Sat, 03 Dec 2022

Canberra [Australia], October 7 (ANI): Two female Indian students in Australia - Divyangana Sharma and Ritika Saxena - have won the prestigious Victorian Premier's award.

Amit Sarwal, writing in The Australia Today said that these awards are an initiative of the Victorian government to celebrate outstanding international students in Victoria.

Divyangana Sharma has won the coveted Victorian Premier's Award - International Student of the Year 2021-22, while, Ritika Saxena won the International Student of the Year award in the Research category.

Divyangana has also won Victorian International Education Awards 2021-22 in the Higher Education category. She came to Melbourne to study nursing at Holmesglen Institute in February 2020, said Sarwal.

"The cultural diversity, inclusion of LGBTQIA community, education opportunities, art and culture is what makes Melbourne a unique city and works like a magnet for people wanting to study abroad," he said.

Ritika moved to Melbourne as an 18-year-old and is now a PhD student involved in stem cell research, reported The Australia Today.

"When you move to Victoria, you are an international student. But by the time you finish your degree, you will be truly global," said Ritika.

Award winners in each student category, with the exception of the International Alumnus of the Year, are awarded USD 6,000 each to support their studies and up to two runners-up per student category are awarded USD 2,000 each. The recipient of the 'Premier's Award - International Student of the Year' receives USD 10,000 to support their studies, reported Sarwal.

The awards are a ray of hope for Indian parents who are wary of sending their children abroad for studies after a spurt in hate crimes against Indian students abroad.

Notably, Varun Manish Chheda, a 20-year-old Purdue University student was killed on Wednesday at a residence hall on the Indiana campus allegedly by his 22-year-old roommate who is in police custody for investigation.

Chheda's roommate, 22-year-old Ji Min "Jimmy" Sha, from Korea is now in police custody and is the prime suspect in the case. Sha is a junior cybersecurity major and international student from Korea.

This raises the basic question of how safe it is to pursue higher studies in foreign countries and how cautious parents and students need to be before applying for student visas.

After several activities of vandalization of symbols of Hinduism including the Swaminarayan temple and anti-India graffiti in Canada, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has asked Indian citizens living in Canada to be cautious.

Stating that there has been a "sharp increase in incidents of hate crimes, sectarian violence, and anti-India activities in Canada", the Ministry of External Affairs has asked Indian citizens, especially students to register at the official Indian Embassy websites to ensure the fastest contact with the government.

The MEA stated, "our High Commission/Consulates General in Canada have taken up these incidents with the Canadian authorities and requested them to investigate the said crimes and take appropriate action. The perpetrators of these crimes have not been brought to justice so far in Canada."Canada is one of the top choices for Indian students studying abroad. Addressing the students, MEA said, "Indian nationals and students from India in Canada and those proceeding to Canada for travel/education are advised to exercise due caution and remain vigilant."Indian Embassies and High Commissions in foreign countries are in touch with local officials as well as with Indian students studying abroad and issue circulars for their safety and keep them on their priority list, the COVID-19 and Ukraine evacuations are a glowing examples of it.

These isolated incidents should not restrict parents to send their children for higher studies abroad. It is an opportunity to get a world-class education and global exposure. It is every individual's responsibility to be careful of his/her surroundings, the people they associate with and the activities they get involved in while living in a foreign country.

Moreover, to create opportunities for new businesses, start-ups, and innovation between India and France, the Macron government aims to have 20,000 Indian students by 2025 to study in the country, a joint statement issued by the two countries said.

"Recognising the benefit of bilateral student mobility, France maintains the objective of 20,000 Indian students by 2025 which will create opportunities for new businesses, start-ups and innovation between the two countries," the statement said.

The two countries discussed ways to jointly increase the mobility of students, professionals and skilled workers while strengthening their efforts to combat irregular migration between the two. (ANI)

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