Indian Arts and Foreign Students

Learning to do things the Indian way gives great pleasure.

India – a land which boasts of a rich and diverse cultural heritage along with a vibrant economy has been an education hotspot with international students for quite sometime. A recent survey ranked India as one of the top five nations preferred by students in the US as a key educational destination. With more than 17,000 colleges, 400 universities, 13 institutes of national importance and various other vocational institutes. The network of higher education system in India is one of the largest in the world. Combined with the fast integrating world economy and corresponding rise of students mobility. India has become an attractive study abroad option for students around the world.

Advantage India:

In an era of globalization exchanges of cultures between nations is commonplace and this is where India scores as a one stop cultural hub. It is fast becoming a major economic superpower and hence along with getting quality education at a low cost and plenty of available job opportunities, students are attracted to the subcontinent. Financial aids and scholarships too are available in plenty for international students. Apart from this India is home to unique traditional courses like Ayurveda, Sanskrit, Yoga and Hindi, which enthuse many international students.

A popular example is Nalanda which welcomes students from all over the world to learn Indian classical dance forms like Bharat Naytam, Odissi, Kathak and Mohini Attam.

We preserve the traditional classical dance styles in their formal purity by imparting training through the traditional guru shishya parampara method and that is what attracts students from abroad. Some students leave behind careers and opportunities in their own countries to follow their passion and learn something that is utterly foreign to them. Some come all the way from Mauritius and Germany for the love of dance and the Indian art form.

The subtle communication of an emotion through a gesture or look, the unique ways in which a Carnatic raga combines with complex rhythms in Indian classical dance forms is beyond comparison. It has been quite a journey in these three years that I have been studying here. Learning to do things the Indian way gives me great pleasure and a little effort has enabled me in making some friends for life.

Some classical dance forms that are very popular amongst international students are Bharatnatyam Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam, and Kathak. With various Indian institutions solely dedicating themselves to offering degree, diploma as well as masters course in these dance forms, the growing number of students coming from abroad to take up such courses is only increasing by the day.

Whatever the reasons students from far flung countries such as France and Italy have not let language be another cultural barrier to deter them from pursuing their passion. Traditional Indian languages like Sanskrit, Urdu and Marathi also rank high in preference as courses of interest amongst international students.

Surprises are always waiting as one enters any new place, especially if it is a completely new country with a different set of cultures and traditions. One may also take time adjusting to the new environment . Remember, it is normal to feel excited, confused and even overwhelmed all at the same time. But with a little friendly approach and some patience, India’s cosmopolitan approach and a sound educational system can prove to be the perfect learning ground for its exotic art forms and culture. Foreign students certainly seem to agree.

Excerpts from Education Times