Take a journey with us to see the impact our India Office has had on life at Edinburgh Napier University over the last 10 years.
It’s difficult to believe that 10 years ago we were transported into the alien world of Pandora when Avatar was released. That Miley Cyrus rocked the country world (and every teenage girl’s world) with her teen hit sensation ‘Party in the USA’ (have a listen if you are confused), while Spotify became the new go-to app on Apple's newly launched App Store. But more importantly, at least to us here at Edinburgh Napier University, our India Office in Hyderabad officially opened!
In case it isn’t obvious and you wonder why this is such an important milestone for us to celebrate, let me try to put it into perspective. The best way I know how to quickly timeline the last 10 years is in list form. No need to stop reading here as it’s not a boring list, believe me the facts you will read are most certainly not boring. This list is exciting and most definitely worth a read (and a share/like if you found us on a social channel)!
1. From slumdog to millionaire
Has anyone ever watched Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Of course you have. Everyone has at least once in their lifetime screamed at the television when someone used a lifeline before they reached £1,000, or when they phoned a friend who didn’t pick up and you wonder ‘Surely they had told their friend to stay at home that night?’ In 2000, no-one could shout at Harshvardhan Nawathe as he stormed his way through the questions, all the way to the $1 million! He was then faced with possibly his most important question so far; what would he spend $1 million on? We can’t guarantee that he didn’t treat himself to a new car or some fancy clothes, but we do know that a good amount of the winnings were spent to get him all the way over to Scotland. Why is this so relevant to us? Well, because he decided to come to Scotland to study right here at Edinburgh Napier University.
Friday 17 April 2009 saw a newly appointed Ashwini Kumar as Director of the Hyderabad office. He claimed: ‘It is quite difficult to reach all the corners of India for recruitment, based here in Scotland. It is such a big country, in order to reach all the places where there is interest, we have to be there in India.’ With this in mind, Edinburgh Napier University took the long journey over to India to set up camp and start building a home.
Our Indian office is located in Hyderabad. Just a 50 minute drive from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport and a 9 hour 40 minute flight from London (plus the 1 hour 30 minute flight from Edinburgh). It may seem far away but the long flight hasn't stopped our International Partnership Manager Neil Austin from visiting an impressive 10 times in the last 7 years. We think he prefers it there to be honest, and with views like this we don't blame him.
4. The facts
I feel that now is perhaps a good time to give you a few statistics. Everyone loves a statistic to back up an opinion. So here they are: over 1,500 Indian students have been enrolled/graduated during the last 10 years, more than 400 Indian students enrolled in 2018/19 alone, we have over 3,500 Indian alumni and 332 Indian students currently studying with us on campus.
5. Successfully leading the way
Edinburgh Napier University was the first Scottish university to open an office in India… ever! Not only were we first to land on Indian soil, but Ashwini has led the India Office, with support from Priya Ramchandani, to continuing new levels of success over the last 10 years, which we admire each time we are lucky enough receive a new Indian student.
6. Our best year yet
While everyone is feeling in the celebratory mood, we have another milestone to celebrate. Changes to the UK student immigration system in 2011 resulted in a rapid decline in the number of Indian students choosing to study not only here at Edinburgh Napier, but in the UK. Not to worry though, since 2016 things have been picking up again and 2018/19 has been our most successful year in India since 2010! We are now the third top recruiter of Indian students in Scotland, behind two top ranked universities.
7. And the award for best new society 2018/19 goes to...
SASS Napier! Our Southern Asian Social Society (SASS) have been an incredible addition to the vast selection of societies available here. Society president Miriam Hussain officially launched SASS Napier in September 2018 during our Freshers Fair right here in Edinburgh. Her motivation for SASS came from her desire to meet like-minded people who, like herself, have lived between two cultures.
'I wanted to increase the visibility and most importantly create space within Edinburgh Napier to showcase South Asian identity and excellence' - Miriam Hussain
The society goals include:
- Showcasing South Asian student narrative
- Creating and growing a South Asian student community
- Empowering South Asian students to take up space within Edinburgh Napier
- Celebrating South Asian Identity
They currently have 26 members who are committed to meeting every Monday at 6pm.
To hear more about Miriam and SASS, take a look at their Instagram!
'SASS is a space where a community of students who live between two cultures could find home in one another.' - Miriam Hussain
8. International student ambassadors
Thanks to the support given by both Ashwini and Priya in our India Office, we are proud to welcome Indian students each year who are enthusiastic and engaged in not only their studies, but contributing to university life here at Edinburgh Napier. Two of our wonderful international student ambassadors, Catherine and Nidhi, have travelled from India to study with us.
‘Choosing to study at Edinburgh Napier is one of the best decisions I have made.’ - Catherine George
Nidhi certainly didn’t hold back when she joined us as she quickly became not only an international student ambassador, but a member of the My Future Group and the Bright Red Triangle too.
‘Being an international student, it is always important to keep in mind that the first few days you can a have culture shock. I told myself keep it going slow and steady and then I realised it isn’t really that bad.’ - Nidhi Mehta
9. Travel is part and parcel to this role
'I travel within my region for about 40% of the year and come to Edinburgh at least once a year.' - Ashwini Kumar
Ashwini spends weeks during each academic year travelling around his region recruiting and supporting prospective Indian students who are coming to Edinburgh Napier University. Along with Priya, he spends a lot of his time building relationships with our agents across the country, who support us in our recruitment efforts. It's not only for recruitment that our India Office travel, but also for staff and partnership development. For the last two years, our India Office has organised retreats to develop crucial partnerships and reward our best performing agents in Goa, India in April 2018, and Bentota, Sri Lanka in April 2019.
10. 10 events to celebrate 10 years
Our 10 events. We can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate 10 years of our India Office than with 10 incredible events right here in Edinburgh. Remember the SASS Napier society I mentioned earlier? Well they get a huge shout out here as they have worked incredibly hard to make all the events possible. Another shout out to Neil Austin who has done an incredible job pioneering and supporting all of our India liaisons.
Please don’t panic, I know so many of you must have been worrying there, but our events have only just begun! Granted, you did miss our Holi Festival celebration and it was really cool, but there will be plenty more to get involved in.**
**Just a heads up, I heard there will be outdoor yoga and some Bollywood dancing!
Here's to another 10 years
I'm sure after reading this everyone can agree that the last 10 years have been a huge benefit not only to the University but to staff and students alike. Now would be a great time to see an extensive list of all the names we have to thank for the ongoing success of our India Office however, that would just be too long. So all that is left to say is thank you or ధన్యవాదాలు (which is thank you in Telugu) to everyone who has contributed to making the India Office what it is today; an efficient, effective, welcoming and irreplaceable credit to Edinburgh Napier University.
'The India Office has been a vital cog in the international student recruitment of Edinburgh Napier University over the last 10 years. It made sure the University’s presence was heard here in India, a very important market during the tough era after post-study work visas. This good work has resulted in our university standing strong among the top 3 Scottish universities recruiting students from India in 2018-19.' - Ashwini Kumar