By Ollie K.

Doesn’t everyone want to travel? To see the world? Dr. Srinivas Pyati was 29 when he moved from his home city, Mysore, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, to the United Kingdom for a medical fellowship opportunity. He’d always lived in Karnataka and had always wanted to see the world. He'd always wanted go to the United Kingdom to take the fellowship exams and become an anesthesiologist (the doctor in charge of sleeping medicines).
Dr. Pyati had been in the Indian school system for his entire life, from his elementary years to his college years. He described the experience as “many years behind the Western system.” Dr. Pyati was taught in all of his classes in English but spoke outside of class in the local tongue, Kannada. He also speaks Hindi, the national language of India.

When Dr. Pyati took the national medical exam in India, he remembers specifically that he was ranked 771st out of 30 or 40 thousand people taking the exam. He described his experiences with language humorously, saying that he had to write down information on charts in English, but had to interact with patients in Hindi or Kannada! An opportunity arose for him to go on a trip to the United Kingdom to study and take the fellowship exams. He traveled to the UK with his wife and took the exams. And, after taking the exams, passing, and getting a position in a London hospital, he was offered a sabbatical year in Singapore.
Dr. Pyati finished his gap year in Singapore and moved back to the UK, where he was given another year-long opportunity to come to the US and work at Duke. He took it and travelled with his family again, now having 2 sons. When the year ended he received another call from Duke saying that they were offering him for a full time position, which he took.

When asked about his experiences in the US, he spoke about how the hardest thing for him leaving his circle of friends in each place. He’d read about the US and had heard it described as ‘the mecca of medicine’. He was curious about how it compared to the other countries he’d lived in, such as a developing country (India), a 1st world country (the UK) and a Far-East country (Singapore). He mentioned the culture in the US and how it differed so much from the other places he’d been, and how he’s still trying to adapt to it, even after living here for 6 years, he also mentioned how it was easier for his children to learn the culture of the US because they go to school here. He never had problems with a language barrier.

When asked about an object that reminds him of his home, he presents 2 drums, called Tabla, which have moved with him from the very beginning, from India, around the world, and now to the US. He plays them and one can tell that he still loves the instrument to this day.

Dr Piyati has made much of his opportunities. And despite his mobile life, he hangs on to his home culture and language, speaking Kannada at home and regularly visiting family in India. He is living his dream.