The UAE leads the list of foreign students studying in the University of Mumbai (MU) and its affiliated colleges, followed by Oman and Nigeria. According to data available with MU, 32 of its 192 foreign students are from the UAE, while 28 and 25 students come from Oman and Nigeria. A majority of these students are NRIs living in the Gulf countries, who have roots in the city.
NRI students said the city offers them more suitable educational opportunities. “I passed Class 12 from an Indian school in the UAE. Although there are colleges teaching as per Australian and American standards, there are very few higher education institutes that impart education as per Indian standards. So, I came to Mumbai, as the degrees from Indian universities are recognised worldwide,” said a bachelor of accounting and finance student.
MU has actually witnessed a dip in the number of foreign students in the last couple of years. After increasing steadily from 47 in 2010-11 to 235 in 2013-14, the numbers dropped to 191 in 2014-15.
While the data indicates that the number has not really moved since last year, MU suggests more foreign students have probably joined after September 30 — the day on which the data was compiled.
Most foreign students in the city are enrolled in Engineering programmes and self-financed courses such as BMM, BAF, BMS and BBI. Around 17 students are pursuing post-graduation courses and PhDs in various departments of the varsity.
Yeseul Kwang Ho Jo, a South Korean student who has been living in the city for the past six years, said she chose Mumbai because of its economic significance. “While searching for foreign destinations for higher studies, I was told that India is set to become the next China and Mumbai is the business hub of the country. I got an opportunity to work as an intern in one of the city firms and developed many connections at workplace as well as in society,” said the master of management studies student.
The biggest hurdle faced by foreign students in the city is the high cost of living. “Paying huge rents is a problem. The university has not provided me with any hostel facility or scholarship,” said Giginna Rosemary Emmanuel, a Nigerian student. Getting document clearances from various offices is another issue.
The university runs a hostel for international students in Churchgate, which houses some of these students. To provide affordable accommodation for more foreign students, the university is building another hostel at its Kalina campus. “We are also working to set up a single-window clearance system for foreign students,” said Leeladhar Bansod, deputy registrar (public relations).