Attractive scholarships, job opportunities across Europe drawing Indian students to Italy | India News

Ambika Subhash from Bengaluru is a student at the University of Milan in Italy. After graduating in business management from Bangalore University in 2009, she worked for 10 years in various companies across sectors before she decided to fulfill her dream of joining a master’s program abroad. An unfortunate accident in 2018, however, left her confined to bed and it was two years before she recovered.
“I faced depression, but at the same time, I found out about the masters program in Italy for which international students were offered scholarships. This helped me to recover and plan my new career.”

In April 2020, she got an offer from the University of Milan for a master’s degree in human resource management. And she hasn’t looked back.
The experience of studying in Italy has been very exciting for her. “Along with the education, I get to enjoy the Italian culture and explore beautiful places. I meet people from different countries. Italy is a beautiful country, and I have met many Indians over the past couple of years who have settled here with their families,” she says.

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Subhash finds the number of Indian students and international students from other countries increasing every year. “Our university offers opportunities to students from many countries. And that has helped us to communicate with peers from different places and to get to know and understand different cultures,” she says.
Initially, when her course started, there were travel and visa restrictions because of the pandemic but all that has been ironed out now. “Students from India are able to travel home and return to Italy without any problems related to the pandemic,” says Subhash who traveled back to Italy last month after visiting India.
She is now planning to explore job opportunities across European countries in reputed companies once she completes her masters programme. “I know students who have completed their courses in previous years and are now settled with good jobs in countries such as France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Ireland,” she says. But one big challenge that students from India face in Italy is learning the Italian language, she feels. “Even for part time jobs, that many of us do, we need to know the language,” she says.
The number of visas being issued to Indian students going to study in Italy every year is around 3500, says Federica Maria Giove, director of the Uni-Italia center in India, since 2019. Uni-Italia is the Italian government recognised agency dedicated to the promotion of study in Italy and abroad. The apex organisation, which has a center inside the Consulate General of Italy in Mumbai, expects the number of Indian students to increase this year. “Italy has the sixth largest cohort of international students in the EU and Indian students are among the top five groups with the numbers increasing every year,” Giove said.

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The reasons for bright Indian students being attracted to Italy, according to Giove, are many including that fact that some of the oldest academic institutions in the world are in Italy and Italian universities among the best known globally for research and innovation. “The recent annual QS ranking for universities has given universities in Italy top positions with high ranking in a range of subjects from humanities to STEM,” she says. Besides, tuition fees are affordable and lower than most other parts of the Western world. They are based on family income with no discrimination between national and international students.
“Studying in Italy is an investment in their future career for Indian students. Italy is a manufacturing and export hub; Besides there are over 600 Italian companies with operations in India which are keen on tapping the talent among Indian students who have studied in Italy.”
However, in a warning to Indian students planning higher education in Italy, she says that they need to be wary of unofficial intermediates and depend only on reliable sources of information during the application process.

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Sashwati Ghosh is a masters student at the Politecnico di Milano in its campus in Piacenza near Milan since 2019. She joined a MSc course in urban planning and policy design after her bachelors degree in Kolkata because the university is considered among the top 10 in the world for architecture and also has several tie-ups with other European universities. “The scholarships available for international students make Italy very attractive for Indian students and the interest is steadily rising,” says Ghosh who was in the first batch of international students, during the pandemic, stuck in India between January 2020 and September 2020 because of travel restrictions. But things are now back to normal and she is seriously considering the option of working in Europe after she finishes her masters course. “The jobs situation was not very good during the pandemic but things are improving now and many companies are hiring again,” she says. Ghosh doesn’t miss Indian culture and food because there’s a large Indian community in and around Milan. However, she too feels that learning Italian language is important for Indian students even though it may not be mandatory for their courses.
Nikhita Mudraboina, too, decided to do a masters at the Politecnico di Milano after graduating in architecture from Chennai because she was looking at architecture for a suitable degree in sustainable and landscape design from a reputed university with a high global ranking. “I looked at a lot of universities in Europe and found that this one fits my goals. When my portfolio was selected it was an easy decision to join the masters programme. The added advantage is that Italian universities provide scholarships for Indian students which are based on both economic and merit criteria. This is not the case with some other European countries where higher education for international students is very expensive,” she said. She is a gold merit scholarship student with 100% tuition, food and accommodation all covered by university She feels that the large job market across EU, including Germany, is a big advantage for students like her when they finish their courses with the requirement of just a simple work permit.
She interacts with the large Indian community in Milan and in her university where every class has at least 20-30 Indian students. “We don’t miss home so much and celebrate Indian festivals together.”

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IIT-Delhi alum Nand Kumar Kurup went to SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy, in 1997 for an MBA degree; and he never left. “In 1997 when I came to Milan there were around 5 Indian students all across the city. Now there are more than 1200 and across Italy roughly between 6000 and 8000,” says Kurup who expects the number to grow as more and more universities take in English speaking students and more scholarships are given to Indian students.
Getting jobs is not easy for Indian students after graduation – but Kurup, who runs a fashion company Inc Global in Milan since 2007, finds most of them wanting to stay back and live in Italy for a few more years at least. All international students who study in Italy, get a one-year window after finishing the education, to search for a job.
Indian students have blended in well with the Indian community in Milan. The main cultural association – Indian Association of North Italy – is run with the support of student volunteers.
Piyush Joshi who graduated from Mumbai University this year with a degree in business administration was very keen to join a masters course in a related field before he embarks on the journey of starting his own business. “Italy was the best fit for me because Italian universities do not charge high fees from Indian students; Many of my friends who are joining courses in the UK will have to shell out around Rs 30 lakh a year which would be very difficult for me. Besides, the classes will be held in English and I have been selected for a master’s program which is very suitable for me,” says Joshi who plans to join a course in international business and ship at the University of entrepreneurs Pavia, near Milan, in September 2022. He is now preparing his documents for his student visa application and has set up a social media group of Indian students in the University of Pavia 2022-23. “This group is a big help to connect with others who are planning to join the university this year as well as seniors who are already enrolled at the university and studying there.”
Thousands of Indian students are attracted to Italy for post-graduate courses in various subjects including fashion and design, architecture, luxury brand management, computer engineering, business management and medicine and surgery.
Phaniram Varma from Hyderabad, who finished a post-graduate degree in industrial automation engineering at the University of Pavia in 2020 and now works in Piacenza, a town in northern Italy, feels that the number of Indian students opting was Italy has been increasing over the last few years and the pandemic has not seen any dip in interest . “The quality of education and lifestyle and availability of scholarships attracted me to Italy even though I didn’t know the Italian language when I first came here,” he says.
Now, the number of students opting to join under-graduate courses is also increasing. Affordable cost of education; The availability of scholarships and employment opportunities across Europe are long term factors that will keep drawing more and more Indian students to Italy.

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