Courses are held daily at Delhi University
Delhi # 2
From August 1st to December 15th, 2018 I was an exchange student at the National Law University in Delhi. In the following I will report on my preparation and my time on site.
My semester abroad began with an application to the Center for International Affairs (ZfI) of the Faculty of Law. I wanted to spend my semester abroad outside of Europe to get to know a completely different culture and way of life than the European one. That's why I was on fire when I heard about the cooperation between the ZfI and the NLU, because I have a special relationship with India in particular.
I was able to find the necessary application documents and deadlines on the ZfI website. If anything was unclear, I could easily contact the ZfI, which always answered my questions quickly.
After I had submitted everything on time, I was invited to a selection interview with the professor and other responsible persons. This gave a personal impression of me and questioned my motivation. The conversation was very relaxed and gave me hope for positive feedback. Soon I got the final approval for my project. The ZfI informed the International Office of the NLU. When I got the confirmation from there, everything was dry.
The planning of the stay abroad could begin. The ZfI pointed out to me, among other things, the possibility of funding through a scholarship, a necessary foreign health insurance and vaccinations. After I had informed myself, I applied to the RUB International Office for a DAAD scholarship, for which I was selected shortly before my departure.
I have also taken out international health insurance with ADAC, limited to five months. I found out about necessary and recommended vaccinations on the website of the Federal Foreign Office. This should be done at an early stage, as some vaccines have to be vaccinated several times and at certain intervals for complete protection. I have had myself vaccinated at the health department, which has the advantage that all vaccines, including exotic vaccines, are available. However, you have to pay cash in advance. However, my health insurance immediately reimbursed all vaccine costs after sending the invoices.
A visa is required to stay in India, in this case a student visa. For one, I first had to fill out an application online at the official service provider of the Indian Consulate General in Frankfurt, which consisted of a questionnaire. I then sent it to Frankfurt, along with my passport and the other necessary documents for a student visa, and the visa will then be issued. Although I had already applied for my visa two months before departure (the website states that no applications will be processed more than two months in advance), my passport and visa were not returned to me even after the processing time stated on the internet had expired. After a few phone calls and sleepless nights, the passport and visa finally reached me two days before departure.
Preparing for a stay abroad naturally also includes looking for accommodation. Since the NLU accommodates its exchange students in the hostels on campus together with the other students, I didn't have to worry about looking for an apartment. I just wrote an email to ask about the availability and price of a hostel room.
Since I already had a credit card, I didn't have to worry about it anymore. Otherwise this must of course also be requested in good time.
After thinking of all these things, planning everything and booking flights, I went to Delhi at the end of July. Since the university only has around 400 students, the campus is not very big and I quickly found my way around. I was accommodated in a single room in the Girls Hostel, in which I felt comfortable very quickly. All rooms were equipped with a fan and air conditioning, which also served as heating in winter. I shared the large bathrooms with several female students. About 8-9 students always shared a bathroom with two toilets, two showers and three sinks. We never got in each other's way. There was a cleaning crew who mopped the hallways and bathrooms every day and, on request, also the rooms.
At the beginning I was allowed to choose two compulsory subjects and three seminar courses that I wanted to take during my stay. In addition to my main interests, I also took into account when the courses were taking place in the selection. So I had Friday to Sunday off and could often use the weekends to travel.
The day in Delhi always started for me around 8 a.m., as all lectures started at 9 a.m. A lecture is 45 minutes long, so my two compulsory courses ended at 10.35 a.m. I also had the three-hour seminar courses in the afternoons three days a week. Since I only had two courses aimed at international law, it was sometimes difficult for me to follow the other courses. That was not because of the English language, all of the teachers were easy to understand. However, the legal system in India is the common law system that I was not familiar with before. That made it difficult for me to go into depth in the courses and to understand everything right away.
Although I had to do a few tasks during the semester, such as writing a project for each of the two compulsory subjects, preparing presentations and writing theses for the seminar courses, I had a lot of free time. I used these almost without exception to discover and get to know Delhi. With more than 26 million inhabitants, Delhi is a huge city that has a lot to offer. After the 4.5 months I can say that I really saw the entire city. I have visited sights, spent time in parks and gardens, enjoyed Indian cuisine in unusual and special cafes, watched movies, shopped and witnessed great holidays.
Since I had been to India before, I was no stranger to the cows, dogs and monkeys on the street, the rickshaws typical of India, the constant honking of the cars and the many people. Delhi, and India in general, simply has a very special charm that made me feel completely at home from day one. I have only missed life in Germany when administrative things at the university, as is typical for India, were done rather slowly and only after repeated requests. But that's the way it is in India.
In the period from August to December there are many public holidays in India on which the university also had holidays. So I was able to extend my already long weekend with holidays and travel. Since India is so huge and diverse, it is helpful to think about where you would like to go in advance. I made a long list of which I managed a lot, but not everything. 4.5 months were too short for that. Nevertheless, I have traveled to many beautiful places and would recommend it to everyone. No place is like any other. There are differences in the language, the food, the nature and the mentality of the people. Diversity is one reason I love India.
In conclusion, I can say that I only took positive memories and experiences from Delhi with me. I exclusively enjoyed the time and would do it again and again.
Apart from the unforgettable experiences and thinking outside the box, I am convinced that I have also developed personally. India as a destination for a stay abroad may at first glance put some students off, because most of the time you only hear negative things in Germany. But I can only encourage you to take this unique opportunity and dare to venture out. I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe in Delhi myself. Of course, it cannot be denied that in a city with 26 million inhabitants, the crime rate is also higher. Still, I was able to move around Delhi freely without fear or discomfort.
Even though I didn't take much with me from the apprenticeship at the university due to the common law system for my studies in Germany, it was a great experience to get to know another university and a different way of teaching. However, I have to say that the support for exchange students at the NLU could be improved. Sometimes I was left alone with questions or problems regarding my courses and only got an answer after repeated inquiries. However, this should not prevent anyone from going to the NLU.
I didn't come back the same person I flew to Delhi as. I would have liked to have stayed longer, but unfortunately for various reasons that was not possible. My next trip to Delhi is already planned. I can only recommend everyone who is looking for something new and unknown to dare to venture into the country and the city. I haven't regretted it for a second. But on the contrary. Now that I'm back in Germany, I miss Delhi very much.
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