What are close to a thousand Indian students doing in Cyprus? Answer: Most of them are studying for a Harvard degree.
With a boom in cross-border education and Ivy League colleges setting up campuses all over the world, Indians — generally known to head West in pursuit of that fancy degree — are now criss-crossing the globe. From campuses in the Central Asian state of Azerbaijan to the Caribbean island of St Vincent, desi scholars are everywhere.
The ministry of overseas affairs, which released a report after the furore in Parliament over attacks on Indians in Australia, puts the number of Indian students abroad at more than 500,000 in 55 countries. But there might be more. Not all students register with the local Indian diplomatic mission when they go overseas.
The new academic topography spans countries from the exotic (Eastern Europe’s Moldova has 12 Indian students) to the troubled (Libya has 11) and even the war-torn (Iraq has 40). Esoteric Iceland has a handful (4) and Cuba five. The US, the traditional Mecca, has over 100,000 desi students.
One reason for the rush to unlikely places is iconic universities like Harvard and Johns Hopkins setting up greenfield campuses across the globe.