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IIT Gandhinagar: The Study Abroad Program - A Sea of Opportunities

According to the Annual Report and Career Development Services datasheet of IIT Gandhinagar, Pabba is one of 96 students who participated in the study abroad programmes in 2018, out of which 48 would be joining Higher Studies outside India in future.

Jun 20, 2019 15:22 IST
IIT Gandhinagar

Studying abroad is an extremely beneficial opportunity for a College/ University student. Students get exposure to different style(s) of education in a foreign country, can have interesting career growth prospects and get acquainted with culture of new places. Such experiences offer the potential to develop their problem-solving skills, determination, self-confidence, resilience, analytical and critical thinking, communication skills, social-responsibility and behavioral-flexibility. Beyond influencing the career decisions such international exposures result in tangible professional impact, through enabling the students to find a job or pursuing higher studies in future which improves their prospects in globalised sectors of the economy.

According to  the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) data of 2016, on international student mobility in tertiary education, the outbound student mobility ratio of India was about 0.93% which was more than double as compared to USA’s 0.37% and significantly higher in comparison of Australia’s 0.66%*. Established in 2008, IIT Gandhinagar is among the most globalized campuses in India. More than 40% undergraduate (UG) and 75% of PhD students of the Institute receive overseas opportunities in the form of research internships, semester/ year overseas, summer programs, etc. This is among the highest proportions in India, almost three times the average at an American University where about 10.9% UG students study abroad at some point in their course-curriculum, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE) ***. International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) states that an Australian University has approximately 21% UGs participate in such programs which is half than IITGN****.

Study Abroad Participation

COUNTRY

OUTBOUND STUDENT MOBILITY RATIO (in %)

UNDERGRADS AVAILING STUDY ABROAD OPPORTUNITY (in %)

India

0.93

40 (at IITGN)

USA

0.37

10.9

Australia

0.66

21

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*http://data.uis.unesco.org/#app=8e67&342a-selectedIndex=0&f975-selectedIndex=0&9cea-selectedIndex=1

***https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/11/13/study-abroad-numbers-continue-grow-driven-continued-growth-short-term-programs

****https://www.ieaa.org.au/blog/fake-news-and-study-abroad

Pabba Maruthi Kumar, an M.Tech student in Biological Engineering at IIT Gandhinagar, pursued his summer internship in plant biology at Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), Japan, followed by his master’s thesis in epigenetics at Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany, where he plans to continue his studies as a PhD scholar. He said, “During my stay in Japan and Germany, I made good friends and visited amazing places in East Asia and Europe. This interesting and unique experience proved crucial towards setting a path for my future goals.”

According to the Annual Report and Career Development Services datasheet of IIT Gandhinagar, Pabba is one of 96 students who participated in the study abroad programmes in 2018, out of which 48 would be joining Higher Studies outside India in future.

Another student, Pallavi Chilka, a PhD scholar in Biological Engineering, did a 6-month internship on ‘Peptide Nucleic Acid targeting RNA secondary structure’ at Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania. She says, “Apart from having an eminent professor in the reference list of my resume, there is a possibility of joining the same lab as a postdoc! It is possible because I got this international internship opportunity.”

The Study Abroad Program at IITGN started 8 years ago to encourage 360° development of students. The program has grown exponentially and the number of students pursuing research at renowned international Universities was highest in 2017. Currently, the student-exchange program of the Institute is spread across numerous educational institutes in more than 20 countries of almost all continents: Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

IIT Gandhinagar: Statistics

Representation of the International Collaborations of IITGN with Universities around the World

Tejas Mehta, a final year B.Tech student in Electrical Engineering, did his internship in 2018  at Nanyang Technical University (NTU), Singapore through NTU-India Connect Research Internship Program. He said that this excursion promoted him to build a strong network which would benefit him while applying for jobs after his graduation.

According to Jaison Manjaly, Associate Professor (Humanities) and former Dean (Student Affairs), the essence of this program is much more than just strong career building. The students try new food, learn new languages and do many things which help them evolve in ways unimaginable. “We cook, party and go to football matches together!” he shared while talking about his experiences on meeting IITGN students at ISCTE, Lisbon.

“It is a strong personality-building in a nutshell,” said Aditi Sethia as she talked about development on personal sphere. She is currently pursuing M.Sc in Mathematics and worked on the theoretical aspects of Statistical Modelling during her internship at University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

On one hand, such international collaborations aim at strengthening the multifaceted development of their careers, on the other they bring the students face to face with diverse ethnic backgrounds and lifestyles of numerous countries around the world, consequently preparing them to adjust easily to different environments.

“The best time was when we got to perform the Bollywood dance moves in one of the summer festivals and they were well received! The entire journey was very enriching- right from receiving a warm welcome in a foreign land by foreign people, to sharing Indian culture with them. We even taught a Canadian friend how to hold a Chapati…” Aditi explained laughing.

Shanmuganathan Raman, Associate Professor (Electrical Engineering), who manages the Study Abroad Program with the Career Development Services, feels that such opportunities help in gaining influential references from the most renowned minds which in turn strongly supports the students while applying for jobs or higher studies. Since it is funded jointly by IITGN and the respective international Institute, the students do not face excessive monetary pressure which helps them pursue their passion with freedom, purely on the basis of their talents, and hence promoting a sense of equality in society.

Rather than being limited to a particular academic degree, the Program structure includes students from a wide array of streams pursuing U.G., P.G. and PhD programs. As they say, Competition makes us faster, Collaboration makes us better. Without Collaboration, our growth is limited to our own perspectives.

Written by Apeksha Srivastava (Senior Project Associate, External Communications, IIT Gandhinagar)

M.Tech Student (2016-18), Biological Engineering, IIT Gandhinagar