Mumbai: 15 universities across Italy touched down in Mumbai this week with the aim of showcasing what Bel Paese has to offer to the financial capital’s thousand-odd students who want to study Art, Design, Architecture, Medicine, and much more in the European country.
The universities, which came from various different parts of Italy, included both private and public ones. Università di Macerata, Università di Padova, IED, Università di Milano, Domus Academy, IULM, Modartech, Università di Trento, Università di Nettuno, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, and many more offered not just postgraduate or undergraduate programmes but also one-year specialisation courses.
The first-ever Study in Italy event in India, which was held in Mumbai’s St. Regis Hotel was conducted by Uni-Italia, the official Italian centre for the promotion of higher education programmes and assistance of international students in their academic journey to Italian universities, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy in Mumbai.
More than 6,000 Indian students are studying in Italian universities, with the Consulate General of Italy in Mumbai issuing approximately 2,000 study visas in 2022 and the Uni-Italia centre in the city guiding around 500 students in that process alone.
Indian presence in Italian universities being recognised
The growing interest among Indian students has been one of the main points of attraction for Italian universities which are planning to bank on it and make their academics more appealing.
“8% of our total number of enrollments comprise of international students and India is a top priority for us,” stated Monica Bonfandini, an official with the University of Brescia, located in Northern Italy which was founded in 1982 and branched in four different faculties.
With courses in areas of Economics, Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Surgery, the University also aims to shed the perception of Italy catering mainly to Art and Design.
“95% of our students get jobs right after they complete their degrees,” the official stated while adding that the University is 40 minutes away from one of the country’s most important cities and fashion capital of the world, Milan.
Uni-Italia India Director Federica Maria Giove addresses students/ Uni-Italia India
Italy’s universities aim for initiatives catered toward Indian students
Some universities are going one step further in attracting Indian students with initiatives that cater to them.
“We have our UniME student ambassador programme which aims to help students every step of the way. Indian and international students, who are already studying in Italy, will help clear doubts of students about staying and studying in the country,” said Giuseppe Lucchese, Head of the International Relations Organisational Unit at the University of Messina, which has ranked highly for its courses in Life Sciences, Chemistry, Biological Sciences and much more.
The University, which is located in the city of Messina, has more than 24,000 students with 400 plus international students enrolling each year, while more than 200 Indian students are studying at the institution.
Alessandro De Masi, Italian Consul General in Mumbai was present at the event/ Uni-Italia India
Rent payments? Check, say eager universities
Another innovative initiative that the University follows is its assistance to qualified students with their rent payments.
“Students residing in other municipalities in Italy and abroad who have a registered 10-month or more rental contract in the Municipality of Messina may apply. The winners will receive a reimbursement of up to a maximum of 2,000 Euros for their rent per year based on personal or family income,” added Lucchese.
Tech graduates need of the hour for countries like Italy
Work opportunities abroad have also driven Indian students to pursue education abroad with ageing yet advanced countries like Italy seeing an opportunity in it.
“Having a tech degree helps students gain employment in Italy as it's the need of the hour in the country. The University facilitates that process with its high employability rate,” stated Simona Torre, who works with the International Promotion Unit at the University of Pisa.
The University of Pisa offers English courses across its 20 departments, with 60 Bachelor’s programmes and 72 Master’s courses, along with other doctoral and specialisation programmes. Data Science has emerged as the most popular programme among Indian students.
Universities take into account significance of food and accommodation
With food and accommodation being major requirements for international students, institutions like the University of Pisa have made sure that they are taken care of. The University has placed advertisements on its bulletin boards in each of the university’s departments with the cost for renting a room ranging from 250 to 350 Euros per month, while also offering low-price dining services to students who will receive an electronic card upon enrollment which they can top up and use to buy meals.
Financial programmes key in Italy’s approach
Financial aid has often proved to be a facilitator for finalizing a University among Indian students, who might be concerned about burning their pockets on a course that can be a hefty sum.
Politecnico Di Torino is situated in Northwest Italy and is considered one of the best public universities in Italy, as it is ranked 33rd among the world’s best Technical Universities in the QS World Ranking. The one thing that helps the University’s case is its financial aid.
“We have the TOPoliTO financial aid programme which helps with scholarships for the most talented international students assigned every year at Bachelor and Master of Science level,” stated Silvia Carosso, who works with the International Projects and Development Cooperation Office at Politecnico Di Torino.
The scholarships by the University are open to applicants not only from India but also Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Vietnam, Turkey, etc.
Dr. Antonio Bove, visiting lecturer of Italian from the Italian Ministry of Education at Mumbai University/ Uni-Italia India
Not just academics, linguistics, culture key in India-Italy relationship
Mumbai’s prominence as a melting pot has also found takers among Italy’s cultural arms with the introduction of the Italian language at Mumbai University and Istituto Italiano Di Cultura having its base in the city.
Dr. Antonio Bove serves as the visiting lecturer of Italian from the Italian Ministry of Education at Mumbai University and teaches the Italian language online to individuals as young as 17 to as old as 50.
“Interested people have the opportunity to attend the classes during the weekend, wherein A1/A2/B1 levels are taught. Usually, our language courses cost an average of Rs. 6,000 for 6 months,” stated Dr. Bove who believes learning Italian will also help students socialise in Italy and experience the culture better. 70-100 students are currently learning Italian at Mumbai University.
Istituto Italiano Di Cultura is another card up the country’s sleeve to build a partnership between India and Italy through cultural exchange.
“Both Italy and India have an immensely vibrant culture and we encourage the same through Cinema, Music, Theatrical Performances, and much more,” stated Catherine Wang, who represented the Centre at the Study in Italy event.