Indian Institute of Technology Madras has been consistently making an appearance in trusted higher education rankings, such as the QS, the Times Higher Education and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) rankings. Long revered for its academic reputation in the country, IIT-M has been climbing up global rankings by focusing on international relations. The ripple effect is significant; attracting international talent not only ensures an inclusive, multinational academic environment, it facilitates exchange of best practices as well.

Apart from recruiting foreign faculty and increasing research collaborations, IIT-M also seeks to attract international students. In 2016, IIT-M reported over 60% rise in foreign exchange students in a span of just five years. These exchange students, most of whom arrive from Europe and Asia, either seek research collaboration or wish to simply experience a semester in the Indian academic environment. And IIT-M has set up a whole ecosystem to make them feel welcome and comfortable during their stay.

The university boasts a dedicated Office of International Relations which caters to the needs of foreign faculty and students. Apart from academics, foreign exchange students are also encouraged to experience other, diverse aspects of student life at IIT-M – such as the thriving sports culture, a ‘student lab’ that caters to various passions (robotics astronomy, animation and more) and, of course, an artistic outlet in the form of cultural clubs and festivals. Every year, the university also organises International Day, a cultural extravaganza where foreign exchange students get to experience the Indian festive spirit as well as present their native cuisines to the campus community.

Indeed, IIT-M has emerged as an attractive option for curious foreign students looking for academic rigour and a new culture to explore. For some, the closed-wall campus is a novel experience, and the hostel life a luxury providing them respite from domestic responsibilities. Many also find that the faculty-student ratio at IIT-M’s Masters programmes facilitates an intimate and comfortable academic experience. Of course, a significant learning curve lies ahead for each foreign exchange student, requiring many physical adjustments (to climate, food etc.) as well as some cultural, like adjusting to hostel curfews and learning to bunk classes strategically to maintain minimum 85% attendance.

The experiences of German exchange students at IIT-M were recently featured on Manthan, the popular Hindi-language science and technology show on Doordarshan. Watch the segment below.


Manthan - a collaboration between Doordarshan and DW, Germany’s public broadcaster - aims to inform Hindi-speaking audiences of the latest developments in science and technology, with a special focus on innovations from Germany and Europe. Manthan airs every Saturday at 11:00am on Doordarshan. You can watch all previous episodes of Manthan on DW Hindi’s YouTube channel, here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of DW and not by the Scroll editorial team.