In a nation as diverse as India, it is difficult to find a reason why one should not study there. Over the centuries, the ethnic merging from Aryan, indigenous, Arab and European peoples combined to create a truly distinct and unique Indian culture. Geographically, it offers a rich variation of landscapes, from the breathtaking mountains of Himachal or Arunachal Pradesh to the arid deserts of Rajasthan and the tropical lush expanses of Kerala. The population is composed of Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Mongoloid and other ethnicities; practices Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, and various other religions; and speaks Hindi and English along with 14 other official languages. Furthermore, the Indian culture – one of the oldest in the world – has grown and modernized to become a major political and economic global presence in today’s world.
For students interested in studying non-western art, architecture and music, India is a prime study abroad location. This ancient land has compiled many layers of architecture and symbolism over the centuries. Early colleges and monasteries that were built to promote the learning and proliferation of literature in Sanskrit were replaced with mosques and other religious structures dedicated to Islam and Hinduism. Throughout all are elements from a distinct Indian heritage depicting musicians, entertainers and famous couples and figures from myth and history. The arts of puppet making, block printing, batik, silk screening, blue pottery, painting, sculpting and marble cutting that can be found in the state of Rajasthan are just a sample of the wealth of artistry and craftsmanship still available in India.
Today, India has become a key location for businesses looking to export, import or simply invest. Recent growth in the Indian economy, averaging about 9% in the 2002-2003 period, has caused it to account for about 1% of global exports. Imports have also grown as a reflection of a strengthened economy and a hopeful market. Domestic Indian industries, particularly in the communications and software sectors, are experiencing phenomenal growth and promise to provide many opportunities for graduates in these areas. India’s largest private sector corporation, Reliance Industries, which specializes in oil and petroleum, is looking to expand to information technology and telecommunications in India and has already expanded its telecom industry to the US market. As a one who had studied in India and was familiar with both Indian and American culture, your study abroad experience would be invaluable in finding you work with an international firm such as Reliance Industries.
Music, dance and film students will also find plenty to absorb their interests during a stay in India. In addition to traditional dances such as the bhangra, dandiya rass, and qawwali and instruments such as the sitar, tabla, veena and tanpura, western music such as hip-hop and pop has made its way into the pop culture of India to create a mesmerizing fusion of modern dance beats and traditional Indian melodies and rhythms. In the area of film, India’s film industry – dubbed Bollywood – produces more films per year than Hollywood and has become one of the world’s leading film industries. With films such as Monsoon Wedding and Lagaan, Bollywood is gaining international recognition and is an ideal location for film students interested in exploring film outside of Hollywood.