African students throng Punjab's private varsity

Currently, over 250 students from nearly 16 countries are studying at Lovely Professional University (LPU) - the region's first private varsity. Of them, around 50 are from African countries.

"The response from international students is exceptional. The number of foreign applicants has increased during the last couple of years. We owe it to our cosmopolitan approach and world class standards of curriculum and faculty," LPU deputy director Aman Mittal told IANS.

"Africa has emerged as a good source of students. For the first time, students from South Korea and Indonesia have come for studies in this part of the country. We consider our university as the next Takshila in making where students from across the globe come to study under one roof," he added.

Mittal said the LPU takes care of all requirements of foreign students in terms of food, accommodation and even social interaction with local students.African students are very happy with the facilities in the campus and the hospitality of the locals.

"Coming to Punjab for studies is so far the best decision of my academic career. If I compare the infrastructure and other facilities provided to us with those in my country, this place is far better," said Adora Hope, a Nigerian student who is doing engineering in computer science at the university.

"Here we have so much freedom to pitch our ideas and resources in the campus," Hope added.

Allison Clifford, another Nigerian who is doing engineering in information technology, told IANS: "India is one of the fastest growing economies and I came here in search of better opportunities."

"I will also try to work in India for some years before returning to Nigeria. All leading software companies have their offices here and it will be the best learning ground," Clifford said.

Students from different African countries like Nigeria (25), Sudan (15), Congo (3), Kenya (3) and Tanzania (3) are studying at the LPU.

The campus is spread over 600 acres here and around 25,000 students are studying in this wi-fi enabled campus."I always wanted to come to India for a fashion designing course. I particularly chose Punjab because the fashion industry here is emerging very fast, providing a plethora of opportunities," said Nabila Karim Bhanji from Tanzania, who is doing bachelors in fashion technology.

"After completing my course, I would like to return to Tanzania and start my own business. Every day, I get many queries from my friends in Tanzania, who also want to come to Punjab to pursue different courses. They will apply for admissions in the next session."

The Lovely group ventured into the education business in 2001, offering BBA, BCA, MBA and MCA courses. In 2003, they started working in the direction of establishing a university and in 2005 they finally got approval from the Punjab government.

"I had seen an LPU advertisement on some TV channel and I applied for the admission. The education system is very different and here more emphasis is on practical subjects. The fee is also quite affordable if we compare it with the US or the UK," Asad Ahmed Mostafa, an engineering student from Sudan, told IANS.

"The weather is very good and I am also enjoying Indian food, especially butter chicken. People are very warm and these days I am also learning the Punjabi language from my friends!" stated Mostafa.

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