(The Free Press Journal publishes articles by study abroad consultants, Consulates, foreign universities, international students, and much more every Saturday to give its readers a glimpse of the world of overseas education.)
Mumbai: It was years ago that I flew from Lagos State in Nigeria to Mumbai and now I am about to finish my Ph.D. in Economics and Political Science at the University of Mumbai. To a large extent, I believe that I was destined to arrive in India to learn and contribute immensely to the country as a student. Ever since I landed at Mumbai International Airport, I have embraced a different atmosphere, new faces, and cultural shift.
Transportation a handful, accommodation even harder
I started out by deciphering the transportation and accommodation in the city. From local trains to public buses, commuting in Mumbai was a daunting task. There were times when an auto rickshaw would charge me more than they actually should, knowing that I was a foreign national. As a student, it was slightly tough to find accommodation in this city too.
City’s delicacies a favourite
Eventually, I began making myself at home and became a part of Mumbai. Food items such as panipuri, samosa pav, and vada pav became instant favourites for me.
University experience in Mumbai
The university harnessed my hobbies of singing, songwriting, and composing, and I went on to become MU's ambassador for foreign students. After working hard for months, I got the opportunity to deliver a motivational speech at an international conference. I also went on to receive national talent awards for my active participation in student activities.
Clement has made friends in Mumbai since his arrival from Nigeria to India |
Faced racism but made lifelong friends
During my time in Mumbai, I did face instances of racism but that was overshadowed by the friends I made in the city. The process of renting an apartment is also a problem in Mumbai. There are plenty of road bumps along the way but that's something a student might face in any city.
I now help other foreign students at our MU campus and, while doing so, I realise that the academic setup should allow more talent-oriented learning to get the best out of these students.
Concerns of foreign students should be addressed
New students must always focus on getting a conducive place to live, as it will have a major impact on their studies. If that gets difficult in a city like Mumbai, the professors and officials are always ready to help.
Though it has not been established currently, a work permit would definitely be a helpful addition to a foreign student's life in India. This would give them a wonderful opportunity to apply what they've learned. Visa extensions that are denied to many international students in India should also be facilitated by authorities across the country in my opinion.
I would suggest to my fellow African friends who wish to study in India that they have to be compassionate, dress properly, and focus on their purpose in the country while being here.
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