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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Treading a different path

Indian students are now going abroad to study non-mainstream courses that are not available at Indian institutions. Pooja Biraia explores what drives them

education Updated: Oct 07, 2011 11:31 IST
Pooja Biraia
Pooja Biraia
Hindustan Times

Agrowing number of students are now investing lakhs of rupees in vocational subjects that cater to their interests. These courses range from film studies, music and design to heritage studies, culinary arts and mass media.

Mainstream courses such as engineering, medicine, law and pharmacy are now giving way, in such cases, to these offbeat courses that help students explore their talents and provide unlimited career options. “The economic situation in India has changed. Where careers were once chosen according for their financial viability, youngsters in India are now willing to take risks,” says Kanika Marwaha, India representative for the University of Warwick, UK. There are also now more options in terms of alternative industries such as advertising and media and the number of students applying for non-mainstream courses is on the rise.

“Thirty Indian students were admitted to Warwick last year, for creative and vocational courses,” Marwaha explains.

Verna Magee-Shepherd, president and vice-chancellor of University Canada West, says studying in a foreign country also helps develop lateral and creative thinking. “Living abroad, attending a post-secondary institution with diverse student demographics and taking advantage of cultural opportunities augment one’s credentials,” she says.

A look at five students who picked vocational programmes abroad

Pooja Dhingra



Pastry-making at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris


Rs10 lakh

Before studying pâtisserie in Paris, Pooja Dhingra studied hospitality and international business at Cesar Ritz Colleges, Switzerland. At Le Cordon Bleu, the one-year diploma course focused on French baking techniques, including basic cakes, chocolate, pâtisseries etc. After the course, she completed a three-month internship with French chocolatier Jean Charles Rochoux. After graduation, she worked at a pâtisserie in Paris, then returned to India to start Le15, in Mumbai.

Rikhil Bahadur



Film and TV Direction at University of Westminster, London


Rs9 lakh

Rikhil Bahadur studied animation and multimedia at Picasso Animation College, New Delhi, worked with a film and media solutions company and helped produce several short films while in college. Deciding that he loved filmmaking, he applied for admission to a one-year practical course at Westminster, which taught him the art of direction and story-telling for film and TV. Since graduation, he has been assisting as a crewmember on films and is currently working as a freelance video editor and camera operator with NDTV, UK.

Paul Paul


Will study:

Music at Berklee College of Music, USA


Rs24 lakh per year. Paul has received a scholarship for first year

Paul Paul had been a regular performer at St Xavier’s College, where he graduated in economics in May and was also part of the college band. He decided to pursue his passion for music and applied for admission to a five-year diploma course at Berklee, with performance (drum set) and music business and management as his majors. Paul hopes to make a career in music publicity and promotion in India and wants to contribute to the live performance scene in the country too. Through his education, he hopes to create his own record label some day.

Radhika Dhuru


Will study:

Global Studies in Germany and Austria


5,400 Euro per year. Dhuru has bagged a tuition waiver

Radhika Dhuru studied English literature at St Xavier’s College and has started working as a writer for She then applied for admission to a two-year inter-disciplinary humanities course in global studies. The course is arranged by Erasmus Mundus, a European Union association, and Dhuru thought it suited her interests perfectly since she is interested in academic research and hopes to eventually be a writer in the human-interest field. After graduation, Dhuru plans to work for magazines such as Outlook and The Week

Malvika Bhatia


Will study:

Heritage education and interpretation at Newcastle University, UK


Rs14 lakh

Malvika Bhatia is a history student from St Xavier’s College and hopes to learn about heritage management and the role of heritage sites in fields such as education and tourism. Her passion for history and heritage made her choose the one-year degree programme at Newcastle and she wants to work for a heritage management company or for one that promotes cultural tourism.

First Published: Oct 07, 2011 11:27 IST