Explore India, a country known for its rich history, unique cultural identities and rapidly-growing industries.  ISEP offers programs in Pune, near dynamic Mumbai, or Chitkara, a cultural hub of northern India. India  This vibrant country has traditional and modern appeal, and is the perfect place to study, business, communications, engineering, tourism, the arts and social sciences.



Languages Spoken:

English, Hindi

Education System

HIGHER EDUCATION OVERVIEW 

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 Commission, which oversees standards and accreditations. 

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. 

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. 

 

STUDYING IN INDIA 

Courses 

Students will be able to register for courses in a wide variety of disciplines such as business, engineering, health sciences, communication and the arts, depending on your host institution. The language of instruction is English.  

Registration 

Check with your host institution for policies and procedures for course enrollment. You may be required to have certain documents on hand for in-person registration. 

Course Load 

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

Exams & Grading 

Differnt institutions in India use different systems of grading, including a modified British system of grading. Student assignments can vary from written, in-class examinations to formal research papers, depending upon the nature of the course, and the expectations of the professors. 

Transcripts 

Check with your host institution's international office to make sure they have all necessary information to generate and send your transcripts. 

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

Your health and safety is our number one priority. Please read and reference our Guides and Tips section for general information regarding health and safety abroad. 

Detailed information about India can be found here. Please pay special attention to the Safety and Security, Local Laws and Special Circumstances and Health sections. 

Note: Information sourced on this page is provided by the U.S. Department of State. Non-U.S. nationals should disregard the Embassies and Consulates and Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements sections. 

If you are planning to bring your prescription or over-the-counter medicine on your trip, you need to make sure your medicine is travel-ready.  

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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