According to the Open Door Survey for the academic year 2011/12 – 2012/13, India ranks #13 among countries that Americans choose to go to for studying abroad. The Open Door Survey ranks American student’s participation and interestin educational exchange.
There may be many reasons depending on individual choices. Here are some reasons I have collected from coachees, my personal experience and current trends:
Indians may be shocked that so many Americans chose India to study. Many Indians want to leave India to study. An American’s experience of study abroad is often very different than a typical Indian’s experience of studying abroad.
A Few Salient Characteristics of American Study Abroad Programs to India:
Americans coming to India on the whole take a different approach to cultural adjustment than many of the Indians coming to the USA. Many more Americans coming to India attend some pre-departure cross-cultural training organized by their college to be sensitized to the culture before coming. While a typical American may be less exposed to India than a typical Indian to American culture, but these pre-departure trainings help dispel myths, stereotypes and offer opportunities to learn about the day-to-day life situations happening in India. These sessions also do help with things like travel planning (travel within India is difficult, time consuming and confusing), daily interactions, introductions to Indian cuisine, dressing tips (especially for women), safety measures, housing, and other salient topics.
Though a typical American would spend less time in India studying and living than a typical Indian in the USA, it is good to see the number of Americans interested in learning about India in India is rising. This will increase cross-cultural understanding between Indians and Americans. Indians in America can find more Americans having some tie to India and find common ground for conversation or even deep, meaningful friendships.
Feel free to share your experiences of studying in India below. If you’re an Indian, have you learned something interesting about your country you did not know from an American who has studied in India?
Thank you for reading.
Photo in this post: Author while studying a master’s degree at Madras Christian College India (matriculated).
Jennifer Kumar, author of this post, has organized and coordinated cross-cultural pre-departure preparatory seminars and classes for American students coming to India. Jennifer, who currently lives in South India, is available for consultation and pre-departure cross-cultural planning with you and your students via Skype, e-mail or phone. Contact her today.
Originally posted on Nov. 16, 2011. Updated Oct. 2015