If anyone has been to the Osmania University
campus and returned amazed at its size, just imagine a campus, ummm, about two times its size. Beyond imagination? Okay, I'll make it simple for you. The Central University of Hyderabad is HUGE.
A premier institute of post-graduate teaching and research established by an Act of the Parliament of India in 1974, as a Central University, HCU looks like a team of bulldozers ran amuck in a jungle and then a team of engineers moved in and built some amazing buildings in there. There is still a rough edge to the greenery, and on some stretches of the campus road you are forced to step on the gas just a little more than might be necessary.
Catching the eye is the campus' town atmosphere. Students, students everywhere. Small shops to service everyday needs, a state-of-the-art sports recreational facility, open-air and indoor auditoriums, 10 hostels - 7 for men and 3 for women - a hospital, and plenty of fresh air and open space. The cosmopolitan mix of the students is obvious with people making their way from all countries of the world to study or to teach here, thanks to the SIP (Study India program), broadening the horizons of everyone here.
However, the already confused fashion sense of the average Indian student did not need exposure to foreign students trying to conserve their money. Bright shades of ill-fitting clothes seem to be omnipresent, and I felt glad that most of the campus is residential. Imagine letting them loose on the city streets. We aren't ready for that yet.
Another noticeable aspect is the number of students who have opted for the bicycle as a mode of conveyance. Extremely functional, cheap and easy to maintain, but try to give your friend a lift for the ultimate thighmaster experience.
The infrastructure on campus is excellent thanks to the UGC grants from the central government - which also makes the fee structure affordable. Fancy machines with difficult names including the Powder X-ray Diffractometer, the E S R Spectrometer, the Scanning Electron Microscope and the Differential Scanning Calorimeter are in no shortage around here, and apparently that is a good thing. Let's just nod along knowingly when the administration tells us that.
A favourable teacher-student ratio (1:9), scholarships, research fellowships, health insurance schemes, 24-hour fiber optic web connectivity, an impressive library and good placement opportunities all add to the impressive stature of HCU. And of course, the S N School Of Fine Arts, also known as Golden Threshold, is rated next only to JMI and IIMC at Delhi for mass communications.
The student opinion of HCU has many more positives than negatives, and overall, the campus-town atmosphere, freedom from the confines of home, a good environment for academic pursuit, meeting people from all over the world and the proximity to the city rank high in the satisfaction quotient, while on-campus activities include a popular yearly cultural festival, inter-discipline sport and cultural activity, theater, and music and dance parties at the open air auditorium.
HCU offers a complete student experience for anyone wishing to enter its esteemed portals. And that's not easy at all. The latter half, that is.