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Study in India: Language & Culture

India has two languages: Hindi and English. Hindi is written using Devanagari script. But outside of the largest cities - New Delhi and Mumbai - very few people speak them as their first language. Major regional languages, like Punjabi and Guajarati, as well as dozens of other smaller languages, are the bread and butter of everyday communication in India. But almost all Indians will speak at least Hindi as well, as it’s the language of government. If you’re making contact with the state, you’ll need to speak at least one of the official languages.

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As India becomes more of a global player, the use of English outside of cities is rapidly developing. The language abilities of Indians are quite extraordinary. Most Indians can move between two, three or even more languages, often in the same sentence while conversing with the same person.

India has English as an official language because of its colonial past. It also maintains close, friendly ties with its old colonial power, the UK, and is building a budding friendship with the US. 

Colonialism has also impacted greatly on Indian culture. You can see that just by walking around the older portion of any major city. From Jaidpur to Chennai, grand townhouses that wouldn’t look out of place in Kensington line the streets. There are also the royal palaces built in the style of British palaces but adorned with traditional Indian carvings and sculptures. 

indian dancing

India has also exported its culture through immigration. Indian food is perhaps the best known and most popular cuisine. What better place to sample it than in its country of origin? Enjoy vegetable curries made from fresh produce in the Himalaya foothills in the north. Sample a freshly-caught fish curry in the Goa region in the south-west. Enjoy a tantalizing Indian twist on a classic British dish, like fish and chips or shepherd's pie, in the areas of Northern Mumbai where Britons and their descendants still live. 

India’s culture is among the oldest in the world. Throw yourself into it head on. Enjoy it and embrace it.

As for the crime rate, it’s fallen rapidly in recent years but is still higher than the government would like it to be. However, serious, violent crime has been significantly reduced over the last few years. Petty crime, purse snatchings, pickpocketing, etc., continues to be a problem in major cities. Take care to avoid known dangerous areas. After dark, only take routes that are known to you or are well-lit.

Sexual violence does continue to be a problem. There’ve been several high-profile cases in recent years. This has led the Indian government to crackdown on such crimes, meaning that the rate is beginning to fall. More widely, these crimes have sparked a national debate on women’s rights in Indian society. It’s important to note, despite this problem, foreign nationals are very rarely the victims of violent crime.

palace in india

Although India is becoming ever more safe, it’s not recommended to head to the Kashmir region in the north-west, nor anywhere along the India-Pakistan border. The region is disputed between India and Pakistan. There are regular bursts of violence. Due to the dispute, there are no relations between India and Pakistan. The border between the two is militarized. The two states are enemies and regularly threaten one another. Indian-administrated Kashmir is also the scene of ongoing clashes between locals and the Indian government over the region’s status.

India doesn’t have an official religion, but more than 80% of the population practices Hinduism. There are also Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist and agnostic minorities. Many of those who are British or of British descent practice Christianity. India is a secular country, although Hinduism has taken on more of a political dimension in recent years. However, as in countries like Sweden and the Netherlands, religion doesn’t play a role in law-making. 

Religion, however, does impact upon social views. Parts of Indian society are still deeply conservative. However, attitudes are changing. In 2018, India decriminalized homosexuality. Four years prior to that, it enshrined trans rights into the Constitution. In ways that are more than just technical, India is undergoing rapid change.

Study in India

India is a country with a world-famous cuisine, magnificent architecture and a welcoming atmosphere. This section tells you more about this vast country.

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Education in India

Want to learn about how the higher education system works in India? India is a great destination for a variety of students, given its good programs, lower fees and its world-renowned culture and history. Take a minute to find out more about the structure of the education system in India!

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Student Visas

Do you need a visa to enter India to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizenship. 

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Housing & Living Costs 

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in India.

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for degree programs in India are fairly similar. Both international and domestic students are expected to pay tuition fees in India. We've put together information on how this works, and on scholarships, in this section.

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Application Process

Learn more about how to apply to Indian schools and the documentation you need to do it in this section.

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Last update: 14 Oct 2020


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