Muthuveeran Ramasamy is happy his research holds the possibility of gainful employment for rural youth.

I felt privileged to have secured a research scholar’s position (in social science) at the University of Cologne (UoC). The university was recently awarded the “elite university” status by the German University Excellence Initiative, in “Meeting the challenges of change and complexity.” World-renowned academicians, scholars and Nobel laureates are among the UoC alumni.

The research programmes at the university focus on research-based innovative solutions to practical problems. The research and teaching culture at the university nurtures young minds and stimulates them to think independently. As in many other German universities, the UoC does not take any tuition fee. The Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences is one of the largest and most esteemed schools in Europe. This faculty has been accredited by the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). As the university offers many courses in English medium, there has been an increase in the number of international students who come to study here.

The German Research Center for Comparative Vocational Education and Training (GREAT) at the University of Cologne has been involved in research in vocational education and training (VET), the labour market and developing competencies. The Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CMIS) at the University of Cologne, established in 2010, is an interdisciplinary centre that combines research activities in rural development in India, aspects of business administration, economics, Tamil studies, vocational education and training. The university has successful cooperation with many premier Indian universities.

Being a rural development professional, this motivated me to work on vocational skill development for rural people. The research project undertaken jointly with VIT University, Vellore, India, should bear fruit in the coming years by engaging rural youth and women in gainful employment.Cologne lifeLife in Germany not only exposed me to high-quality academics, but also to managing life independently, planning systematically and working in an organised manner. Hostel life is a wonderful student experience. It gives one the opportunity to get to know fellow students from various parts of the world. Cologne, where the university is situated, is a picturesque city, along the river Rhine. The large number of international students with a diverse culture makes the city more lively, energetic and youthful.

The writer is a research scholar, University of Cologne, Germany. Email: