Hindi and English
Form of government
Federal parliamentary republic
1,210,569,573 (2011 census)
Indian Rupee (INR)
15 August 1947
You can be sure that around every corner (or often around two or three corners) you will find the exact opposite of what you have been told about India. India has everything. Many impressions come straight at you in a big way rather than seeing the odd thing here and there. As one of the most diverse countries in the world, India offers you a rich tapestry of experiences and insights. There are over 100 languages spoken in India, every religion is represented and the climatic differences are astounding. The sheer variety of this environment makes a placement in India a truly enriching experience.
There are around 1.129 billion people in India. It is the second most populous country in the world after China. Almost half of all Indians are under 25 with more than half of the population living in rural areas. The national average population density is about 348 people per km², with stark differences between regions. The predominant religion in India is Hinduism (almost 80%). There are also Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Different religions dominate in different regions and cities – and even between different city districts.
You can find the Bavarian-Indian Centre (BayIND) placements board at http://www.bayind.de/de/programme-foerderungen/praktikumsboerse/
BayIND regularly publishes work experience placements. This service is free of charge and aimed at all students from state universities in Bavaria.
If you would like to get involved in voluntary work in India or work as a language assistant, the FAQs on this website have general information about the programmes that can place you in India. German is a very popular language in India. Private schools are increasingly offering German language courses and are always searching for (professional) German teachers.
The Goethe Institute is particularly popular, and it is known as the Max Mueller Bhavan in India. http://www.goethe.de/ins/in/en/lp.html
BayIND will be happy to provide you with advice about options for being a language assistant and about the work of various NGOs: firstname.lastname@example.org
To facilitate exchanges between Bavaria and India in the higher education sector, BayIND has a range of grant options available. Those going to study, work or carry out research in India can apply for the BayIND Bursary or the Bavarian Minister-President’s Bursaries. The differences between these, the requirements and information on how to apply can be found here.
Further options for financial support and the bursary database can be found in our FAQ. Please ask your international office about any other options that may be available.
As well as financing your stay with a bursary, you might also try to negotiate a wage. Work experience placements are, however, a relatively new concept in India and not all businesses will have the financial resources to offer paid placements. Larger employers in the financial and technology sectors in particular tend to offer paid placements. However, this is more difficult with smaller organisations. Sometimes a company will offer accommodation and/or catering during work hours instead of pay. When negotiating a wage you should be aware that wages in India are significantly lower compared to the minimum wage in Germany. Since the cost of living in India is also lower, even a low wage will easily allow you to get by in daily life.
India has 22 official languages and over 500 regional dialects. Hindi and English are widely known throughout the country. English will be your easiest option. Hindi is spoken mostly in the north. The south Indian languages belong to an entirely different language family. It is not necessary for you to learn the local language, although it will certainly be appreciated if you make a little effort to do so.
English is spoken to a high level in the cities and by students, young people and professionals. The rural population and low paid labourers do not generally know any English. On the whole though, you will have no problems getting by in English.
Unless otherwise stated, companies will generally expect just a short letter of application along with your CV. Both should be in English. You must, of course, be able to provide evidence of any qualifications if asked, though these are not generally requested initially. If possible, you should speak with the Indian company by phone, as personal contact is always well received. Many businesses unfortunately take a long time to respond to your application – do not let this discourage you!
BayIND recommends copying your BayIND contact person into your application emails so that they can support the application process as well as they can. Sending applications via email is a practical and quick option, but emails can often land straight in the spam folder. In such cases, BayIND will try to ensure that your documents actually get through.
Life in India is quite different from life in Germany – student life and work life, particularly so.
When starting your work experience placement you need to bear in mind that the working environment is very different to that in Germany. Indian workplaces often have very distinct hierarchies and each individual will have their own specific tasks for which they are responsible. You will probably never see your boss at the coffee machine. These hierarchies run deeply throughout all aspects of daily life in India. People who are higher up in society are afforded greater respect. There are generally lots of staff members available to carry out more menial tasks, such as secretaries and cleaners, as well as someone who is solely responsible for preparing tea and coffee. As an intern, you will generally not have to take on any simple organisational tasks. Well qualified staff members are much harder to find, which means that you may even be given tasks that carry a lot of responsibility.
The working day in India is generally eight to eight-and-a-half hours. The day usually starts between nine and ten in the morning as a long commute is not unusual in India. The team will get to know each other over lunch. Even in business meetings in India it is normal for business partners to first get to know each other before actually discussing business.
Please find out from your local examination office beforehand which documents you will need for your placement to be accepted. It will be much easier and quicker to get these documents in person whilst you are still there than trying to get them later by email/post.
Regarding the dress code for offices in India, a neat and professional appearance is seen as important. You should dress accordingly for the office, when meeting customers and at official events.
Recommendations for packing:
• The dress code will be dependent on the business and the city / local climate
• One or two smart suits. And not just for professional occasions – you will soon receive invites to weddings and other celebrations.
• Do not take too many basics with you – items such as T-shirts and lightweight trousers can be bought inexpensively when you arrive.
• Despite the high temperatures at times, men should wear long trousers and women should wear skirts that are at least knee length.
• The best bet is to follow the lead of your colleagues. Flip flops and sleeveless tops do not make a good impression and should not be worn in the office.
You will need a visa to enter India. Your passport must be valid for at least 180 days to get this.
Alongside passport-sized photographs, you will need various documents depending on the type of visa – studying in India generally requires a student visa and work experience placements require an entry visa. For both types of visa you will need to get a letter of invitation from the Indian university or employer.
All the information about the consulate to which you should apply, required documents and conditions can be read online. It is sometimes also recommended that you contact the relevant consulate or company to confirm the documents you need, especially if the consulate is far away. It can take up to four weeks for a visa to be issued. You will generally get it much faster if you apply at the consulate in person.
Please note: It is sometimes necessary to pay an immediate fee in cash when attending the consulate in person! You should find out beforehand by telephone to ensure that you take enough money with you. It will take longer if you send your passport in by post.
It is important to note that the issue date of the visa is the same as its first day of validity. Therefore, you should not submit your visa application too early if you want to spend as much time in India as possible.
If you are staying in India for a longer period, we highly recommend taking out overseas health insurance. Many insurers in Germany offer this. You should look into this as early as possible as not all insurers offer multi-month contracts or special conditions for studying aboard. Once you have bought your insurance, you should keep hold of all important documents. It is also a good idea to keep a scanned copy and save it somewhere safe.
The situation with accommodation depends very much on the city in which you will be working. You should ask your contact at the Indian company if they can help you find somewhere to live or if they can provide you with somewhere themselves. The traffic in Indian cities can mean long and nerve-racking commutes, so we recommend finding somewhere near to your workplace.
You should be careful when dealing with agencies as these can often demand very high fees. You can often get helpful advice and tips from groups on social media networks such as Facebook, where adverts are also posted. The cheaper the accommodation, the simpler its furnishings will be. Be sure to view the apartment/room before signing a rental contract or paying a deposit!