DU gets more students from abroad

DU gets more students from abroad

The number of foreign students, including women, in Delhi saw a steady rise despite the perception that the city is India’s ‘rape capital’.

In the years following the December 16 gang-rape case that sparked national outrage, the number of foreign students has risen to 1,184 in 2014-2015 from 1,027 in 2012-13. The number of women students from others countries has increased to 546 in the current academic session.

Seven more women foreign students joined Jamia Millia Islamia after the gang-rape of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus.

University authorities say most of their foreign students come from South Asian and Southeast Asian countries. DU, for instance, has 311 students from Nepal, 55 from Afghanistan, 36 from Maldives, 23 from Sri Lanka, 23 from Vietnam, 22 from Bhutan, 10 from Bangladesh, and seven from Indonesia.

There is also a steady inflow of foreign students to DU from Middle Eastern, European and African countries like Iran (11), Iraq (7), Nigeria (11), Congo (10), Zimbabwe (10) and Somalia (two).

“There is more freedom here. Women back home can’t go out without wearing a burqa,” Hamed Barmaki, an Afghani at Shri Ram College of Arts and Commerce, said. He added that Delhi presents with an opportunity to make their own lifestyle choices.

On rising crime against women in the city, Barmaki said, “Women can be unsafe anywhere. What matters is the company you have.”

Kim Van Kastel, a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University from the Netherlands, says her family had apprehensions regarding her safety after the December 16 incident. She arrived in Delhi a week later.

“I thought some of their fears were exaggerated because of the orientalist media coverage,” she said, adding that she had come in the middle of protests that followed the incident. “I was impressed by the protests and by how people engaged themselves,” she said.

Kastel’s university too has more foreign students like her coming in.

French national Lucie Perez, who was an exchange student at Jamia Millia Islamia, said her perception about Delhi changed after she got to know the city better. “I gained confidence and knew what places should be visited in what hours of the day,” she said.

The head of DU’s foreign registration office, Amrit Kaur Basra, claimed that behind the
rising number are pro-student initiatives and assurance of safe campus from the university. Low cost of education and living expenses are also behind the growing number, she said.

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