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A passage to India

Research scholars and interns from the West are looking Eastwards for a stint in India, writes Sonal Srivastava.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2006 17:00 IST

It seems that the world is finally waking up to the ‘Look East’ policy. Be it the Arcelor-Mittal deal or the issues related to India’s entry in to the nuclear club, the country and its famed countrymen are making waves across the globe forcing the world to sit up and take notice.

India shining?

The India shining factor is more prominent in the energy conservation and IT sector as growing number of students from developed and other developing countries are looking to pursue internship in these sectors in the country.

Says Sudeshna Saha, astt. programme co-ordinator, Centre for Science and Environment, “We get about 100 applications in a year out of which we are able to accommodate 16 students on an average.” The Energy And Resources Institute (TERI) boasts of students from Yale University pursuing their internship in India.

IT calling

Another sector that has caught the fancy of the outsiders is the IT industry. Infosys, has a program called InStep for interns from abroad. This year they received over 11,000 applications for 100 positions from students of top academic institutions like the MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and London Business School.

Raison d'être

The low cost of living is an important factor for them. Dawn Lippert,22, an intern from Yale says, “Food, transportation and clothing are not as expensive as other places (like Europe and even America). The work is diverse and people are very knowledgeable, I learnt a lot about renewable energy resources here.”

Tough transition

However, the transition is not that simple as it seems. Stephanie Piers, a Swiss intern with CSE, says, “The first few weeks in India can be hard, because the behaviour and mentalities are so different from those of Western Europe. As a foreigner, and a girl, it is, at first, rather hard to bear the men staring at us as if we are aliens.”

Even the prices sky rocket for them. Be it auto rickshaw fare, or a vegetable vendor, prices are unbelievable for foreigners. Nadav Tanners (27), a TERI intern says, “Shopkeepers often enquire about the nationality before telling us the price of goods. Things are different if we go with Indian friends.”