The Pennsylvania India Higher Education Initiative (IHEI) was pleased to coordinate with Pennsylvania institutes of higher education to host delegation of 40 students and honored guests from Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai October 18 through October 26, 2015.

The trip marked the first of its kind; a multi-campus visit coordinated by Pennsylvania universities working in partnership, focused on edu-tourism opportunities for Pennsylvania and India and working to create new long term partnerships with key organizations in India.  Students were selected by Ruia College to travel to PA with an emphasis on those interested in applying to programs in Mass Communications/Media and Life Science/Biology.

Team PA had an opportunity to participate in events coordinated by West Chester University, the first institution to host the delegation.  The day started with a welcoming address from university President Greg R. Weisenstein at the historic Phillips Memorial Hall.  Led by hosts Dr. Peter Loedel and Dr. Gopal Sankaran, the students had a campus tour followed by working groups and an opportunity to produce and edit clips for a live news show which was a huge hit with the students.

“Ruia College hand-selected these students and they did a great job; this is a very strong group academically and clearly a group of go-getters” remarked Mr. Charity Alinda, Center for International Programs.  This marked the second time in the history of West Chester that an international delegation toured the campus, and was the first group to do so from India.

Throughout the day, there was a comprehensive suite of staff from professors to admissions staff from WCU on hand to answer questions about the university, alongside currently enrolled international students who shared their positive experiences with the Ruia delegation.

As part of their tour across the Commonwealth, the students had first hand experiences at West Chester University, California University of Pennsylvania, Chatham University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, York College, Villanova and Millersville University.

First reactions from the students were overwhelmingly positive.  Many cited a new enthusiasm for Pennsylvania and their intent to apply after a successful visit.  Special Envoy, Kanika Choudhary will continue to work with Pennsylvania members schools and Ruia College to facilitate student applications via the Centers for American Education and future program for student and faculty exchange in both Pennsylvania and India.

The India Higher Education Initiative (IHEI) is an innovative, collaborative approach to providing specialized support for PA institutes of higher education in India.  Working together with the Department of Community and Economic Development, AICUP, and PASSHE the initiative pursues the promotion of Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher education as the premier destination in the US for student exchange, tech transfer, faculty development, and 2+2 programs.

Photos from the October 2015 student visit can be viewed below: