HYDERABAD: We all have read of the horrific shooting incident in Kansas that nipped the dreams of Srinivas Kuchibhotla and his family members in the bud. With incidents of hate crime rising in the ‘Land of Opportunity,’ many students are now having second thoughts on choosing US as a preferred destination for higher studies.
“Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on education in another country when you can avail the same at Germany’s top institutes at practically zero cost, with the added benefit of securing attractive scholarships”, says Amita Desai, Founding Director of Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad (GZH).
Barring a few specialised courses, education in Germany is free. After studies, you have a two-year window to search for jobs, and the duration of the work visa depends on the employer, adds Amita.
“For students interested in learning German, we are open seven days a week.
Comprising different batches, courses begin at 6:30 am and continue till 8 pm. We also train teachers at 25 schools, including Kendriya Vidyalayas, etc., and work with them to upgrade their skills”, said Padmavathi, Head of Language department at GZH.
Not just education, Germany is taking big strides in the field of environment sustainability, says Amita. “Chancellor Angela Merkel set a 10-year goal in 2011 for the country to be free of nuclear energy. Currently, nearly two-thirds of Germany runs on clean energy, and that is a big accomplishment”, she adds.
Seeking to replicate Germany’s success story in environment, GZH, in association with Chirec International School and Green Gables International School in the city, has recently started a programme ‘KiddoGardener’. “This is a three-month initiative to create ‘urban farmers’ in kids and teach them environmentally sustainable ways of growing vegetables”, said Narsing Arravally, Founder of KiddoGardener.
Practicing what they preach, the terrace of Goethe’s guesthouse, adjacent to GZH office, is cultivating Brinjal, Capsicum, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Coriander, and many other vegetables, without the use of pesticides.
“Workshops are also being taught to schoolchildren on various topics such as plastic management, pest management, recycling used items, compost management, garbage segregation, etc.”, adds Narsing.
Amita Desai is also the Honorary Representative of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. She oversees two-way promotion of art and culture initiatives between Hyderabad and Hamburg.
“Recently, two designers came from Hamburg, and over 20 students worked with them on architecture designs. We also have yearly school-exchange programmes between Hamburg and Hyderabad,” she adds.
On future goals, Amita adds that for the convenience of learners, plans are on to create additional language centres, one each in Secunderabad and Kukatpally.
Signing off, Amita Desai says, “We shouldn’t be building walls, but breaking them”. Words of wisdom, aren’t they?