INTRODUCTION TO INDIA
India is an enthralling place to work and study. Its rapid growth, strong culture, immense diversity and friendly hospitality will all define and enrich your experience. There is a long history of young people traveling to India to volunteer with non-governmental organisations. Now, more young people are looking to India for study, internship and work opportunities, due in part to the growing awareness of India’s current and future role in the region. India will challenge you, but it is through these challenges that you will learn and grow. Over the coming years, India will be an increasingly exciting and important country for young people to engage with. Asia Options’ India Options page and the personal experiences you’ll read in the India section are your guide to navigating some of these challenges and taking up the many opportunities to study, work or lead in India!
There are a growing number of scholarship on offer to study in India, although you may have to dig a little deeper than you would for other countries. Australian universities typically offer generous scholarships to study on exchange and there are a couple of prestigious and well-funded Australian Government scholarships available as well. For students, Asia Options recommends the New Colombo Plan (undergrad) scholarships and Endeavour Scholarships (post-grad). The Australian National University (ANU), La Trobe University, RMIT and the University of Melbourne are just a few of the growing number of Australian universities offering exchanges to India. Keep your eyes peeled, and watch this space on Asia Options, as the number of exchange opportunities to India and the value of undertaking one will continue to expand.
- Prime Minister Endeavour Scholarships (Australian postgraduate students)
- New Colombo Plan Scholarship (Australian undergraduate students)
- Hugh Owen Prize
- Euan Crone Asian Awareness Scholarship ( Australian AIIA Members)
- Chingari Small Grants
- 10 important tips for successful applications
There are many opportunities for postgraduate study in India, whether it is coursework or the opportunity to undertake research. As well as the public universities, India’s Institutes of Technology and private institutes likes of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences are highly-regarded. Australian universities are increasingly partnering with Indian universities to deliver short courses within masters programs. Enrolling or partnering with a local university is also the best way to conduct postgraduate research in India.
For postgraduate students, there are excellent fellowship and internship opportunity with international or India organisations. For example, the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies internships has a rigorous fellowship program or United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific have active internship programs that regularly recruit post-graduate students from a wide range of backgrounds.
The Australia-India Council accepts applications for its grants program for projects that promote a broader and deeper relationship between Australia and India in public policy and economics, science, education, sport, and arts and culture.
Hindi is now one of the five priority languages for study in Australian schools. Not only is Hindi a highly relevant second language but it is a fun and exciting language to learn that will provide you even deeper insights into India. In Australia, La Trobe University, ANU and the University of Sydney all offer excellent Hindi courses together with the opportunity to undertake exchanges or summer courses in India.
In India, there are brilliant language institutes for people looking to study Indian languages. For example, Zabaan Institute in Delhi, which offers Hindi, Urdu, Pashto, Sanskrit, and Tamil. Hindi Guru is another affordable option in Delhi and the Landour Language School offers tailored programs in the spectacular setting of the Himalayas. You can study an intensive language course in India at a fraction of the cost of studying in Australia. But above all, studying in India is the best way to perfect your Hindi.
STUDYING IN INDIA POSTS
There is a long history of young Australians traveling to India to volunteer, and there are a large number of organisations offering rewarding experiences. Most organisations will list their volunteer opportunities directly on their site or you can go through a facilitating organisation like AIESEC or Lattitude Global Volunteering. Some organisations ask for a small placement fee, often this helps organisations to support you as much as they can during your time with them.
It is also possible to source your own volunteering opportunities, in which case personal referrals are a good way to go. As always, make sure you do your due diligence on who the organisation is and what the volunteer opportunity will involve. It’s important to consider what both you and the organisation with gain for your volunteer placement.
The Australia India Youth Dialogue has gained significant traction since its inception in 2012. The dialogue alternates between India and Australia each year and welcomes delegates from industry, academia, and government. Applications are usually called for in September. Jagriti Yatra is also another exciting initiative for young entrepreneurs to come together with new ideas to solve development challenges and hosted on a train ride around India!
VOLUNTEERING & CONFERENCES POSTS
The opportunities to gain professional experience in India are broadening. As well as experiences with established Indian institutions and international organisations, India offers the opportunity to work with innovative and emerging organisations. Most prominent are the opportunities related to international development. Opportunities with think-tanks and business are also available, even though it may take a little more searching or organisation to line one up.
The majority of internship opportunities in India will be unpaid. But this shouldn’t detract from the skills you will learn and the experience you will have. The other great thing about India is that it is accessible on almost any budget.
Networking, both professionally and socially, is an essential part of an enjoyable and rewarding experience in India. You should join all the groups you know, formal and informal, and start building connections before you go. A great place to start is the Australia India Institute, which has an extensive program of public events where you can learn a little more about India and meet those who have been before. Also, try to join more informal groups such as expat groups, housing groups or even exercise groups on Facebook.
Working in India is the perfect way to gain professional experience and learn all about what India has to offer at the same time. As India grows, so too are Indian organisations and businesses, not to mention the number of international organisations based in India. With the challenges and opportunity for innovation that come with rapid growth, now is an exciting time to work in India. A number of Australians traveling to India to engage in paid work do so on a company contract and may be employed on a secondment or as an expatriate. This is an option to consider if you already have a level of professional experience. However, this is not the only way to live and work in India.
- Seek (jobs and internships in the Asia Pacific, you can narrow your search down to ‘India’)
WORKING IN INDIA POSTS
Personal recommendation is a way of living in India, so the best way to start looking for accommodation is to ask around. If you are studying or on exchange, your home or host institutions will most likely be able to assist with accommodation. The major Indian university campuses are similar to Australian campus with a number of residential colleagues. Campus accommodation is convenient and the best way to enjoy university life. Private language schools most often have a list of suggested places to stay, which can include homestays.
If you are volunteering or interning, check with the organisation once you are accepted if it can assist with accommodation. Some organisations that are well set up to support volunteers, like Atma for example, will help you find a room or apartment ready to go as soon as you arrive for only a small fee. Others may, at the least, be able to provide suggestions. In the major cities, families often offer their upper floors as guest accommodation. This may be a ‘guesthouse’ – short-term accommodation – or ‘Paying Guests’ (PG) accommodation – longer-term accommodation where you can negotiate thing like cooked meals to be included in your board. If you are looking for an apartment, it is normal to go through a broker and be asked to pay a deposit. Again, ask around for a recommended broker.
When considering your accommodation options, allocate plenty of time to find the right option for you. Remember that the accommodation available may not have all the trimmings you are used. Also, think about the area it is located and whether it is close to where you will be studying or working each day.