Study in India
India, officially the Republic of India (IAST: Bhārat Gaṇarājya), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country (with over 1.2 billion people), and the most populous democracy in the world. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast. It shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Myanmar and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
Capital: New Delhi
National Language: Hindi
Government: Bharatiya Janata Party
Population: 1,342,512,706 people.
Climate: Ranging from tropical in the south to temperate and alpine in the Himalayan north, where elevated regions receive sustained winter snowfall. The nation’s climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert.
Currency: Indian Rupees (INR)
Country Code: +91
Education System in India
India has traditionally been seen as a country that sends rather than receives international students, but a growing number of students from elsewhere are now choosing to study in India. Indeed, the 2015 Open Doors report from the Institute of International Education found that India is the 12th most popular country for US students abroad.
With the world’s second largest population (after China), and a fast-growing and influential economy, it’s unsurprising that India’s higher education system has undergone rapid expansion over the past few decades. India now has one of the largest higher education systems in the world (after China and the US) – and, to an outsider, perhaps one of the most complex. There are thousands of colleges and universities in India to choose from, of many different types, sizes, specializations and origins, some state-run, others private.
India’s higher education system was ranked 24th in the world in the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings 2016, and is especially well-known for the quality of its education in engineering and technology subjects, spearheaded by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore and the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). There are currently 16 of these, located around the country, focusing mainly on engineering, technology and science disciplines.
A total of 23 top universities in India feature in the QS Asia University Rankings 2018, including nine in the top 100. Aside from the science and technology specialists, India’s highest performing comprehensive universities are the University of Delhi (72nd in the QS Asia University Rankings 2018), the University of Calcutta (joint 125th), Jadavpur University (joint 125th) and the University of Mumbai (181st).
Student cities in India
India is without question one of the world’s most culturally diverse countries. In terms of religion, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism are all broadly practiced. And in terms of language, it’s difficult to imagine greater diversity – hundreds of dialects are used, and the 2001 census identified no less than 26 different mother tongues with more than a million speakers.
Student visas for India
If you hold an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card, you are able to study, work or conduct research in India without a student visa. Residents of Nepal and Bhutan can also study in India without a visa.
However, most people planning to study in India will need to apply for a student visa and pay the appropriate fee, which varies by country. Student visas for India are issued either for the duration of your course of study or for a maximum period of five years. Visas issued for less than five years can be extended with permission from the local FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office). You may also alter your course of study and/or the educational institution if circumstances are deemed sufficient. You should apply for your student visa through your nearest Indian embassy or online.
The essential requirements to get a student visa for India are as follows:
- You first need an offer of admission to a recognized Indian educational institute. This may mean you first have to take an entrance exam.
- Student visas only permit students to change either their course or institution with specific permission from the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office).
- As part of the visa application, the details of your course and place of study must be included. In cases where a letter of admission is not available, a provisional student visa will be issued. However, admission must be confirmed within a period of three months, otherwise the candidate will not be allowed to remain in India.
- Applicants must also submit supporting documentation, including a current and valid passport, with a minimum of six months validity and at least two blank pages.
- Applicants enrolling on a medical course of study must obtain a letter of approval, or a no objection certificate, from the Ministry of Health in India.
- Applicants for courses in engineering or at technical institutions in India must obtain similar authorization from the Department of Education.
- Student visas cannot be obtained by those already in the country on a tourist visa or any other visa type.
- Student visas issued for a period of 180 days or more will require the applicant to register with the local FRRO within 14 days of arrival.
Government rules state that all international students entering India on student visas must undergo a medical examination and obtain a medical fitness certificate. Students will also need to be tested for HIV, and admission will not be granted if results are positive. You will also be required to pay US$50 to cover medical fees, which includes insurance cover for the first year.
If you’re residing in India on a student visa, you will not be allowed to work during your studies. If you want to find work in India after graduating, you’ll need to apply for an employment visa.
Cost of living
Studying abroad in a completely different country becomes a major concern for international students and the cost of living in a foreign country can seem daunting to many at first. In a country like India, cost of living is the last thing to worry about. The cost of education in India is way lower compared to giant education hubs such as the US, UK and Australia.
According to HSBC report, an average annual tuition fee in India is mere $580, while an average fee in Australia is over $24,000, $24,500 in the U.S and $20,000 in the UK. So, annual tuition fee in India is not a major obstacle for international students as compared to the western countries. Thus, one of the top reasons to study in India and a preferable choice for foreign students.
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1. It is a developing country
Unless particularly well traveled, many college students from the industrialized world have not had the privilege of living in a developing country. Many study abroad programs in India will be a crash course in the nature of the social, economic, and infrastructural challenges that are faced by the majority of the world’s population living in poverty today. With nearly 1.3 billion people, India is one of the world’s largest and poorest countries. Exposure to urban life in India will be a very grounding experience to say the least.
2. It has a growing economy
The silver lining to India’s current challenges related to poverty is that the country continues to see steady progress and growth. Though plagued by stark levels of inequality (like much of the developing, and developed, world), India lays claim to a significant degree of wealth as well. Cities like Mumbai and New Delhi are booming as the country gradually integrates into the global economy. The ceiling is sky high for India, and it is a very exciting time to witness, as the next generation continues to seek new and innovative ways to tap its vast potential.
3. It is easy to get involved on campus.
On the latter note about India’s population of young people, studying abroad at an Indian university and making friends with peers from halfway across the world will be an incredibly rewarding experience. Many Indian colleges use English as the medium of education, making it possible to fully immerse yourself in campus life. If you make the effort to reach out and meet new people, you can become a part of the youthful wave which is helping usher India into a new era.
4. It has great opportunities for global networking
The connections you make while studying abroad in India do not have to stop with your Indian peers. There are many opportunities to become involved in the public or private spheres as an international student in India, where you can gain practical experience within a deeply enriching work environment. Interning or volunteering in your field of interest in tandem with your studies is a great way to meet new people, contribute to change, and sow the seeds for a future international career.
5. It provides an education beyond the walls of a classroom
Beyond the classroom walls, you will find that daily life in India becomes a highly educational experience by exposing you to a very unique cultural context. While you can make an argument for the distinctiveness of every country’s national character, even then India remains on a plateau of its own. You cannot formulate what life is like in India until you experience it and even then it is hard to put into words. Life in India is equal parts inspiring, frustrating, and shocking.
Every day studying abroad in India will bring its own life lesson.
6. It has a complex history worth knowing about.
A huge part of these lessons stem from the country’s dense and complicated history. Most travelers do not know much about India’s past beyond the surface level. While studying abroad in India you will come to understand its mythical foundations through the Mahabharata, its centuries of warfare under the rule of kings and sultans, and its modern struggle for independence from the British Raj. Ancient temples, beautiful palaces, and sweeping fortresses all remain standing relics of India’s epic past.
7. It is filled with affordable travel opportunities.
Since India is such an inexpensive place to live and study abroad, you will have the chance to enjoy frequent and affordable travel throughout the country, and you should explore as much of the country and its history as possible. From the sprawling tea estates of Darjeeling to the holy Ganges River in Varanasi to the Taj Mahal in Agra, you will have your hands full trying to reach as much of this incredibly diverse country as time allows. It is impossible to see everything, but by riding trains, planes, and rickshaws you will become quite the seasoned traveler if you try.
8. It will provide you with enlightenment (or something like it)
India is a deeply religious place, and whether you are a spiritual person or not, your experiences traveling across the countryside and immersing yourself in the flow of life cannot help but lead to some metaphysical musings. The conversations you will have, the things you will see, the preconceptions you will let go of, your entire trip will make for a quasi-enlightening experience, as the world you thought you knew will change before you. Prior to returning home, you will be equipped with an entirely new perspective on life in our modern age.
9. It will require significant readjustment.
Talk to most people who have studied abroad in India and they will tell you that the most difficult part is adjusting to life back at home. Reverse culture shock may seem like a strange thing to include as a positive reason to study abroad in India, but this is a very important part of the process. You might be disillusioned for a while, returning to the introverted perspective of whatever place you call home. Be it weeks, months, or years down the line, the experience of leaving and returning home, and adjusting successfully to both, will become fully integrated into your more mature global outlook on life.
10. It will never leave you
And at long last comes the finished product: studying abroad in India will inspire you to travel more, to learn more, and to become the best version of yourself. The connections you make, the experiences you have, the realizations you have will all blend into a piece of yourself that will remain powerfully active as life moves on.