Bournemouth University is hosting 12 students from the Symbiosis International University in India as part of ‘Destination England’, a two-week, student mobility programme.
The students, all undergraduates from the Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts (SSLA) in Pune, arrived on campus on May 12, and based in the Faculty of Media and Communication (FMC).
“The idea is to enhance student experience and facilitate exposure to educational and work cultures abroad,” said Dr Chindu Sreedharan, the lead coordinator for the programme. “Last month, ten BU students spent time at the SSLA. They had a wonderful learning opportunity, taking a range of classes—from Indian philosophy to Bollywood dancing—and I hope the SSLA students have a similar, fulfilling experience with us.”
Dr Sreedharan organised the programme with FMC colleague Dr Salvatore Scifo, and Dr Alastair Morrison and Kerry Leanne-Berry of BU’s International Development team.
While at BU, the visiting students have a packed schedule that weaves together an interdisciplinary programme drawing from media, journalism, international politics, and management. Sessions so far have included ‘Global citizenship: encountering the Other’, ‘Community radio in Britain’, and ‘New media: science futorology and predictions’. Students also received training in camera work and video editing.
“A lot of what we’re covering here is so different and interesting,” says Pashmi Shah, a media major, who is about to start her final year at SSLA. “I have two semesters left in my programme and I think everything I learn will help me for those two semesters and further.”
Mehak Wadhwani, a third-year English major at SSLA, said a large part of the experience of studying abroad lies outside the classroom—in the people you meet, the places you visit, the stories you hear and even the food you eat.
“All that perspective can only help you grow.” Mehak said, “It’s one thing to experience England as a tourist, but I think that the representation we’re encountering right now is more authentic.”
The SSLA students have several field trips in their schedule, including visits to Stonehenge and Bath, and chronicle their experiences at BU and beyond on Cross Country, a group blog.
The exchange programme is among the first activities organised by Connect India, BU’s newly launched Hub of Practice for South Asia, which aims to foster collaborations between BU academics and their counterparts in the Indian industry and educational institutionals.
“In the next two years, we hope to have more of our students and staff travelling to India,” said Dr Sreedharan, who is also the principal investigator for Connect India. “And there should be more students visting us from India as well.”