10 Reasons to Study Abroad in India

by Published

Why study in India?

You mean, besides the chance to drink mango and rose lassis every day? 

Beyond that slurpable goodness, there are a million enticing reasons to study abroad in India. If you harbor the same feeling (pure curiosity, we reckon!) that has attracted world travelers to the Indian subcontinent for centuries, then your best bet is to listen to your gut or risk a life of curious regret. Put simply, just go for it! 

reasons to study abroad in india

Studying in India will change your life forever, and not in the same way studying abroad anywhere else in the world will. You will see and experience things that open your eyes to a whole new manifestation of life in our modern age. Studying abroad in India means facing the entire spectrum of the human spirit, experience, and resilience (and all the good and the bad that comes with it). And trust me — it is sooo worth it. Expect to return home a more informed and well-rounded person because of it. I know I sure did.

For those who are singing my Bollywood tune ;-), let's rejoice in these ten reasons why studying abroad in India will be one of the best decisions you ever make.

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1. It is a developing country.

boys drinking water in india
Studying in India means seeing new things around every corner.

Unless particularly well traveled, many college students from the industrialized world have not had the privilege of living in a developing country. Many study abroad programs in India will be a crash course in the nature of the social, economic, and infrastructural challenges that are faced by the majority of the world’s population living in poverty today. With nearly 1.3 billion people, India is one of the world’s largest and poorest countries. Exposure to urban life in India will be a very grounding experience to say the least. 

Recommended program: AIFS Abroad

2. It has a growing economy. 

beautiful golden palaces in india
Witness an economy that's booming — all around you!

The silver lining to India’s current challenges related to poverty is that the country continues to see steady progress and growth. Though plagued by stark levels of inequality (like much of the developing, and developed, world), India lays claim to a significant degree of wealth as well. Cities like Mumbai and New Delhi are booming as the country gradually integrates into the global economy. The ceiling is sky high for India, and it is a very exciting time to witness, as the next generation continues to seek new and innovative ways to tap its vast potential. 

Recommended program: Duke University

3. It is easy to get involved on campus.

group of young india women in wedding gowns
Amazing new friends are some of the best study abroad souvenirs.

On the latter note about India’s population of young people, studying abroad at an Indian university and making friends with peers from halfway across the world will be an incredibly rewarding experience. Many Indian colleges use English as the medium of education, making it possible to fully immerse yourself in campus life. If you make the effort to reach out and meet new people, you can become a part of the youthful wave which is helping usher India into a new era. 

Recommended program: USAC

4. It has great opportunities for global networking.

holi festival in india
Pro-study abroad students in India double their experience abroad to cultivate professional networks in between classes and lassis.

The connections you make while studying abroad in India do not have to stop with your Indian peers. There are many opportunities to become involved in the public or private spheres as an international student in India, where you can gain practical experience within a deeply enriching work environment. Interning or volunteering in your field of interest in tandem with your studies is a great way to meet new people, contribute to change, and sow the seeds for a future international career.

Recommended program: Semester at Sea

5. It provides an education beyond the walls of a classroom. 

cows in india
Get mooooving along your ultra-experiential academic journey!

Beyond the classroom walls, you will find that daily life in India becomes a highly educational experience by exposing you to a very unique cultural context. While you can make an argument for the distinctiveness of every country’s national character, even then India remains on a plateau of its own. You cannot formulate what life is like in India until you experience it and even then it is hard to put into words. Life in India is equal parts inspiring, frustrating, and shocking.

Every day studying abroad in India will bring its own life lesson.

Recommended program: CIEE

6. It has a complex history worth knowing about. 

indian elder
From opium to the British to the Silk Road, uncover its wild history while studying in India.

A huge part of these lessons stem from the country’s dense and complicated history. Most travelers do not know much about India’s past beyond the surface level. While studying abroad in India you will come to understand its mythical foundations through the Mahabharata, its centuries of warfare under the rule of kings and sultans, and its modern struggle for independence from the British Raj. Ancient temples, beautiful palaces, and sweeping fortresses all remain standing relics of India’s epic past. 

Recommended program: Carlton-Antioch Global Engagement

7. It is filled with affordable travel opportunities.

foreign girl posing with taj mahal
Weekend getaways FTW!

Since India is such an inexpensive place to live and study abroad, you will have the chance to enjoy frequent and affordable travel throughout the country, and you should explore as much of the country and its history as possible. From the sprawling tea estates of Darjeeling to the holy Ganges River in Varanasi to the Taj Mahal in Agra, you will have your hands full trying to reach as much of this incredibly diverse country as time allows. It is impossible to see everything, but by riding trains, planes, and rickshaws you will become quite the seasoned traveler if you try. 

Recommended program: Broadreach

8. It will provide you with enlightenment (or something like it).

sunset in India
You have more wisdom than you even realize.

India is a deeply religious place, and whether you are a spiritual person or not, your experiences traveling across the countryside and immersing yourself in the flow of life cannot help but lead to some metaphysical musings. The conversations you will have, the things you will see, the preconceptions you will let go of, your entire trip will make for a quasi-enlightening experience, as the world you thought you knew will change before you. Prior to returning home, you will be equipped with an entirely new perspective on life in our modern age.

Recommended program: Where There Be Dragons

9. It will require significant readjustment.

monkeys in india
It ain't easy having monkeys for neighbors...

Talk to most people who have studied abroad in India and they will tell you that the most difficult part is adjusting to life back at home. Reverse culture shock may seem like a strange thing to include as a positive reason to study abroad in India, but this is a very important part of the process. You might be disillusioned for a while, returning to the introverted perspective of whatever place you call home. Be it weeks, months, or years down the line, the experience of leaving and returning home, and adjusting successfully to both, will become fully integrated into your more mature global outlook on life. 

Recommended program: SIT Study Abroad

10. It will never leave you.

foreign girl posing with Indian temple
Studying in India means a lifelong love affair with life in the subcontinent.

And at long last comes the finished product: studying abroad in India will inspire you to travel more, to learn more, and to become the best version of yourself. The connections you make, the experiences you have, the realizations you have will all blend into a piece of yourself that will remain powerfully active as life moves on.

Recommended program: Carpe Diem Education

Next steps to studying in India

Now that we've got you whisked away in dreams of curries and elephants, we want to make sure you come back down to earth (for now) and get to work planning your dream adventure studying in India! We've rounded up our best resources to get you started:

Studying abroad anywhere has the potential to be a definitive experience in your education and your life, but making India a part of that experience can be something truly magical.

See all programs for studying in India