Aliens with Visas

The Internal Journey of Immigrants

Multi media platform about student legal immigrant journey in America. Blogs, interviews, perspectives from students, professionals and lawyers. 


In this episode, we examine factors that motivate moving abroad for higher study through a look at Kulanandini Mahanta a.k.a Kula's journey. Hers is one that involved pre medical courses, Computer Information Systems, a Bachelors in Business Administration & an attempt in Marketing along the way to a career in cinematography.

Narrated & Produced by Sandhya Ramachandran
Mixed & Mastered by Navneeth Narasimhan
Music Credits: Flying Pea v.1 by Daddy Scramble, Podington Bear by Bass Rider, Dan Lerch - O Tannenbaum,

STEM is field of study in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.
i20 is the document issued by a university that says 'you're in!'
CPT is curricular practical training i.e. authorization for internships/co-op.
OPT is optional practical training i.e. one year authorization for a full time job. STEM students get an extension of 2 years.


  • 02:50 - A peek into Kula's childhood in Guwahati, Assam (North East India) that involved a Sony handycam, comparisons with her sister and the very relatable struggle of Arts vs. Science/Commerce.
  • 06:28 - She coped with her move to Gurgaon (in the Greater Delhi Area) through theater, a passion that was soon eclipsed by US college prep and the student visa process.
  • 14:16 - Eastern Michigan University was a good experience overall and she was back in touch with theater through a college club. 
  • 16:49 - After graduating with a BBA, Kula explored Marketing through internships and then wrote both the GRE & GMAT to pursue it at a Masters level but a drastic turn of events led to Kula moving to Denver.
  • 20:48 - Colorado Film School had its ups and downs. Soon after, she headed to Los Angeles where working on student films at the American Film Institute (AFI) speedily improved her skills.
  • 26:03 - She reflects on her journey so far and her definition of making it.
  • 29:12 - I compare this account to my own experience in film school & the city of Boston.

"I like simplicity, but often complicate sentence structure. I find peace in cooking, music and of course the love of my life - cinematography. I love standing on top of a ladder and fixing lights (I HAVE THE POWER). I am a big foodie. I love Panang curry and Tiramisu. I dislike Math, counting bills, showoffs, talkative (uninformed) pessimists, and people who use excessive logic in almost everything."