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US educational body woos Indians

USEFI has decided to rope in Indian students in the US by holding educational fairs across India.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2006 13:17 IST

The US Educational Foundation in India (USEFI) has decided to rope in Indian students studying in the US to push higher education opportunities in that country.

The USEFI will hold educational fairs across India starting this summer, encouraged by the huge response to its inaugural US University Alumni Fair here.

"We plan to hold more fairs involving Indian students who are presently studying in the US and will represent their colleges," USEFI country coordinator (Educational Advising Services) Vijaya Khandavilli told IANS.

"These fairs will be held at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata and also probably in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad once each in summer and winter."

The first educational fair, with the innovative idea of having Indian alumni representing their colleges, saw 15 leading American institutions participate.

These included Columbia University, University of Texas, Bryant University, University of Colorado, State University of New York, University of Wyoming and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Khandavilli expressed surprise at the response to the inaugural fair that saw more than 300 students file in for the four-hour long University Alumni Fair.

"Frankly we did not expect this kind of response to this fair considering how cold the Delhi winter is but the inflow of students has continued from the start of the fair. That is an encouraging response," she said.

The USEFI also holds other fairs where education officers or faculty come down to India to recruit students.

"Last year eight groups came from US colleges for recruitments in the February-March period and again in the September-November period," Khandavilli said.

"An education fair involving alumni is completely different though - it facilitates student-to- student interaction and raises comfort levels among potential students.

"For one, students are able to relate to each other better. In addition to admission aspects, they discuss other areas like challenges and culture."

Virat Kapur, an alumnus of the University of Texas who took part in the fair, agreed.

"By having us represent our colleges, it affords the visiting students an insiders' perspective into not just the admission process but also at life in the US," said the electrical engineer currently pursuing his PhD in Austin.

Abhinav Dawar, an undergraduate student of communications studies at the State University of New York, also thinks likewise.

"This fair is about students' perspective - for students. I am glad to be able to help out information seekers and clear their doubts, many of which I myself had during my admission process," said Dawar.

The USEFI, created by a treaty on educational exchange between the Indian and US governments in 1950, promotes mutual understanding between the two countries through higher education.