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Scholarship and Self-Financing Students Should Join ICCR International Student Camps

Watch the video here.

Being awarded scholarship is not only a golden opportunity to study abroad without paying for education fee out of your own pocket but also a privilege you have earned from your talent and competence. Moreover, in the post-scholarship period, you will become an alumnus of the country you studied who will have an opportunity in interacting with that country's diplomatic mission in Phnom Penh on various occasions. One of many examples can be found here: Indian Embassy in Phnom Penh Celebrated ICCR Foundation Day with Alumni.

Nevertheless, I am here going to share you a different opportunity you should grasp during the course of your study in India under ICCR scholarship. ICCR organises two camps annually – Summer and Winter – for international students who come to study in India under various scholarship schemes and also self-financing scholars. To be precise, it is rather called International Student Camp. However, many international students did not realise or know about this existing arrangement by ICCR for them. Or in some case, they were not enthusiastic about it because of lack of information. I hope this post could inspire you to make good use of this rare opportunity.

Purpose of these camps, as described by ICCR, is:

To acquaint the foreign friends with our historical, cultural and other places of interest...and to enable them to get a better picture of the country and of our way of life, which play a vital role in displaying India’s rich cultural heritage.

Since the inception of the scholarship programmes, ICCR has been making use of the vacation period by arranging regular summer and winter camps for its scholarships holders as well as for scholars who fund their own studies in India.

During the summer months, ICCR arranges tours to hill stations such as Kulu Manali, Ooty, Shimla etc. These are snowy areas. During the winter months, sea-side resorts such as Goa and Trivandrum are preferred.

ICCR ensures that besides visits to places of historical and tourist interest the scholars are also exposed to some aspects of India’s economy and commerce including visits to the Indian film Industry, visits to Public Sector undertakings such as Indian Oil Ltd, National Institute of Oceanography and visits to private enterprises.

Winter Camps are organised in December – January and Summer Camps in May – June. The duration of Summer / Winter camps are usually for 10 days and travel is generally by train or by bus. About 800 foreign students are benefited every year from these camps.

Application for ICCR Camps

In order to participate in the camps, students have to fill up a prescribed application form (see a sample here) to submit to ICCR regional office along with the camp fee in demand draft of Rs 3,000 (for scholarship holders who are in final year) and Rs 10,000 (for self-financing foreign students) in favour of Director General, ICCR, New Delhi. Please note that not all applications are proved and scholars who have already attended a camp earlier will not be eligible. So, you can join the ICCR camp only once during your entire course of study in India.

You are recommended to try to apply for the second time, however, at your own risk. Many students including me got approval to join the camp for two times (Winter 2014 and Summer 2015) during our scholarship period. That might be an exceptional case. I tried to apply for the camp for the third time, but unfortunately, I was not accommodated. 😃

If your application is approved you will receive the selection letter via email from ICCR and only then you can join the camp. However, you are eligible to re-apply next time if your application is rejected.

As a reminder, you need to contact ICCR regional office for when application form will be available and you should do so two or four weeks before the date of the commencement of the camp. The following are the tentative lists of ICCR Winter Camps and Summer Camps:

ICCR Winter Camps December – January 

1. Delhi/Bikaner/Jaisalmer/Jodhpur/Udaipur/Ajmer/Jaipur/Delhi
2. Delhi/Bikaner/Jaisalmer/Jodhpur/Udaipur/Ajmer/Jaipur/Delhi
3. Delhi/Bikaner/Jaisalmer/Jodhpur/Udaipur/Ajmer/Jaipur/Delhi
4. Delhi/Bikaner/Jaisalmer/Jodhpur/Udaipur/Ajmer/Jaipur/Delhi
5. Delhi/Bikaner/Jaisalmer/Jodhpur/Udaipur/Ajmer/Jaipur/Delhi
6. Gwalior/Orchha/Khajuraho/Bandavgarh National Park/Jabalpur/Bhopal
7. Bangalore/Chennai/Mahabalipuram/Pondicherry/Bangalore
8. Mumbai/Pune/Aurangabad/Mumbai
9. Mumbai/Goa
10. Mumbai/Goa
11. Mumbai/Goa
12. Mumbai/Goa
13. Cochin/Munnar/Tekkady/Alleppey/Kanyakumari/Thiruvananthapuram
14. Cochin/Munnar/Tekkady /Alleppey/Kanyakumari/Thiruvananthapuram
15. Thiruvananthapuram/Kanyakumari/Alleppey/Tekkady/Munnar/Cochin

ICCR Summer Camps May – June

1. New Jalpaiguri/Darjeeling/Sikkim/New Jalpaiguri
2. Delhi/Dalhousie/Lakharmandi/Chamba/Dhankund/NHPC/Panchpulla/Delhi
3. Delhi/Mussoori/Jim Corbett Natioinal Park/Ranikhet/Nainital/Delhi
4. Delhi/Shimla/Manali/Tirthan/Delhi
5. Delhi/Shimla/Manali/Tirthan/Delhi
6. Bangalore/Mysore/Ooty/Coorg/Kodaikanal/Bangalore
7. Bangalore/Mysore/Ooty/Coorg/Kodaikanal/Bangalore

Watch the video here.

Camp Activities

During the trip, various activities are organised by the Camp Officer for both entertainment and mutual learning purposes. It is a good opportunity to make new friends and be a representative of your country among international students. Hence, the first activity to be started with is self-introduction probably while on the moving bus. After dinner, country presentation by participants is expected dependent on Camp Officer's arrangement. Students are also entertained with DJs (dancing) after dinner. While travelling in a long way, dancing is a mean to keep you awake. Taking meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are also considered part of the activities. Like it or not, during these 10 days, you will have Indian food only which is mostly arranged by the luxurious hotels you are accommodated.

It is interesting to know that the first Cambodian scholar who joined the ICCR camp was probably (ven.) Kuoch Kyleng who came to study in India in 1954. He joined ICCR Summer Camp to Kashmir in 1958. He wrote a beautiful letter to ICCR describing the natural beauty of Kashmir and expressing his overall feeling about the camp he participated in. The letter was later published in ICCR index.

FYI: You will meet an overwhelming number of Afghani students in the camp. This is due to the fact that Government of India offered a total of 1,000 scholarships to Afghan nationals to pursue undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD courses through Indian Universities.

It gonna be an exciting journey. So, don't miss your chance to explore India to the deepest – experiencing different weather, fascinating places of heritages, deserts, seasides and hill stations, diverse culture and Indian people's way of life. Only when you travel, then you will see what a tiny place you occupy in India. The camp will leave you speechless, then will turn you into a storyteller.
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