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The Student Exchange Program

February 9, 2015

A eurotrip is the dream of every IITian. The notion of uploading your n-gigabytes of pictures on social media at exotic locations that you once saw on Discovery Channel dominates almost all the desires of any random, yoga-class attending student of IITR. What if we told you that there exists a process by which you can achieve the aforementioned without dropping those infinite mails to random Professors of foreign land, boasting about your dedication and sincerity to their respective fields of interest? What if we told you that you could get a Student Exchange to a foreign university based in a european destination like Sweden or Germany? Expecting an affirmation to some of the posed questions from almost every student of the institute, WONA brings you the coverage of the opportunities at your disposal, in an interview with Mrs. Purnima Govind, the Executive Assistant at the office of Dean of Alumni Affairs.

WONA: Can you tell us how does the student exchange policy work?
EA: Though it’s an elaborate inter-collegiate programme, the epitome would be the swap of students between two institutes. This gives the student an opportunity to spend an entire semester in another institute, helping them gain international exposure and enhance their career prospects. Students are required to pay their regular institutional fee of the parent college while the residential and dining costs in the foreign land are to be borne separately.

WONA: How are the student graded in the semester they have a student exchange?
EA: The credits of that particular semester of the host college are transferred to this institute. However the grades of this semester are not taken into account in the calculation of the final CGPA on graduation. Students ought to ensure that they have gained all the credits specified for the undergraduate or post-graduate programme.

WONA: What is the procedure to get a student exchange in our college?
EA: If you visit our website, iitr.ac.in -> Academics -> Institutional Agreements. You will find the exhaustive list of all the institutes with whom we have a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) signed. A Student Exchange Agreement is prerequisite for a student exchange to happen. At the moment we have only 6 such agreements. These institutes give out advertisements specifying the date for the applications to be filed. The application needs to be downloaded from their website, duly filled and submitted to the Dean of alumni affairs and international relations. All the correspondence happens through this office. Of course, you have to apply a semester prior to the semester in which the exchange commences. The deadlines for the applications can be found on the website of each college and they generally fall somewhere in April for the Autumn semester and October for the Spring semester.

WONA: What all is required to get the student exchange?
EA: First and the most essential step is that you need to match the courses of the semester with the help of the departmental coordinator. The courses which are present in the course curriculum of IITR but not in that of the host college have to be opted for in the subsequent semester by the candidate. You also need the approval and the letter of recommendation by the HOD and also an approval from Dean of Academics.

WONA: What is the criterion for the selection of candidates for the programme?
EA: Though we have had student exchanges in the past, to make the system more efficient the entire system is in the process of being revamped. The redundant links on the website have been disposed and a new system to handle the international relations is being devised. The heuristics are in the developing phase right now. The CGPA of a candidate can be one of the criteria for judgement however, it is not yet finalised.

WONA: What can be done to inculcate awareness for the Exchange programme among the students of the institute?
EA: As soon as the offers open up, the information for the programme will be officially advertised. It has been suggested to put it up on channel-I. Students are advised to check out the list of institutions from the aforementioned web-page and also visit the internet portals of the concerned institute and fetch information.

WONA: What are the future plans of the institute for the Student Exchange Programme?
EA: We are working towards deeper and wider international ties. Ms. Jo Nesbitt, the Director of International Relations at the University of Southampton, arrived here in the campus in October of last year. She is visiting IITR on a 6-month long sabbatical to improvise upon the process. Once the system is given a structure, we will try to foster agreements with more foreign universities. We are also trying to have an interactive session so that those on the exchange can share their experience with the masses and hence create room for virtual learning.

WONA: Like other premier institutes, IIM Calcutta for instance, does the institute support the students who need financial backing for the exchange?
EA: As I said the plan is in its development stage so, it’s really hard to comment on this particular aspect. But this issue will be given serious consideration. If possible we would try to have a scheme to support the students so that their capabilities are not shrouded due to financial problems and anyone who wishes to apply, gets a fair chance of selection.

For further queries readers can contact the alumni affairs office directly on the office phone numbers - 5840 and 6699 or you can write a mail to the office of the Dean on the mail address- dean.aair.iitr@gmail.com.