Guide for Exchange Students at Delhi University

Ready for the big jump and need tips to prepare for your student exchange in Delhi?  Wondering whether this is for you?  This is the place for you to find all info related to being an exchange student in Delhi, with particular references to the University of Delhi (commonly referred to as DU).

Here, I provide first hand advice based on my experience at Hindu College, one of DU’s 77 colleges, and that of the numerous other international students I have met here in the national capital region.  This guide to the student exchange is a work in progress, and it will ultimately cover all of the following topics: accommodation, transportation, registration, academics, evaluations, negotiating the bureaucracy and sweet places to go to.

If you have also been an exchange student at DU and want other people who are about to take that massive leap to benefit from your experience, do leave comments – and plenty of them.  Also feel free to share this guide with students from your home university coming to DU.  If you’re thinking of coming out to India for an exchange, post your questions on this page or on any related page of the Guide to the exchange student in India and I’ll be more than happy to answer them.  Enjoy!

N.B.: The links below will be activated as they content gets finalized over the next few days.  Check back regularly.  Let me know if there are topics you’d like me to prioritize and write about first.

Is it for you?

Overview of my experience at Delhi University

Accommodation

Introduction to housing

Student residences (hostels)

Private flats

Academics

Introduction

Term dates

Registration

Attendance policy

Evaluations: examinations vs. assignments

Negotiating the bureaucracy

A few tips to make your life easier

Practicalities

Post and courier

Furnishing your room

Getting water

Printing and scanning

Mobile and cellphone services

Enhancing your experience

Learning Hindi

Fun spots on campus

Keep sane: travel outside of Delhi

Note: This guide is based on personal experience and is not a university-sponsored publication. Policies, rules and processes, where they exist, do change and are often applied differently by different staff or colleges.  Information here should therefore be used to get a general idea of how things work, and specifics should be validated with university officials.

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16 thoughts on “Guide for Exchange Students at Delhi University

  1. Umang Aggarwal

    Hi,
    I am a reporter with The Times of India. Doing a story on exchange students in the city. Could you help me get in touch with any? Would also want to get your quote for the story.

    Reply
  2. Reuben Lim

    Hi! I’m a Singaporean student currently doing an exchange at Hindu College! I just arrived a week back and came across your blog a few days back. Thank you so much for writing the guide, it came in really useful for me! I still have a few issues to iron out and if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you a few questions via email or something like that. Hope to hear from you!

    – Reuben

    Reply
    1. rethinknow Post author

      Hi Reuben!

      I just sent you an e-mail. Feel free to e-mail me back with questions. Welcome to New Delhi! I hope you have a great time!

      -Jonathan

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Post Office and Courrier Services at Delhi University | The Next Miles

  4. Jocelyn Devaney

    Hi! I am so glad that I found your blog, it is very helpful! I am from America and am in the process of applying to attend DU to get my Master’s degree. I have a few questions I was hoping you might be able to shed some light on. First, I have my Bachelors degree from an American University, do I need to include a High School diploma with my application? Secondly, is there a staff member that you recommend I contact to ask questions regarding foreign student applications? (I don’t think the staff member you mentioned in one of your posts is still working there). I have not been able to get anyone to reply to my inquiries. I look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Camille Leon

      Hi guys! I am also from America, looking into a Master’s at DU. This blog is so great. Thank you for writing it! I would love to see the answers to Jocelyn’s questions and also to talk to both of you about WHY you are choosing or chose to forgo educations in the West for one in India. What fields are you studying in? Did you learn in your classes, and do you think the choice you made to go there was cost effective? I love India and it would be so lovely to be able to get my higher education done there. If either of you know anyone else who has experience as a foreigner at DU, do you think you could help me contact them? I’d be so grateful.
      Jocelyn, what have you found out since you asked your question in February? Does this still look like something you might do? If we both end up at DU I’d love to meet up and get to know you!

      Reply
      1. rethinknow Post author

        Hi Camille!

        Thank you for reading The Next Miles. I apologize for letting this comment slip – I just noticed it. I hope this answer will still be of some help to you.

        Onto why I chose to study in India. To be honest, it would be more accurate to say that I was in University so I could be in India than I was in India so I could be in University. I am fascinated by all things India, from its politics to its diverse cultures and economy. When I decided to go on exchange, I already knew that things in India (like in many other parts of the world) are dramatically different than what policies, papers and textbooks say they ought to be. I was therefore conscious that a lot of my learning would therefore take place outside the classroom. That was fine by me – I was entering the final semester of a four year university degree in Canada and I felt I had already done plenty of classroom learning. I wanted on-the-ground learning.

        When push came to shove, that’s exactly what happened: most of what I learned was acquired outside the university setting. A very large number of my university classes was cancelled and little room is given to critical thinking in the educational system in India. There’s one version that will be acceptable on an exam – that’s the textbook version – and you better know it by heart. I was fortunate in that I was able to write several essays with some pretty hardheaded analysis, but that’s because I was an exchange student. Permanent students need to write assignments, which in my classes were as objective as defining an earthquake or summarizing a theorists’ world view. My professors were so kind as to let me pick the topics I wanted to write on, which allowed me to develop a sharp understanding of the specific matters I was interested in. Again, this is an opportunity permanent students don’t typically get.

        I learned an enormous amount reading the news, discussing them with locals, making Indian friends who went threw a slew of challenging (and amazing) experiences, encountering people who were once mercenaries, going to temples, travelling North, South, East and West. But I wouldn’t credit that learning to being a student at DU per se. Being a student at DU allowed me to spend a significant amount of time in India and to create all sorts of different experiences where I would get to learn.

        So all in all, I was immensely happy I spent time studying in India but that wasn’t because of the academics per se. It was because of everything else around it. If I had to make the decision to go on exchange again, would I choose India? I would say absolutely. Would I go to India to complete my entire degree in International Relations? I would say probably not. I very much value the kind of academic education I was offered back home, and I am not sure I would be willing to let go of that.

        That said, I was at Hindu College, which has a reputation for being an excellent college. I later learned that excellent is defined as really fun and students having an enormous amount of time to partake in extracurriculars, not to study. Other colleges such as the Delhi School of Economics and St. Stephens are known to be far more focused on academics and have a very rigorous approach. The college you are at will therefore have a great influence on the approach to academics you will encounter while at DU.

        On the costs aspect of things: public universities in India are certainly very, very cheap. Accommodation was very cheap too because I lived in a hostel. I paid $64 a month for my room and three meals a day. That said, there are FAR more people who want admittance than there are spots for permanent students. Getting a nice place through private accommodation is more expensive. All in all, it is certainly much cheaper -and by several folds- than university in America, but you have to know you’ll likely get a very different kind of academic experience.

        To sum it up, I think the question to ask oneself is: am I looking for an immersion and cultural experience or am I looking for an academic experience? I was looking for an immersion and cultural experience, and I was very well served with my exchange at DU. That the academic experience was not what I expected didn’t bother me so much because that was not the primary purpose of my exchange there.

        That was quite a novel haha! I hope it helps! Don’t hesitate to ask more questions 😉

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