The number of Indian students going to study in Georgia, a country located at the intersection of east Europe and west Asia, continues to rise. In 2021, Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar, during a visit to Georgia, had estimated the number of Indian students in the country at 8000.
Most of the Indian students, who choose Georgia, go there for medical studies at various universities including Tbilisi State Medical University, European University, Caucasus International University, New Vision University, Geomedi University, David Tvildiani University, Kutaisi University and Batumi Shota Rustaveli University. Chinmay Sharad Jadhav went to Georgian American University (GAU) in November 2018, to pursue an MD course – which is equivalent to MBBS in India – after finishing Class 12 from Pune and qualifying for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate), the medical entrance examination in India.
“Out of the options available for foreign medical graduation, Georgia was affordable and a safe country for Indian citizens,” says Jadhav. Another important reason for his choice was the fact that there are over 20 universities across Georgia based in the cities of Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi; which are approved by India’s National Medical Commission.
“We get quite an exposure to patients all through the medical course as many of our core medical subjects are conducted in the hospitals. The degree we get is approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and it is convenient to apply for examinations such as Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB); which is required for foreign-trained doctors in the UK and the US Medical Licensing Examination,” Jadhav says.
Most Indian students in Georgia are studying medical courses, with 24 universities in the country now accepting Indian students.
“I run an NGO, Cultural Diversity, to help Indian students with various issues including legal support and helping them connect with local people through cultural activities. Recently we organised the Indian Independence Day celebrations and we also organise various Indian festivals such as Holi, Diwali, Navratri, Ram Navmi, International Yoga Day and other events,” says Darpan Prasher, who moved to Georgia in 2002 from Delhi with a job, and is now settled there.
Through his NGO, Prasher helped Indian students in Georgia in several ways during the pandemic including distributing emergency supplies and helping in the evacuation efforts of the Indian government through the Indian Embassy in Armenia, Yerevan. He also helped some of them arrange a special charter flight to go back to India.
Indian students usually find the people of Georgia very welcoming and interested in Indian culture. “Older people here are fans of Bollywood and Hindi film songs. This is very comforting for students who are living far away for our home and country,” says Jadhav who plans to return to India after he finishes his education in Georgia.
But it’s not medical students who choose Georgia. Ananya Atri, who had to discontinue a course that she was studying in Latvia during the pandemic; decided to join the International Black Sea University in Georgia because it offered her the opportunity to continue her education remotely.
“After the situation improved, I travelled to Georgia in 2022. I chose a university in Georgia because of the positive feedback I received from friends who were studying there. They praised the friendly atmosphere, quality of education, and the good standard of living for international students. Additionally, Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi, is globally recognised as one of the safest cities for studying abroad,” says Atri who finished school in Delhi before she started her overseas education journey. She is enrolled at the International Black Sea University, where she is majoring in international relations.
“While there are numerous students from various countries in Georgia, the majority of Indian students are pursuing medical programmes in different universities. However, I am the only Indian student in my class at my university. Despite this, the university maintains a multicultural environment, making me feel fully integrated,” she says. For Atri, a big advantage of studying in Georgia is quality education in a variety of subject areas, including the humanities, social sciences, and medicine, at an inexpensive cost.
“Students from all around the world are drawn to its varied, English-taught programmes, which promote intercultural understanding. The environment is secure and easy, and graduates have better chances abroad thanks to their international renown. Georgia’s location in Europe makes it convenient for travel and adventure,” she says. Atri has taken a language course and plans to study further in Georgia leveraging the enriching and peaceful atmosphere provided by her university and the country.
While students comprise the largest number of Indians in Georgia; there are several businesses including hotels and restaurants run by Indians as well. There are also several Indian professionals working in power transmission and the steel industry and farmers in Georgia.
In fact, Georgia has recently introduced the eVisa facility for Indian tourists and business persons following a significant increase in demand. Georgia eVisa is a two-step process wherein the applicant first applies for the eVisa and at the second step uploads additional information on DuVerify page which goes through various background checks after which a report is submitted to the ministry of foreign affairs of Georgia to provide the decision on the application. This background verification tool is provided by DUDigital.