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Stand-out experience for Indian students

by Katrina Kalleske

The Indian students at the Mawson Lakes campus (from left) Lohithaksha Chengappa, Vivek Sivagnanam, Niranjan Ramprasad and Gautam Atulya Manohar.Four Indian engineering students are returning home from a UniSA exchange with 'the best experience of their lives'.

The students – Vivek Sivagnanam, Gautam Atulya Manohar, Niranjan Ramprasad and Lohithaksha Chengappa – came to UniSA through an Endeavour Scholarship from PSG College Coimbatore.

Coming from the crowded streets of Coimbatore to Adelaide, the students found the green open spaces at the Mawson Lakes campus a big change from their normal study environment. While in Adelaide they joined in programs run by UniLife and really got a feel for Australian life.

They went to an AFL game, some soccer games, on a dolphin cruise, a hike of Mt Lofty, lawn bowls and tree planting – just to name a few. But the stand out seems to be the food, and in particular a visit to the Haighs chocolate factory. And while they weren't inspired to try vegemite they definitely got a taste for Tim Tams, citing the biscuits among their favourite Australian food.

They said that the organised activities they undertook also gave them a chance to meet lots of other students.

"Being involved in the UniLife activities completed our visit here," they said. "We met lots of people who are studying here and got to see what students in Australia do on a Sunday afternoon."

The mechanical and electrical engineering students were chosen to study at UniSA from about 50 other applications from PSG. They were interested in studying in Adelaide after hearing from other PSG students about their positive experience at UniSA. And it's an experience they will be recommending too.

"Studying at UniSA has been an enlightening experience that will be with us for the rest of our lives," Lohithaksha Chengappa said.

"Hopefully there will be more opportunities in the future for students from PSG to study at UniSA through exchange, as well as through doing their masters or research degree as full-time students."

All four students said they will consider returning for further study once they complete their degrees in the middle of 2011.

The Endeavour Awards is a program run by the Australian Government to provide opportunities for citizens of the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Europe and the Americas to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia. Awards are also available for Australians to do the same abroad.