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The US Embassy in Chanakyapuri wore a festive look on June 19 to celebrate Student Visa Day. The embassy staff, dressed informally in clothes featuring logos of US universities, greeted students who had queued up to apply for their visas. Representatives from the Education USA Centre at the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), an international foundation dedicated to higher education in US and India, provided tips to students on life in US universities.
According to officials, student visa issuances increased by 40% this year as compared to the same period last year and there are over one lakh Indian students studying in universities across the US. Michael Pelletier, embassy charge d’affaires, says, “We are seeing a record number of visa applications from Indian students.”
Despite the fun atmosphere at the embassy, some students did appear anxious at the interview. Baljeet Kaur, who confesses to being “a bundle of nerves”, says that the visa process has been draining her out and she is not sure if she will make the cut. Kaur, who graduated in dentistry from the Himachal Institute of Dental Sciences, has applied for an international fellowship programme in periodontics at the University of Connecticut.
The economic slowdown has not deterred young Indian students from pursuing their American dream. A visa officer at the embassy points out, “There are plenty of job opportunities in the US, which is why we see many Indian students pursuing their undergraduate programmes in US universities.”