India is cheap!
The Rupee is the currency in India and the rate of exchange specifies that one Euro correlates 60 Rupees.
Costs of studying
The costs of studying abroad in India are almost nothing. The most expensive investment is the flight (to go there and to come back). In addition the HS Bremen has a cooperation with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, thus we did not have to pay fees for studying in Chennai. Normally joining one of the seven IIT’s in India is one of the most expensive possibilities to study in Asia.
The living expenses are very low but they also depend on the personal way of living. Western products and some special restaurants can only be paid by tourists or high-class/caste Indians. On the one hand it is possible to get food and drinks in the mess for less than one Euro on the other hand people can afford to visit a five stars restaurant in the middle of Chennai to enjoy a great meal on the 20th floor for about ten Euro. Thus, for westerners, the price-performance is entirely satisfactory. But furthermore alcohol is relatively high priced for Indian circumstances. Whereas travelling is relatively cheap.
Costs of travel
For short trips within the city people normally use a rickshaw. In India it is all about bargaining. The drivers always try to charge a highly over-priced fee – especially to foreigners – but bargaining is very important in order not to spoil the price market.
Going by train is comfortable but very time-consuming (ex: 450 km in 9 hours – Chennai – Madurai). That’s why night trains are a nice way to go from one point to another. Travelling by plain is also possible with the Indian no-frills airline AirDeccan.
Buses are the cheapest but also the hardest and most strenuous way to journey. Indian buses and roads are completely different to European ones. Finally the public transport system is well organized and the railway system is splendidly constructed and one of the biggest in the world. Plenty of connections are offered by the Indian ministry of transport and the price-performance is exceedingly good.
The high Seasons are between May and July and December and March. During this time it is costly to visit India, prices of hostels are partly 5 times higher than during the off-season. Most of the time we paid for a double room less than 6 Euro a night during the off-season. There are different entrance fees (museum, zoo, sights etc.) for Indians and foreigners. Our student identity card allowed us to pay the “Indian” price which is mostly just a tenth of the “foreigner” price.
It is possible to get financial assistance for the semester abroad. The Federal Education and Training Assistance Act (Bafög) offers support for people who want to study abroad but the application must be submitted about eight months before leaving Germany to get the money on time. Besides the DAAD tenders a program to support German students who want to go abroad.