Exchange report - Student at KI
Home university: Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Study programme: Public Health Sciences (Master's)
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Spring semester 2015/2016


I choose to go on this exchange because this was the only one available after applying several selection factors on my side (language restrictions and I didn't want to go to a high income country). The information given on beforehand was very limited. I faced a lot of problems trying to reach the responsible person for this partner university in the department. Furthermore the communication with the partner university itself was also very difficult and slow. I had to renew some vaccinations and apply for a visa before coming.

Arrival and registration

I was picked up by a car arranged by the partner university. As the following day was a national holiday, I could not yet register. On the second day I registered. There was a lot of paperwork. The partner university told me I had to register with the foreign regional registration office. However, after travelling all the way downtown on day three, this appeared unnecessary. 

Upon my registration, I was furthermore provided with a welcome package. This included some information on the university and the neighbourhood. I did not take up any courses. I wanted to, but wasn't allowed, as classes had started a month before my arrival. I wasn't even allowed to sit and join the lectures. This was a disappointment. I would really have liked the opportunity to experience another education system.


I lived on campus in the hostel on the 7th floor. This cost me 350 rupees a night. Most days I ate in the dining hall for about 125 rupees a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). This is the minimum to spend each day.

A nice evening in town will easily cost you 3000 rupees for dinner, drinks, and an uber. Most bar also feature deals like ladies night. 

Uber is by far the safest and cheapest way to go around town (except for short distance within the neighborhood). 

My visa expenses were about 90 euros.

My flight cost 600 euros. 

My vaccinations cost 150 euros.


As I was on a short term exchange I was able to use the accommodation offer. I stayed on the "international floor" of the hostel on campus. There is an elevator to go up. I shared my (non a/c) room and bathroom with two others. Wifi worked most of the time. We had a small problem with ants for a little bit, but that was gone very quickly.

There is a maid every day to clean the room and another lady for the bathroom. Laundry is paid for by the bucket (20 rupees), you just need to dry it yourself. The dining hall for meals is located in the same building on the ground floor. The accommodation is simple, but sufficient, and nice and cosy. I really enjoyed living with other people, but it isn't everyones cup of tea. 

As this accommodation can get very warm in April/May (it is right under the roof), you could consider making use of the a/c appartement available on the ground floor of the same building.

Studies in general

As mentioned, I was not allowed to take up any courses. However, there were a lot of problems with my supervisor. KI in my opinion, has failed here tremendously. The supervisor I had before my arrival, was recommended to my by the academic responsible in KI. An alledged expert in health economics. I'm sure the man is a fine researcher, but his knowledge of health economics is zero. After meeting with him several times (a very stubborn man), it dawned upon me that he was not academically capable of supervising my thesis and I contacted KI. This again took more time. However, the most frustrating in this process was that all people in KI kept referring me to others, resulting into no action whatsoever. As it once again began to dawn upon me that KI would be of no help, I contacted the IRO office at TISS again. After about a week, they found me a professor who was knowledgable in my topic, but didn't have time to supervise me. In the end, I was able to meet with him a few times, but I still had the supervisor who didn't know anything about my topic. This whole fiasco gave my thesis about a two month delay.

Courses during the exchange period

Courses corresponding to semester 1 at KI


Language and Culture

I attended Hindi classes every week on Wednesday and Thursday evening. The elderly lady who teaches it is very nice and funny. She takes a very practical approach. I learned to give directions for my rickshaw drivers, buy fruits and vegetables on the market, and get help in a train station, etc. 

As expected with India, there are many cultural differences. I mostly noticed this in their way of working.

Leisure time and social activities

In my second week, there was a day long city tour organised. 

The campus features a basketball, badminton, and cricket court. Furthermore there is a gymnasium. There you can attend yoga classes and there are several workout machines. I found it very difficult to meet any Indian students apart from a few classmates I had. I mostly hung out with the other exchange students. 

The city has many things to do! You can go out to bars, restaurants, malls, etc.The campus is in a residential area of the city. It takes about 30 mins to Colaba and Bandra, and about 45 mins to an hour to go to Andheri, Powai, or the airport. Perhaps 10-15 mins to Vashi. Overall, it is well connected, but there isn't that much to do in the neighbourhood itself. 

The university is a very left winged, opinionated university. There are many students from the lower casts. Many of the students at TISS are engaged in social activism. There are usually lectures to attend on all these topics.


I had a great time on this exchange. I made some great friends and had a wonderful time. However, academically it was a disaster. I would not recommend this academic exchange to anyone.