FPJ's Campus Care: Addressing Medical Emergencies For Indian Students Abroad

FPJ's Campus Care: Addressing Medical Emergencies For Indian Students Abroad

The Free Press Journal (FPJ) reached out to Indian students in Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. to understand their thoughts on the tragic incidents, including students' tragic deaths, many going missing, and other issues.

Simple VishwakarmaUpdated: Monday, July 01, 2024, 01:08 PM IST
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FPJ's Campus Care |

As the new academic season begins, many Indian students are excited to begin their journeys abroad. However, a series of tragic incidents involving Indian students worldwide has raised concern. Despite students chasing their academic dreams abroad, these worries still linger.

The Free Press Journal (FPJ) reached out to Indian students in Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. to understand their thoughts on the tragic incidents, including students' tragic deaths, many going missing, and other issues.

Since the beginning of 2024, at least 11 Indian and Indian-origin students have died in the US., which has alarmed the community.

Tabassum Chohan, a master's student in Management of Technology at New York University, spoke about the recent deaths of Indian students or those of Indian origin. “We were shocked hearing such news and felt empathetic,” said Chohan. She highlighted her university's safety measure. “Yes, I keep receiving NYU Campus Safety emails. So whenever there is any incident or crime around, they send an email to stay alert and avoid that area,” Chohan told the FPJ.

In March, the Indian student community mourned Amarnath Ghosh, a 34-year-old dancer and Washington University student from India, who was shot in St. Louis, Missouri. Another tragedy involved Sameer Kamath, a 23-year-old Indian-American student at Purdue University, found dead in an Indiana nature preserve on February 5.

The worrying trend extends beyond the U.S. Satyam Surana, pursuing an LLM (Master of Laws) at The London School of Economics and Political Science, commented on the healthcare system in the UK. “At NHS (National Health Services), any student coming to the UK has to register with a G.P. (General Practitioner), otherwise, you won’t get a national insurance number. There are many benefits that you won’t receive without a national insurance number,” Surana told the FPJ.

Surana elaborated on the challenges faced by all students in accessing healthcare.

“If anything happens during your stay in the UK, the first thing you do is inform your general practitioner. If you fall sick tomorrow, you have to book an appointment with your G.P. There are many G.P.s, depending on the area. However, the problem with the UK National Health Services is that there is often a long wait, sometimes up to a month for a G.P. appointment. People aren’t satisfied with the G.P. system; students tend to treat themselves at home with home remedies,” he claimed.

He also mentioned the financial burden of healthcare.

'When you apply for a visa, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee that students must pay. I had paid Rs. 80,000 but soon these fees will increase to around Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 1.2 lakh. Universities are making efforts to support students." Surana said. He also highlighted, “London School of Economics and Political Science University provides mental health well-being services, mental health, emotional health, and advisory lectures. However, when it comes to physical health, falling ill or medicinal health, no one else other than the GP can help.”

Another Indian student, Akash Surve, pursuing Masters in Micro and Nano Systems at TU Chemnitz, Germany, spoke about the benefits of having access to emergency medical facilities.

Surve told FPJ, “In Germany, from what I have observed, medical facilities respond promptly. It's better if the caller has a good command of the German language. While English is also available, speaking German would ensure a quicker and more efficient response. Emergency care in Germany is better than regular healthcare."

Recalling one of his experiences, he said, “On one occasion, my flatmate experienced severe stomach ache. I called the emergency number and initially got the wrong number. After some effort and involving the police, I finally reached the correct emergency line. Emergency care arrived within 20 minutes, assessed the student, administered necessary medications, and then requested an insurance card. The process was not delayed while waiting for an insurance card; they had all the necessary equipment and immediately provided pain relief medication.”

“The only aspect of medical care that I find challenging in Germany is the system of having a family doctor, also known as a house doctor. It is quite difficult to get assigned to a house doctor. Some doctors have walk-in clinics, while others require you to go through the process of choosing a family doctor,” Surve said.

While explaining the process of being assigned a house doctor, he said, “To be assigned a family doctor, you have to approach a doctor and ask if he or she is willing to be your family doctor. Although doctors have limited availability, once a doctor is assigned to you, it is recorded in a system accessible throughout Germany. If you are not in the city where your family doctor is located and need medical assistance, your family doctor can recommend another doctor to help you."

As Indian students continue to pursue their academic ambitions abroad, it's imperative of them to take note of the important health and emergency guidelines of the country they are visiting and the institution they are enrolling.

This report is part of The Free Press Journal’s “Campus Care” campaign, aiming to highlight medical and other emergencies that may arise in the lives of Indian students abroad. If you have any experiences or concerns to share, please write to us at fpjournaledu@gmail.com.

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