You're on your way to study overseas, waiting anxiously as your plane is finally about to touch down. When you climb off the plane, you'll be welcomed by friendly natives with a flower garland around your neck, but you're not in Hawaii, or in any Caribbean location-you're studying abroad in the vastly fascinating and educational destination of India. Lucky you! Students can enjoy one of the most culturally-rich countries in the world if they choose to study abroad in India.
Mark Twain said that, "India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great-grandmother of tradition." He wasn't exaggerating, either, and as you study abroad in India, you'll find that out for yourself.
Hi-Tech Higher Ed
Higher education in India still has many reforms in the works, as it grows along with the booming economy. The country provides support for research, and emphasizes an educated workforce with a commitment to lifelong learning. Students who study abroad in India and focus on technology and the sciences will find the destination a no-brainer, as India has been a leader in the fields of the sciences, mathematics and technology for thousands (yes, literally thousands) of years:
- The number system was invented in India, and Aryabhatta came up with the ever-important concept of "zero"
- "Ayurveda" was the world's earliest medical system, and Susruta, the "father of surgery," performed complex surgeries 2,600 years ago
- Vinod Dahm created the Pentium chip, Viond Khosla is the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and Sabeer Bhatia is the co-founder and creator of Hotmail
If you like technology you'll want to go to Bangalore, the "Silicon Valley" of India, where you can visit the Visveswaraiah Technological and Industrial Museum. You'll be surprised to learn just how much India's excellence in the sciences and technology has impacted the United States. The 3.22 million Indians living in the U.S. have become:
- 38 percent of the doctors in the U.S.
- 36 percent of the NASA employees in the U.S.
- 34 percent of Microsoft employees in the U.S.
- 28 percent of IBM employees in the U.S
In a Study Abroad in India Program
You can choose to concentrate on any of the country's other strong areas, including:
- Nuclear energy
In addition, Indians have a high regard for animals and trees-the Hindus even worship them- and consequently, environmental students will want to check out:
- Wildlife such as elephants, camels, leopards, lions, rhinos and the national animal, the Bengal tiger
- The majestic Himalayan Mountains in the north, including Mt. Everest (climb it if you dare!) and the unique surrounding plant and animal life
- Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, Hazaribagh Wildlife Sanctuary in Bihar and Jim Corbett National Park in Andaman
A study abroad program in India will also expose you to a fascinating culture, ancient architecture and the amazing history of a country that has been growing and evolving on its own, because it hasn't invaded another country in the past 10,000 years. Plus, watch the very idea of color come alive as more vibrant tones than you ever imagined jump out at you from every shirt, building and flower.
History and Harmony
As you get to know the country, your study abroad program in India will allow you to learn while having fun. You'll easily make new friends with the tolerant and hospitable Indian people. In the "land of the gods," you'd be wise to learn the traditional formal greeting that is known as "Namaste." Namaste involves placing both hands together raised below your face, and is a respectful greeting for elders and strangers.
Many of the people you will meet may live in the capital city of Delhi, where you will see the contrast between Old and New Delhi:
- Visit the India Gate, Jama Masjid and the Lotus Temple
- Shop 'til you drop at Connaught Place, the Palika Bazar or the Dilli Haat
- Get some of that famous Masala, a combination of garlic, onion, tomato, ginger and spices, mixed with meat, fish or vegetables in a creamy sauce
Bangalore is another city full of history, as well as a modern nightlife. This cosmopolitan "garden city" boasts the La Bagh gardens, which stretch over 240 acres. Admire the Dravidian style of the ancient granite structure known as the Vidhana Soudha before letting loose at the Nritya Gram dance center.
You will find plenty to do outside of the major cities, whether it's a jungle safari at the Manas tiger Reserve of Assam or taking in one of India's Bollywood films or one of its many and very celebrated festivals. (Does Diwali ring a bell, fans of The Office?)
- Sun bathe on the beaches of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, where you will find sport, relaxation, fresh seafood and spas
- Visit Jaipur, "the pink city," named that because of its terra cotta-covered walls and buildings, including the City Palace, the Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal
- Don't miss the famous Taj Mahal, a mausoleum built by a broken-hearted Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved second wife, who died in childbirth
You never knew that the Taj Mahal is one of the world's biggest love letters, huh? Well, there is a lot more you don't know and can learn when you study abroad in India. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of your flight. You're in for the most vibrant time of your life!