After being inspired by author Alyssa Ayres’ presentation at Virginia Tech on the role of science and technology in U.S.-India relations, a faculty member has donated $10,000 to the Global Education Office.

Wanting to encourage students to consider programs in India, the donor, who wishes to remain unnamed, specified that funds be used for scholarships to study abroad in the country. Similar to national trends, most Virginia Tech students tend to study abroad in European countries. Of 1,467 students who studied abroad last year, 52 went to India. Virginia Tech faculty currently offer five India study abroad programs

“As India continues to rapidly progress in areas such as technology, energy, education, and business, it becomes vitally important for Virginia Tech students to have an understanding of the country and its people,” said Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs. “This contribution and the establishment of the U.S.-India Study Abroad scholarship will positively impact student lives for years to come.” 

Man riding an elephant down an ancient stone road.
India study abroad programs give students in-depth exposure to the country and its people.

Students of any major are eligible for the scholarships. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The donor drew further inspiration from Ayres’ 2018 book, “Our Time Has Come: How India is Making Its Place in the World.” The book considers the growing role India plays internationally and the implications its rise will have on other countries. The book was recently selected for the Summer 2018: Politics list of the Financial Times.

Ayres said of the scholarship donation, “To be honest, an author is never quite sure what kind of impact a book can have, and I could not possibly have asked for a more gratifying example. It’s nice to get a book review, but this is something much more meaningful.”

Ayres, who studied abroad when she attended Harvard College, calls herself “a big fan” of such transformational experiences. “Studying abroad in India during my junior year of college led to different pathways in my career. I hope the fund will grow and encourage students to have an in-depth exposure to the important, complex, and fast-changing democracy that is India,” she said.

Ayres currently serves as Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2010 to 2013, she was deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia.

Those interested in supporting the U.S.-India Study Abroad Fund can donate online. For the designation field, enter US INDIA SA – 877386.

“Virginia Tech benefits from having faculty who recognize the importance of connecting our students with experiences outside of the traditional classroom, and we hope generous acts such as this serve as first steps in establishing the necessary resources to support students in their efforts to study abroad,” Ghosh said.

Written by Rommelyn Coffren