Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Latin American students looking to and visiting India

A group of 39 students and professors from La Sabana University of Colombia were on a study cum sightseeing tour between 22 November and 8 December 2012. They visited Delhi Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Pune and Mumbai. They visited universities, IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Delhi and some top companies such as TCS and Tata Motors

Another group of 40 Colombian students completed their three months' training in the Mysore Campus of Infosys in December 2012. This is part of the tie-up between EAFIT University of Colombia and Infosys, which has operations in Colombia. Infosys provides the training as well as boarding and lodging free. The students pay only the airfare. Infosys has extended this facility to other Colombian universities.

Students from a Mexican MBA programme also visit India every year  for 10-15 days and do projects on Indian companies and business between India and Mexico. 

But the most impressive student group which visits India is from Uruguay. Every year over 50 final year architecture students and another 50 plus Economics students visit India as part of their global exposure every year. The Uruguayan University has an innovative scheme of lottery to enable the students to mobilize funds for the tour. They say that almost every Uruguayan architect has visited India. Once I stayed in a boutique hotel in San Ignacio in Uruguay. The owner of the hotel who is an architect and his daughter who also studied architecture have both visited India during their student days. Carlos Ott, a Uruguayan architect is the designer of the IT complex of TCS in Chennai, which is the largest of its kind in the world with working space for 30,000 staff. 

A group of MBA students from Chile come to IIM Bangalore for a short term course every year. A Mexican University was keen to have a similar tie-up with IIM Kolkatta.

The Brazilian government has an ambitious programme to send over 100,000 students abroad for higher studies to make up for the shortage of qualified human resources for the booming market of the country. Our ambassador in Brazil Mr Prakash has worked hard on the Brazilian government to send their students to India too and organized the visit of a Brazilian delegation to India.

A number of Latin American universities are keen to have tie-ups with their Indian counterparts for academic exchanges.

Some Indian students have also started going to Latin American universities. A number of Indian students have studied medicine in Cuba. A Cuban vice Minister fell ill during his visit to India some years back. He was admitted to the Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi. The Cuban Minister was surprised to find that the Indian doctor who took special care of him, spoke fluent spanish. The doctor had studied in Cuba.

Arul, a Delhi girl who had an MA in Spanish language went to Buenos Aires to study bilingual MBA in a university in 2010.  She is surely an asset to Indian companies doing business in Latin America. 

A number of Indian-origin students in USA and UK also go to Latin America for internships as well as for part of their study abroad programme.

Some Indian IT companies offer internship programmes in their Latin American operations. For example, TCS has a centre in Montevideo, Uruguay, where they provide training and internship for students from all over Latin America. There are about 20,000 young Latin Americans working with two dozen Indian IT companies in their near-shore operations from Mexico to Chile. Aegis, the BPO company which is part of the Essar Group has 5000 Argentine staff. The Indian IT companies operating in Latin America are in contact with local universities. During my stay in Argentina I had organised workshops/seminars on opportunities for work/training in Indian companies in the campuses of some universities and technology institutes in collaboration with the Indian companies.

A Brazilian student did an internship with an Indian autoparts company in Ludhiana for a year.

The interaction and exchanges help the Latin Americans and Indians to develop multicultural skills to understand and deal with each other.  The two cultures also complement each other. The Indians learn to balance life by adding some guiltless fun while the Latin Americans get inspiration from the hardworking Indians hungry to succeed professionally. While an Argentine night club has Yoga rave parties free from alcohol, drugs, smoking and non-vegetarian food, the Indian youth is taking to salsa and tango.

Besides universities and companies even other sectors have started attracting Latin American interns. There was a law student from Rio de Janeiro who did  internship for a year in a Delhi law firm some years back. 

A young law student from Cordoba in Argentina sought an appointment with me last year. I gave her the appointment immediately because, when she called me on the phone she said , " Vanakkam Saar " . She had done a one year internship in Chennai with Surana and Surana firm of advocates. She has fallen in love with India and wants to work for an Indian company in Argentina.