Having cemented its popularity as an educational hotspot Pune has been known to attract students from all over the nation. With the academic year beginning a plethora of youngsters have descended upon the city to pursue various courses. While for most the experience of getting the first whiff of freedom in a new land holds a lot of promise,it also brings along with it a collection of bittersweet memories that make the stay here worthwhile. Aravind Jayan,a first year student of Media and Communication at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (UG) says,I hadn’t planned on studying in Pune,particularly,but I wanted to pursue this course at Symbiosis and it happens to be here.
Most students though are thrilled to be studying here,even though it means moving away from home and family. Take the case of Divyang Rana who recently was admitted to the AISSMS College of Engineering. My brother was already in the city and I had visited him earlier. Back then,I used to enjoy meeting different people here and hanging out with my brothers friends. When I heard that I would be pursuing my Mechanical Engineering here,I was very happy. Sweta Srinivas,another first timer,who will be pursuing Engineering has come in to the city all the way from Nagpur with strong expectations and opinions. I had heard of Pune as a student city and had imagined its student atmosphere would be serious but when I came here,my opinion changed completely! It’s similar to a lot of other cities,with a similar mix of people and hangouts.
However Arti Zalani,a first year student at COEP,says,The only negative thing I have to say about the city is that students here don’t really seem that interested in studying. They’re more interested in going out and having fun. Like any other city,however,Pune has its own share of problems. Incoming batches everywhere will have to battle accommodation issues,unreliable transportation and high living expenses. While looking for private housing,Srinivas found that despite being exorbitantly priced,they seemed to have less security and facilities than hostel accommodation. She opted for hostel accommodation instead. Echoing that thought is Rana who says,It is so difficult to find a house in this city. I was only able to find through the friends I had made here earlier. I think it will be very hard for a new person to find a house here in the right location.
Transport is another story altogether; I live in Kothrud and have to wait for half an hour to catch a bus that will take me to my college. Bus timetables are erratic and travelling by auto rickshaw over long distances is too expensive for a student. I have brought my own two wheeler to Pune and once I start using that,transportation should be easier, says Rana. Arti used auto rickshaws to travel when she first visited the city with her parents and found that the rickshaw drivers tried to cheat them several times though she has learnt from her experiences.
These challenges haven’t curbed these students’ enthusiasm one bit,as they all look forward to making new friends and exploring the citty. Rana’s optimism stays undeterred,he says,Even after all the problems I have faced here,I love this city and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.