Study Abroad Colleges

At home everywhere

Studying outside one’s country, stepping out of one’s comfort zone, is not easy. Students are anxious about adapting to a different culture and finding new friends while parents worry about how their wards would fare in an alien land in the midst of strangers.

Universities across Wales, U.K., have strong international student support systems in place to quell apprehensions. But it is Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU) that has set a benchmark. It has been ranked top in the U.K. for overall international student support six times by the International Student Barometer survey.

This is the fruit of the hard work of people such as Mukul Madahar, who came to the U.K in 1997 as a student and today heads CMU’s MBA Programme as Director-Principal Lecturer. Managing 1,300 students from 16 nationalities in his department, of which 10% are Indians, Mukul has a way of impressing and influencing his students. “I can relate to the tension and hardships that students, and particularly Indian parents, undergo,” he says. He is popular among his students for going out of the way to help them.

Biju Nair from Kerala, who joined CMU as a student under Mukul seven years back, is also a faculty now. “I found the support for finance, accommodation and career to be excellent. I am now a student ambassador and help newcomers settle down,” he says.

At home everywhere
 

An interaction with a cross section of Indian students from different departments at CMU showed that not only are international students respected and valued for their different perspectives, but are also prepared to contribute positively towards enriching university life.

“This is the only way forward to becoming true global citizens,” says Leena from Colombia, who has been an international student ambassador for two years now.

Inclusive enironment

“Students come here from across the world and most of them find everything completely different. But we ensure that they do not feel nervous, home-sick or out-of-place,” she says. “Our welcoming activities, get-togethers and the induction and introduction parties help overseas students find and establish their second families here,” she adds.

Himansha Nagi from Delhi, who is doing bachelor’s in psychology, says, “The opportunity to engage with different cultures makes each of us a more fulfilled person and also provides a significant stepping stone for our future self-development.”

At home everywhere
 

Humanitarian gestures bind the faculty and students at CMU and put everyone at ease. Says Lokateja, a first-year MBA student from Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh, “I wanted to be independent and I am glad I chose this university. The warmth and hospitality of the people here make me feel comfortable and want to stay on.” The 96% employability record of the MBA department and the option of joining part-time jobs add to the allure.

Students benefit from the project modules they work on, the industrial contacts the university helps them to get and the case studies they are required to build up. Each of them gets personal tutors not only to guide them in lessons and assignments but also to help them hone their English writing skills. “Many of us also develop interest in sports and voluntary work,” says Manasi Prasad, doing her M.Sc. in applied public health.

The all-round support that students get justifies their travel away from their families and friends. Many a time, more than knowledge acquisition, life’s basic and general skill set and communication abilities make a better global citizen.

The writer was in Wales as part of Welsh Government's Education familiarisation trip.


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Printable version | Jul 22, 2021 2:35:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/colleges/at-home-everywhere/article18053138.ece

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