Medicine, Engineering, IT, key in Italy's study, work opportunities for Indians

Medicine, Engineering, IT, key in Italy's study, work opportunities for Indians

Italy conducted its first-ever education fair on studying in Italy in Mumbai as the country expects to issue at least 3000 students visas to Indian students in 2023.

Abhishek NairUpdated: Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 10:43 AM IST
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Uni-Italia, India offices Director, Federica Maria Giove and Deputy Consul of Italy in Mumbai, Luigi Cascone |

(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: Uni-Italia and The Consulate General of Italy in Mumbai hosted the first-ever Study In Italy event in Mumbai in December 2022, which had the presence of hundreds of students from across the city. The aim to make Italy an international education hub remains strong with India being an important pitstop in achieving that goal. Uni-Italia, India offices Director, Federica Maria Giove and Deputy Consul of Italy in Mumbai, Luigi Cascone talked with FPJ about their future expectations, challenges, work opportunities for Indian students, and more. Excerpts from the interview: 

1. How was your experience hosting the first Study in Italy fair in India? 

Federica - This was India's first-ever education fair on studying in Italy. It was quite an experience as we hadn't done anything at this scale before. The feedback was largely positive among students, parents, and faculties. And since it was an event exclusively focused on ‘Study In Italy', we were elated with the fact that for the students attending, Italy was not just another option but the primary destination of choice for future higher studies.

2. What are your expectations concerning Indian students in the coming years? 

Luigi - I must admit that in 2021, we had some problems with visa processing as everyone was reeling from the Covid pandemic. We were able to open up the visa application process only in September 2021 due to rules set up by the Indian government, which was a huge bottleneck. In 2022, we learned from our mistakes and saw great results.

 In 2021, we received 6000 applications but issued only 1,200 visas. In 2022, we made the process more efficient and got 3050 applications, which may seem less than in 2021 but we were able to issue 2100 visas to Indian students. Our aim for 2023 is to issue at least 3,000 visas to students in India.

3. Which courses are in focus for Italy's outreach toward Indian students?

Federica - So Italy is already known worldwide for Design, Architecture, Humanities, Classical Studies, etc. However, Italian universities have high placement rankings in STEM disciplines as well. Italy is in the top 10 in world rankings for scientific publications, articles, and citations, while also being known worldwide for the top-level research infrastructures in sectors such as aerospace, systems biology, nanobiotechnology, maritime research, etc.

We also became known worldwide for Physics with the Nobel Prize winner two years back being an Italian professor teaching at the Sapienza University of Rome. Not to mention the number of Indian students applying for Medicine and Surgery in our top medical schools. This shows that Italy is at a high level for scientific disciplines, both in quality and attraction.

Luigi- Italy is also the second biggest manufacturing country in Europe. This means that it's a huge industry for machinery, with India exporting goods from Italy. This is purely because of the investment we have done in Science, ICT, and Engineering institutions.

4. Is Italy looking at accommodating Ukraine-returned Indian medical students in their universities?

Federica: - With the war in Ukraine, Italy is trying its best to facilitate the transfer of Ukrainian students to Italian universities. Indian students will have the option to transfer their credits from Ukrainian to Italian universities. There's a page on our Ministry of Education website where all these initiatives are listed, which students can check out. We did have several students at previous fairs enquiring about this particular situation, as they were studying in Ukraine earlier and now wish to shift to Italian universities.

5. What are the challenges in attracting Indian students to Italian universities?

Federica: We do still have challenges. But during the Study In Italy fair, we were able to address that post-Covid, a systematic approach is necessary. Uni-Italia, together with the Italian academic representatives who travelled to India for the fair, represented the Italian Higher Education System as a whole. Moreover, the presence of the Consulate General of Italy in Mumbai, the Italian Cultural Centre, the Italian Trade Agency, and the Italian Language official Lecturer in Mumbai - offered students the possibility to interact with the main actors of the Italian System in Mumbai.

This is something we plan to continue doing for our next fairs and improve even more. We want students to be aware of the main actors and reliable sources of information. In terms of visa application, they need to know that all the information is available on the Consulate website or they can avail the same through Uni-Italia. They need to know where they have to go and how to apply for a visa.

6. Is Italy's job market suitable for Indian students planning to work there? 

Luigi: For one, most jobs in Italy require candidates to be proficient in Italian. Once you learn the language it can open a lot of opportunities for ones who might have a pretty good grasp of it after three years of studying in Italy. 

Currently, Medicine is a strong sector where you can get a job very easily because there's a shortage of doctors, nurses, and medical employees in Italy. Engineering and IT are also sectors where the language barrier would not be a concern but can be beneficial for Indian students looking for jobs in the country. 

Federica: it is interesting to note that 95% of students, national and international, find a job in Italy after their post-graduation in fields such as Medicine, Engineering, and ICT, according to Almalaurea, a consortium for Italian universities that records data of graduate students in Italy. 

7. What are certain misconceptions about studying in Italy among international students?

Federica: One major misconception is that Italy offers free education, where free is often related to "cheap". Italian public universities do have an amazing concept of treating education as a right and not a privilege, however, it is not free. The cost of education is correlated to one's family income so that everyone can have access to it. Students should choose Italy not because it's free but because it's top quality, which has been proved by more than a thousand years of knowledge in the field of academia.

8. How will Italy deal with concerns regarding student accommodation? 

Federica: I would say the situation regarding accommodation in Italy depends from region to region. For example, certain universities have their campuses which makes it easier for international students to stay; on the other hand in certain cities, students might find it more difficult to find accommodation within a designated structure for students. So yes, the situation is uncertain which could lead the student to share a flat or a room with others.

Luigi: We have relied on a flat-sharing system in Italy while pursuing higher education. I studied at the University of Bologna, where I had to share an apartment with five other students. 

9. What are some of the do's and don'ts for students planning to study in Italy? 

Luigi: Do get information from official sources, which are websites of the Italian government, such as the Consulate, Uni-Italia, and your University choice, where all the information is available for free. You don't need anyone else to tell you about the requirements of the visa process, or enrollment in Italian universities. Certain agents will ask students for money, and hide information from them, leading to students paying for something available for free. 

We do believe in transparency as it's about the lives and hard-earned money of ordinary individuals. For consultancies, this might be a business but for us, it's a student's dream to study in Italy that matters. We get frustrated with reports of Indian students getting 'scammed' amidst their preparations for studying in Italy. 

Federica: Avoid unreliable sources of information. There's Uni-Italia, which is an official entity,  that will help you out. I would also suggest students avoid last-minute applications as it also leads to a lot of rejections. Students wait a long time for University applications and apply at the very last moment, which results in them getting responses from the institutions very late. Students then have to speed up and gather documents for the visas. Some students, for example, applied in September 2022 which is usually when courses begin in Italy.

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