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India exchange program enlarges Livingstone students’ perspectives

SALISBURY — To gain cultural experience, Livingston College offers a study-abroad program allowing students to study at three universities in India.

The program in February became more desirable as Livingstone was accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

Livingstone students can study in India their sophomore and junior years.

Martel Curtis spoke at a college assembly last month about how his interest in studying abroad helped him become a better business leader.

“I realized a long time ago the importance and advantage of going outside your country,” Curtis said. “For me, I enjoyed the culture, the language and more so seeing business perspectives of students and other people I met.”

Students can study at Alliance University, Lovely Professional University and Invertis University.

The study-abroad program is a win-win, said State Alexander, executive assistant to Livingstone’s president.

“We will learn something from them, and they will learn something from us,” Alexander said.

Colin Pillay, associate professor in of business, said at Alliance University in Bangalore, students can see a city that has a fast-growing economy with a close integration of business and academics.

R.D. Sharma, dean of the Livingstone business department, said every student at Alliance University gets a job in their chosen field.

Pillay added that’s not by luck or chance.

Alexander said having business and academics integrated is something Livingstone strives for using the Indian universities as examples.

Salisbury City Council member and architect Karen Alexander visited Livingstone students at Lovely Professional University in March.

“It was very exciting to see the students from Livingstone thriving there,” Alexander said.

She urged the college to pursue its accreditation and its study-abroad program, something she sees as important for Salisbury.

“It’s a way as a business person to support a program and a school that’s very innovative,” she said.

State Alexander said what the students learn through their experience abroad are seeds that lead to business opportunities.

“Those kinds of opportunity for our city are highly important,” he said.

Pillay said being in a different country allows the students to think in a different way.

“All these differences help us think of the creative processes,” Pillay said.

“When we are in different counties, we learn more,” Sharma added.

Asima Bashir, a student at Lovely Professional University, spent a semester at Livingston College in the fall.

“As we see what’s going on around the world, it makes us think in a broader dimension because of broader knowledge,” Bashir said.

The differences in the education systems in India and the U.S. came as a surprise to Bashir. 

She said people at Livingstone are friendlier. In India, many are friendly only in their friends groups, but people are welcoming, helpful and giving, she said. The classroom environment is stricted in India; when the teacher enters the classroom, all students stand up as a form of respect.

Bashir said she advises those who want to study abroad to bring the good things from their country to share and also be willing to take back the good things learned in the host country to narrow cultural differences.

State Alexander said while studying abroad, what students are capable of doing is enlarged and they are not trapped in their own town or neighborhood.

Karen Alexander said when you go to a different country, there are a lot of things different from your expectations, which is similar to her experience as an entrepreneur.

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