“We pay heed to a range of issues from discomfort to one's stay with roommates and language difficulties,” says Prof. Dr. Ameena Kazi.

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Prof. Dr. Ameena Kazi,
Foreign Student Advisor 
Jamia Millia Islamia

Q. A snapshot of foreign student strength at Jamia.
A. For every course, about 10% seats are reserved for foreign nationals. Most of our students are from Middle Eastern countries like Iraq, Iran and other Gulf countries. A good bunch of students also comes from East Indonesia, Malaysia and Afghanistan. The popular choice of course is political science, English, economics, management, languages and engineering.

Q.What’s the real barrier for students, and how do you support them? 
A.Things which hit them badly are language and food. Most of them prefer to stay their own. We have girl’s hostel which takes care of cook food of students' choice (less spices or other adds on). Since we are not a residential university, there is no provision of accommodation for boys. Most of them prefer to stay in PGs near the college. As of now, we have international boys hostel just for post graduate and research scholars. There are two kinds of rooms – one with AC and other non-AC shared by two students.

We pay heed to other issues like – discomfort with their roommates, money management, pick pocketing of passport or other valuables. Here we call police and intervene the matter seriously. These international students are mature – at the end of the end they know what exactly they want and how to take care of themselves. 

Q.How do they integrate with their Indian counterparts?
A. Our frequent festivals, seminars are a meeting ground to express and build friendly relations. The recent three-day literary festival to commemorate the bicentenary of Charles Dickens and Saddat Hassan Manto provided a forum to students to display their skills by engaging them in plays, films, quiz, paper presentation. Our Indian students often assist foreign classmates finding residential space, visiting market places, inviting them to celebrate festivals like Eid, Diwali and Christmas at their homes. 

Q. Any governmental measures to boost foreign student’s interests?
A.I strongly feel that the government should think about increasing the assigned strength of foreign students (15%) on campuses. We need more foreign students' presence as they are building good bridges. Many foreign alumni students have become diplomats today, who come with their children to join Jamia.  

We have sent many proposals which have sailed through various ministries. ICCR gave us a lot of support. We plan to build foreign student complex – filling it up with hostels, small library, theatre, mess only for foreign students. A separate zone for them is essential where they can comfortably settle down. We should ensure them that things go easy – in terms of tedious admission process to get housing facility in Delhi.

How Jamia tackles foreign student issues
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