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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

They heard, they came and fell in love

Rameshinder Singh Sandhu, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 11, 2014
First Published: 13:44 IST(11/8/2014) | Last Updated: 16:55 IST(12/8/2014)

“Ladies and gentlemen, in the next five minutes we shall touch down at the New Delhi international airport.”
Sheer excitement coursed through numerous foreign students as they heard these words. Here they were, on their way to experience a world packed with various cultures, food and colourful hues.

The HT City team, on Saturday morning, interacted with a few foreign students who have just arrived at the Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE), Ludhiana, to pursue higher education.

More than just hearsay
The newbies opened up by sharing their prime inspiration for coming to India. Interestingly, everyone’s motivation was fascinating in its own way.

“My aunt, who is working in the High Commission of Papua New Guinea in New Delhi for the last two years, often shared many interesting tales about India. When it came to education in India, she left no stone unturned in eulogising it and often termed it as one of the best educational systems in the world. This pushed me to take admission here,” says Hayden Mesmin from Papua New Guinea.

For Ankamah Linda from Ghana and Ana Eecilia from Colombia, their friends back home who had studied in this college encouraged them to go to India.

“Whenever we spoke to them, we could appreciate how much exposure they had gained by coming down here. Other than education, they knew so much about various Indian cultures, traditions and even languages. This triggered our minds to set sail in the same boat. After all, getting introduced to a cosmopolitan world is the need of the hour.”

A quiet Bhutanese girl, Kelzang Deki, reveals she was never interested in leaving home but she made up her mind to do so after her father explained to her the importance of studying in a foreign land.

“Ever since I arrived here, I have met students from more than 25 countries. It is truly an introduction to a unique world where I feel I will gain much more than just a formal education,” says Kelzang.

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Not a land of snake charmers and saints
One after the other, the students brought to the table their impressions of the country that had inspired them to come so far away from home. While many underlined the fact that they knew India was a land of numerous religions, cultures, languages and cuisines, many also stated they believed in the common perception that it was a land of snake charmers and saints and that every Indian was highly superstitious. Thankfully, their misconceptions were proven otherwise.

Bollywood, shollywood
When it came to exploring India, they turned more ecstatic and zestful. They have planned to buy Indian clothes, travel across the country, follow Bollywood and Punjabi music, learn Indian languages, especially Punjabi and Hindi, and most importantly get used to spicy Indian cuisine.

“I already knew about Bollywood as I have personally seen many films being shot in my country South Africa. Now, I want to learn Hindi and start following not only Bollywood movies but also Punjabi music, which is ruling hearts across the world,” says Rodney Ndloru.

Another student Thapeto Florence from Lesotho, says, “As the Independence Day of India is approaching, I have already planned to visit the celebrations at the Guru Nanak Stadium with my friends.”

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