Explore India in Hyderabad, the dynamic and cultural capital of Andhra Pradesh. Known for its unique cultural identity that blends the Hindu and Muslim faiths, Hyderabad also serves as a vital information technology hub. This vibrant city with traditional and modern appeal is ideally located in central India, serving as a gateway to both the North and South.



Languages Spoken:

English, Hindi

Education System

HIGHER EDUCATION
India's modern system of higher education dates back to 1857, when the British government of India established the first three Indian universities at Bombay (now Mumbai), Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Madras (now Chennai). After gaining independence in 1947, Indian higher education expanded greatly under the national resolve to establish universities, technical institutes, research institutions and professional/non-professional colleges throughout the country. Today, India has the second largest system of higher education in the world. The main governing body is the University Grants Comission, which oversees standards and accreditations.

STUDY IN INDIA PROGRAM (SIP)
The Study India Program (SIP) at the University of Hyderabad was founded in 1998. Initially limited to a summer program, SIP has grown to include semester- and year-long programs of study, catering primarily to U.S. and other international students. SIP emphasizes heritage, continuity and change in India. Interdisciplinary in nature, with participating faculty from various schools, departments and research centers at the university, SIP offers excellent coursework options.

ACADEMIC CALENDAR
The academic year is broken into two semesters and runs from July through May. Semester one typically begins in July and ends in November. Semester two typically begins in December and ends in May.

COURSE LOAD
The typical course load is four classes, each worth four credits, per semester. Each semester runs approximately 16 to 18 weeks long.

ASSESSMENT
The Study India Program uses a modified British system of grading. Scores range from 100 to 0 and correspond with a seven-point grade scale: A+, A, B+, B, C, D and F (fail). Student assignments in SIP courses can vary from written, in-class examinations to formal research papers, depending upon the nature of the course, and the expectations of the professors.

CLASSROOM CULTURE
Indian students are typically very modest when dressing for school. Women typically do not wear short skirts, shorts or low neck tops and men do not wear shorts. When in doubt, a good general rule is to wear similar types of clothing to those of your Indian classmates so that you are not unintentionally offensive to those around you.

Visa and Residency

STUDENT VISA

A student visa and a passport valid for six months beyond the date of departure are required to enter India. The student visa is a multiple entry visa and it is valid starting the day it is issued. Be sure to take this into consideration when determining the length of the visa. Students accepted into the full year, semester or summer program will be issued an official letter of acceptance from the host university, which should be used in the visa application.

Cox & Kings Global Services

The Embassy of India has outsourced all visa processing to an independent company, Cox & Kings Global Services. Please visit their website for detailed instructions on the visa application process. Please remember that CKGS is a private contractor to the Indian Embassy, and therefore works under its own time frame. The visa process can be lengthy, so you are encouraged to plan ahead!

For more information, visit the Embassy of India website.

Culture

CULTURE SHOCK

Many people have at least a passing familiarity with India's rich and ancient culture. With more than one billion people, India is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations. Thousands of monuments, including the Taj Mahal, can be found all across India, making this country truly a remarkable place to explore. India also has a modern face. It produces nearly 1,000 films per year. It's a rising tourist destination, with dramatic increases in just the last few years. It's a major producer of computer software. It has the world's fourth largest army. It has both nuclear power and nuclear weapons. It is the world's most populous democracy and a declared friend of the United States. Although poverty is still widespread, India's economy is growing fast — at an annual real growth rate in GDP of about 5%, around twice that of the United States.

Language and Religion

India is the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, and is home to millions of followers of other important faiths, including Islam. In fact, India has the second largest Muslim population in the world, after Indonesia. Religion plays an important role in the daily lives of the Indian people. Hinduism accounts for 80.5% of the Indian population; Islam accounts for 13.4%. The vast majority of Indians engage in religious rituals on a daily basis. Dietary habits are also significantly influenced by religion; almost one-third of Indians practice vegetarianism.

There are 22 languages recognized by the Constitution of India, of which Hindi is an official language. Urdu and Bengali, as well as Punjabi and other dialects of Hindi, are widely spoken. English is the most common language used for official and business purposes.

Customs
Due to the hierarchical structure of society, it is important to greet the eldest or most senior person first when meeting people. When leaving a group, each person must be bid farewell individually. Hindus are strong believers of karma, and therefore believe that gift giving eases the transition into the next life. When invited to someone’s home, it is a nice gesture to bring a gift. It is also important to remove your shoes before entering a home. Another very important custom is eating with the right hand. As in many other Asian countries, it is considered rude and unhygienic to eat with the left hand, so be sure to stick to the right-hand rule.

LIFESTYLE

Communication

When greeting someone of the same sex, saying "Namaste" while extending a light handshake is a common practice. In formal situations many Indian women will avoid contact with men in public. Pressing ones palms pressed together at around chest level and saying, "Namaste" or "Namaskar" (which is more formal) while slightly nodding or bowing is another form of greeting in India. Indians do not generally touch one another when speaking. It is common to see male friends holding hands linked with their arms around each other while walking, as this usually is a sign of their friendship.

Family and Social Structure
India has a history of the caste system which has created hierarchical relationships within society that are culturally emphasized. In schools, teachers are viewed as the source of all knowledge, the boss is seen as the source of ultimate responsibility, and the patriarch is the leader of the family. This kind of hierarchy is seen throughout society. Both the immediate and extended family is very important in India. Indians have a strong group orientation, which causes close personal ties throughout the extended family, and also creates responsibility and interconnectedness.

Food
Indian cuisine is extremely diverse throughout the difference regions of the country, and is influenced by religious and cultural choices. Vegetarianism is a common practice, although some in the upper classes eat meat as a sign of prosperity. Staple foods include rice, lentils, chickpea, kidney beans and whole-wheat flour. Of course, the spices used in Indian dishes are even more noteworthy; chilli pepper, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, ginger and the popular spice mix called garam masala are all commonly used. Tea, known as chai, is a staple beverage and is typically prepared with milk, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. Breads, including naan, parathas and roti, are often used in place of utensils to scoop up food. Some popular dishes include tandoori chicken, dosa with chutney, the curry dish called vindaloo, and a spinach and cheese dish called palak paneer.

Daily Life

CULTURE SHOCK

Many people have at least a passing familiarity with India's rich and ancient culture. With more than one billion people, India is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations. Thousands of monuments, including the Taj Mahal, can be found all across India, making this country truly a remarkable place to explore. India also has a modern face. It produces nearly 1,000 films per year. It's a rising tourist destination, with dramatic increases in just the last few years. It's a major producer of computer software. It has the world's fourth largest army. It has both nuclear power and nuclear weapons. It is the world's most populous democracy and a declared friend of the United States. Although poverty is still widespread, India's economy is growing fast — at an annual real growth rate in GDP of about 5%, around twice that of the United States.

Language and Religion

India is the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, and is home to millions of followers of other important faiths, including Islam. In fact, India has the second largest Muslim population in the world, after Indonesia. Religion plays an important role in the daily lives of the Indian people. Hinduism accounts for 80.5% of the Indian population; Islam accounts for 13.4%. The vast majority of Indians engage in religious rituals on a daily basis. Dietary habits are also significantly influenced by religion; almost one-third of Indians practice vegetarianism.

There are 22 languages recognized by the Constitution of India, of which Hindi is an official language. Urdu and Bengali, as well as Punjabi and other dialects of Hindi, are widely spoken. English is the most common language used for official and business purposes.

Customs
Due to the hierarchical structure of society, it is important to greet the eldest or most senior person first when meeting people. When leaving a group, each person must be bid farewell individually. Hindus are strong believers of karma, and therefore believe that gift giving eases the transition into the next life. When invited to someone’s home, it is a nice gesture to bring a gift. It is also important to remove your shoes before entering a home. Another very important custom is eating with the right hand. As in many other Asian countries, it is considered rude and unhygienic to eat with the left hand, so be sure to stick to the right-hand rule.

LIFESTYLE

Communication

When greeting someone of the same sex, saying "Namaste" while extending a light handshake is a common practice. In formal situations many Indian women will avoid contact with men in public. Pressing ones palms pressed together at around chest level and saying, "Namaste" or "Namaskar" (which is more formal) while slightly nodding or bowing is another form of greeting in India. Indians do not generally touch one another when speaking. It is common to see male friends holding hands linked with their arms around each other while walking, as this usually is a sign of their friendship.

Family and Social Structure
India has a history of the caste system which has created hierarchical relationships within society that are culturally emphasized. In schools, teachers are viewed as the source of all knowledge, the boss is seen as the source of ultimate responsibility, and the patriarch is the leader of the family. This kind of hierarchy is seen throughout society. Both the immediate and extended family is very important in India. Indians have a strong group orientation, which causes close personal ties throughout the extended family, and also creates responsibility and interconnectedness.

Food
Indian cuisine is extremely diverse throughout the difference regions of the country, and is influenced by religious and cultural choices. Vegetarianism is a common practice, although some in the upper classes eat meat as a sign of prosperity. Staple foods include rice, lentils, chickpea, kidney beans and whole-wheat flour. Of course, the spices used in Indian dishes are even more noteworthy; chilli pepper, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, ginger and the popular spice mix called garam masala are all commonly used. Tea, known as chai, is a staple beverage and is typically prepared with milk, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. Breads, including naan, parathas and roti, are often used in place of utensils to scoop up food. Some popular dishes include tandoori chicken, dosa with chutney, the curry dish called vindaloo, and a spinach and cheese dish called palak paneer.

Health and Safety

https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/guides-and-tips/health-safety

Currency

CURRENCY AND CONVERSION
India uses the rupee as its currency. A rupee is divisible into 100 paise. Because of the growth of the Indian economy, multiple denomination paise coins are fast disappearing from general circulation. Coins are available in 1, 2 and 5 rupee denominations. Bills are generally available in 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupee values. Students should check their change carefully when receiving rupee paper currency, as torn or taped bills are not typically accepted, but are sometimes given as change. Students with torn or taped bills will likely have to go to a bank to exchange the damaged bills. Large bills can also be a problem, as change is usually hard to come by.

Currency can be exchanged either at regular banks or private companies, such as Thomas Cook or American Express. For quicker service than at a bank, you can use licensed currency exchange bureaus, which can be found in main tourist areas, though the rates may be higher. Students should plan to cash $100 or $200 worth of currency into Indian rupees on arrival at the airport, before being picked up by the representative of the University of Hyderabad. See Xe.com for the current exchange rate.

BANKS AND ATMs
Banking hours are generally Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 2 or 4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The State Bank of India is the main government-run bank and can be found in all major cities. Banks are the safest place to exchange currency, but can take much more time due to long lines and forms to fill out.

Debit cards are widely accepted in India, but you should exercise caution when using them in many small shops. A safer alternative is to use cash. Use of credit cards in larger shops is safe. Though ATMs are available in Hyderabad, you may wish to bring some of their funds in traveler's checks, which can be exchanged at some nearby banks. ATMs can be found at main banks in the larger towns and cities, though your bank may charge a foreign transaction fee. Credit cards can be used at major hotels, nice restaurants and some shops, but not in most places. Again, cash is always the best option. It is recommended to exchange large amounts of cash at once to keep the transaction and exchange fees to a minimum. Wiring funds is not a viable option and could take many days.

COST OF LIVING
India remains one of the world’s least expensive countries to live in, especially by Western standards. For just Rs 2000 per day you can stay in mid-range hotels, eat meals in nice restaurants and use taxis or autos for transportation. Prices vary throughout the country; Mumbai is notoriously expensive compared to the rest of the country, with Delhi not far behind price-wise. Traveling outside of Hyderabad to other parts of India will generally be the most expensive part of the student’s semester. Air-conditioned train cars are more expensive, but generally worth it when traveling to sites such as Agra and Delhi. Entrance fees to Indian monuments for foreigners, such as the Taj Mahal, can be expensive but are worth the money.

DISCOUNTS

Look into purchasing an International Student ID Card (ISIC) card from STA travel. It costs just $25 and can often get you discounts on travel, movie tickets and more. You should also research whether a monthly public transportation pass is available for purchase, and whether this is more cost advantageous than individual fares, which can add up quickly.

TIPPING
10% is an acceptable tip for good service; more should be paid if service is excellent. Taxi and auto drivers will not expect tips unless an unplanned stop has been made. Always tip what you think is deserved and what you can afford. For example, a hotel porter who helps with your bags might expect R 50. Tipping on the university campus is not necessary.

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