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Bangalore was virtually unknown by most Americans five years ago. It was one of those places referred to simply and dismissively as over there, and as a result, it was thought about little and visited even less, except by those with either specific business or family in the city. But all of that has changed, and now, it is one of the most recognizable cities in all of India. This is, of course, a rather fortuitous turn of events: Bangalore has always had a great deal to offer tourists, students, and businesspeople alike. And now that it is 'on the radar,' the full spectrum of its charms can be appreciated by more and more people.
'Bangalore is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is located on the Mysore Plateau in Southwestern Karnataka. With an estimated metropolitan population of 6.1 million, it is India's third largest city and fifth largest metropolitan area.' These days, it is most well-known for its role in the so-called Technological Revolution that is sweeping the Subcontinent: Few cities in the world are as important to the survival of so many major businesses and technology firms as Bangalore is. Some people have actually begun calling it the Silicon Valley of the East. And though there is much debate about the long-term economic effects of relying so heavily on a city like Bangalore for such important parts of our own American economy, the fact remains that this city in southern India has become a hub of international technology.
'[Bangalore] is home to the Indian Institute of Science, singled out in the Indian budget this year as a centre of excellence in research and development to be promoted as a 'world-class university,' as well as the location of the organization spearheading India's space program. Karnataka has 77 engineering colleges producing more than 29,000 graduates a year. Now, to these attractions are added an abundance of talent, a relaxed and cosmopolitan atmosphere, and a lively nightlife. Many recent graduates come, at their parents' expense, to hunt for a job. The big IT firms have built huge campuses in Electronics City, a few kilometers out of town. Some are as modern and efficient as anything in Silicon Valley, from the state-of-the-art remote network-management systems to the cappuccino bars.'
All of this is important not only for business and technology, but for potential visiting students, as well. Logic tells us that the more economically prosperous a city is, the more students will stand to benefit from it. And Bangalore, arguably more than any other city in South Asia, provides just that kind of experience.
The city has come by its success honestly; it is not an overnight success story, but rather one of a slow but steady ascent to the place it now occupies near the apex of India's economy.
'During the British Raj, Bangalore developed as a centre for colonial rule in South India...The city's temperate climate, which is milder than the those of other cities in the country, has been a major attraction to people from other parts of India. After India gained independence in 1947, Bangalore evolved into a manufacturing hub for public sector heavy industries - prominently aerospace, space and defence industries. The establishment and success of high technology firms in Bangalore after the liberalization of India's economy has led to the growth of India's information technology (IT) industry. Bangalore is referred to as the Silicon Valley of India and accounts for 35% of India's software exports. Home to prestigious colleges and research institutions, the city has the second-highest literacy rate in the nation.'
And though all this growth has led to the typical problems that traditionally come along with such success-traffic, congestion, pollution-the city is still one of the most alluring in the world for both Indians and foreign students alike hoping to work and live at the center of one of the most exciting and promising technological revolutions the world has seen in the last fifty years.
There are around two dozen colleges and universities in Bangalore, and many American schools are now offering programs in the city, as well. Students are lured by both the excitement of the city as well as its beautiful climate, friendly people, and exciting lifestyle. So no matter what you study, or where your specific interests lie, there is sure to be a program in Bangalore that is perfect for you. And with all that this city has to offer, you're sure to have the semester or year of your life.
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