A Swiss view on the Hindu International Education Fair 2016

By Laura Leonardis, Junior Manager – Academic Relations and Projects, May 2016

I was excited to experience my first education fair in India taking place in the four south Indian cities – Hyderabad (15th May) , Coimbatore (17th May), Bangalore (19th May) and Chennai (22nd & 23rd May) in 2016. A few months of preparation later, the academic relations team at swissnex India was ready for promoting the strengths of Switzerland and its exceptional universities in India. After a last briefing with the team on useful tips from their previous experiences, it was time for me to briefly bid farewell to Bangalore for one enriching week of touring an education fair with my colleagues, Navya and Nina.

It was my first visit to Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Chennai. I was excited to experience these three cities from two perspectives – work and tourism. We were very glad to have Navya with us as she gave us judicious advice about the organization and the management of the education fairs as well as about the different cities, food and places to visit.

If I had to sum up my education fair experience in one word, I would say – sharing! Of course, information-sharing but also experience sharing at our stall between students coming from two very different countries, India and Switzerland. Interactions during the education fair weeks and the thirst for knowledge shared by the two countries, have somehow bridged the gap between India and Switzerland.

It was interesting to see the enthusiasm and interest of Indian students in pursuing their studies in Switzerland, especially in the fields of Engineering, Business and Economics, Hospitality Management and Life Sciences. Switzerland has developed expertise and global recognition in those sectors.

I recall a student highlighting the fact that Indians preferred the US for their higher studies. However, now, some of them are also considering European countries. We knew that majority of students in India had little knowledge about Switzerland. Our main goal was to show them that Switzerland is much more than chocolates, watches and snow covered mountains through our presentation. After listening to our presentation, many of the students approaches us to learn more about the country and its strengths in education, innovation and research.

At HEC Lausanne, I learnt a lot from the various courses, professors and group projects with students from different nationalities and cultures. For me, this was the best way to create new ideas and develop promising projects. The creativity that emanates from this diversity is one of the reasons that motivated me to promote Swiss Universities during the education fairs. Especially when I recall all the people with bright minds, motivation and the desire to make a change that I met in Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Chennai.

It was a pleasure to share my experience as a Swiss student with Indian students knowing that each of them will have their own unique experience studying in Switzerland and will come back wiser and open-minded.

Switzerland is a small country with a wide range of attractive ideas. I hope that the efforts put in by my team and I will inspire bright and audacious minds from India to head to Switzerland to ‘study and rise above the rest’.