourcing.