The seventh-largest country in the world (and second most populous), this giant subcontinent is a melting pot of varying traditions, religions, and customs. Just to be in India is to experience a wonderful mix of cultures unlike anywhere else on the planet—there is almost anything you cannot do in India, from historic temples, to majestic shores, not to mention delicious cuisine and incredibly busy city hubs! Color takes on new meaning as your eyes meet vibrant tones at every corner.
Comprised of 28 states, India's diverse possibilities have attracted international students for years, and it is slowly growing as one of the most sought-after destinations for study abroaders. India is established as a center for big business and interesting economics, all the while still preserving a beautiful ancient culture—this culmination, all offered in a prevalence of English, has made India an obvious choice for study abroaders. See for yourself what the hype is about!
So you've decided India is where you'd like to go—awesome! Now, you just need to decide what program you would like to go to India with; there are many programs out there, and we hope that you find one that best suits your needs, goals, and budget. We offer the following tips to help you with your decision!
As a whole, Indians emphasize "life long learning," if you are interested in focusing on technology, the sciences, or environmental studies, you'd be hard pressed to find a country better suited for your academic goals!
There are 1652 different languages in India and 350 are recongized as major languages—lucky for you, English is a national language! It sure would be a shame to walk away from this experience having not learned any of the major local languages, though. Learning a few words and phrases could get you by, but we recommend selecting a program that offers regular language classes each week. From Urdu, Sanskrit, Hindi—take your pick!
Different programs will organize different housing options for you—be sure to select a program with an ideal living situation. Selecting accommodation may seem trivial, but it largely reflects the type of experience you intend to have. Do you want to live with other Americans, Indian college students, Indian families, other international students? Do you prefer a more immersive living environment or more independent? You have options!
IES Abroad organizes both independent and group homestays to ensure their students always feel like they live in a secure and friendly environment. IES Abroad also has options for the student who prefers to live in their own or in a shared apartment. On the flipside, ISA Abroad only offers the local university's international student dorm for its program participants.
Activities and Sightseeing
Some programs will include activities in the overall program costs—though an additional expense, most students walk away from their study abroad experience having thoroughly enjoyed the planned activities with their program provider. As the local experts, your program provider will ensure you see a ll the best nearby sights!
AIFS Abroad's program in Hyderabad includes Indian culture classes such as music, dance, and theater performances, in addition to cooking lessons and festival celebrations (think: kity flying, lantern floating, and fireworks!) Similarly, IES Abroad's program includes multi-day trips to the nearby Taj Mahal, a rustic rural village, and Ajanta and Ellora for caving! Sounds incredible!
Popular Indian Cities for Study Abroad
Decide within India you would like to call home for a semester—will it be one of India's thriving major cities, or do you prefer to experience the immersion of a smaller village? No matter what you choose, India has a wealth of experiences and unique sights for any study abroad'er to treasure for the rest of their life.
The capital city of India, Delhi is located in northern India on the banks of the River Yamuna. Delhi is one of the oldest continually habited cities of the world, created at the end of the 12th Century from the ruins of seven ancient cities, is a microcosm of all India. Delhi has recently been divided into two ("New Delhi" and "Old Delhi") so be sure to spend significant amounts of time in both, as both will paint an even brighter picture of India's rich past and bright future. You will have ample opportunities to visit many stunning sights such as the India Gate, Jama Masjid, and the Lotus Temple—not to mention the nearby Taj Mahal—as an international student there.
Especially suitable for the technology savvy, Bangalore is nicknamed the "Silicon Valley" of India (and sometimes of the "east" in general!) Bangalore is a beautiful and well-gardened city full of history. It is located in southern India, so prep your tongue for some flavorful, fiery cuisine! Although Bengaluru is not known as a tourist city, there is still a lot to see. The city has developed rapidly over the past few years and thus you won't be able to escape common problems associated with major cities, such as air and noise pollution and congestion. Regardless, the climate is lovely and there remains a tangible creative energy buzzing amidst the people.
Studying abroad in India does come with a price tag—but fear not, there are many avenues out there for receiving financial aid. Here are just a few we came across (and it's only the beginning!)
- CIEE has many scholarships available for its program participants (applicable for its pretty great program in India!)
- As a non-profit, the various USAC study abroad scholarship opportunities aim for students to gain international experience -- without breaking the bank.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships