Jamia gets many foreign students from all over the world. One such student at Jamia is Denise Ripamonti who comes from a small town near Milan in Italy. She has been visiting India since 2002 and is now quite accustomed to this country. While pursuing her Master’s degree from the University of Milan in Italy, she spent a year with the Department of International Relations at Jadavpur University in Kolkata during 2008-09. And presently, she is pursuing an MPhil in International Studies from MMAJ Academy of International Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia on an Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarship. Aside from Jamia, Denise wanted to seek admission to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the University of Delhi (DU), but in the end chose Jamia over JNU and DU.
Her area of interest is the South Asian Security Practice and she is writing her MPhil dissertation on the nature of the Indian State and its relationship to ideological violence, with a focus on the Maoist insurgency in India.
Manzar Imam of Jamia Journal interviewed her about her academic experiences and life in general in Delhi. Below are excerpts of the interview.
JJ: How do you feel about Jamia Millia Islamia?
DR: Most faculties at the Academy (MMAJ Academy of International Studies, JMI) are helpful and students are friendly. Although I do not live in hostel, I enjoy the campus life here.
JJ: Did you ever feel any constraint in living and learning here?
DR: Not actually. I am very used to living abroad. While graduating from Milan University, I had opted for Hindi as a major, so I had no problem here. The environment in Milan and India are different but I did not have much difficulty adjusting to it. At the Academy, it’s small kind of family which knows you well and is quite helpful. I know I am living a different experience but I am very happy. Jamia is treating me nicely. I never had any bad experience around the campus.
JJ: How did you come to know about Jamia?
DR: Most foreign students know about JNU and DU. While in Jadavpur University as a visiting student, my supervisor had told me about three universities -DU, JNU and JMI.
JJ: None of the Indian universities figured in the world’s top 200 universities in a recent world universities ranking. Still, you chose India for studies, why?
DR: I do not go by ranking. This is something different from my way of choosing, thinking and applying for a university. Tell me what are the criteria on which those universities are ranked? Maybe some facilities they provide, researches, better infrastructure.
JJ: Do you think that ranking is not a quality parameter?
DR: Ranking is not important for me. You need to look at your performance, the exposure you get and the opportunities the university provides you. We at Italy do not go only to the US for studies. We look for other options too. Since my study is grounded in South Asia, I am happy to be at a place about which I am writing.
JJ: Since your area of academic interest is the Maoist insurgency, what according to you is the main cause of Maoist insurgency in India and how possibly can the problem be addressed?
DR: It’s a big and complicated issue and I am yet to take a position on that.
JJ: Does the ICCR scholarship suffice your study needs?
DR: It will if you live in hostel. But if you live outside, you need to spend some more as house rents in Delhi are a bit expensive.
JJ: What has been your best learning experience as a student in India?
DR: I think the cultural exchanges.