Every year, city colleges see an influx of international students in various courses. But not much has changed in the treatment meted out to the international students, who continue to feel harassed and face problems — be it finding accommodation, hiring an auto or visiting a grocery store.
Ibrahim Datu from Nigeria, who is taking English classes at the International Centre of Pune University and has been here for the last five months, says he is already frustrated with the city. Finding an accommodation, he says, was a cumbersome task for him. “They look at us as though we are animals and not humans,” he says. Another problem is autorickshaw drivers charging them double the fare and refusing to go by the meter. “I don’t intend to find a job in India. I have just come here for receiving a good education and I will go surely back as soon as I’m done,” says Datu.
Noorullah Noori from Afghanistan, in Pune for the last two months, says he faces problems dealing with the shopkeepers due to language problem and gets cheated by most of them.
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There are other problems too. As per rules, every foreign student has to get their documents verified by the police and submit it to the Foreign Relations Office (FRO) within two weeks of their stay. Sosten Chimimba, an African student from Malawi studying economics at Wadia College, says, “It is here at FRO where the bad taste starts. The police deliberately delay the verification for a bribe as they know we have no other option. These kind of unfortunate incidences make our experience in the city bitter-sweet,” he says.
Nabila Mannan (22) from Bangladesh, who studies economics at Nowrosjee Wadia College, says that when she came to Pune for the three-year course, she couldn’t find an accommodation and had to stay in a hotel for almost 25 days and spend nearly Rs 20,000. She couldn’t even get a mobile SIM card as she couldn’t produce local residential proof and thus was not able to speak to her family back in Bangladesh.