Ayurveda degrees: Next big thing for foreigners

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Ayurveda degrees: Next big thing for foreigners
16-Jan-24 05:09:07

JAIPUR: Ethel Nyoni from Zambia arrived in the Rajasthan capital in 2021 to study to be an Ayurveda practitioner, spurred by her desire to explore what she calls “new and exciting things”.

Two years later, she is on track to earning a degree from Jaipur’s National Institute of Ayurveda and becoming the southern African country’s first registered practitioner in India’s ancient healing system.

Ethel is one of many foreigners aiming to be an Ayurveda ambassador. As traditional Indian medicine joins yoga and the classical arts to form a triumvirate that goes beyond the usual exotica, young people from countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Afghanistan, Iran, the Netherlands, Brazil, Ghana and many others are flocking to the Jaipur Institute hoping to ride the wave.

Before enrolling for the Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery programme, most had earned degrees in other fields, including engineering and conventional medical science. “Once they graduate, they will be the Ayurveda trailblazers in their native countries. This fits into our plan to establish Ayurveda as a branch of medicine on foreign soil,” said vice-chancellor Sanjeev Sharma.

Dr Avvinish Narine from the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago is doing a PhD in Ayurveda after completing his BAMS and MD from the same institute. Before coming to Jaipur, he had a BTech in information technology.

“I learned about Ayurveda during a seminar at the University of the West Indies in 2010. It interested me so much that I applied and got selected,” said Narine, who had worked for a few years at the ministry of education in Trinidad and Tobago before Ayurveda became his calling.

Dr Fatemeh Moazzami Peiro from Iran landed in Jaipur in 2016, having studied psychology and management before that. “I am the first qualified Ayurveda practitioner in my country, although it isn’t a recognised system of medicine there yet. I hope this will change,” she said.

So, what prompted her to choose the uncharted path? “My life coach called me and said, ‘You always love to help people, and now I am going to send you to incredible India to learn Ayurveda’. I came here to learn to free people from their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual suffering and pain.”

Komivi ADJA of Togo, who is also the first from that country to study Ayurveda, was a student of mathematics at the University of Lomé when an AYUSH scholarship beckoned.