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As per the reports (July 2021) of the Ministry of External Affairs India, over 11,33,749 Indian students are currently studying abroad. Statistics represented in the report clearly indicated that Indian students opted USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, UK, UAE to pursue their higher education. An estimation for the given number revealed that roughly three in four students opt the top three leading study abroad destinations- USA (211,930), Canada (215,720), and UAE (219,000). Apart from some conventional study abroad destinations like Germany, UK, etc, countries like the New Zeland (30,000), Saudi Arabia (80,800), France (10,000) have also seen a drastic rise in the number of Indian students enrolling in these countries.
Out of the total number of Indian students studying abroad (2021), a whopping 67.6% decided to choose among the nations mentioned above. Despite the world tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, it is found out that over 91% of Indian students still want to pursue or continue their education abroad. According to RBI data, Indian students have spent over $3 billion, on tuition and hostel fees, in the first 10 months of FY21 itself. One of the contributing factors to these statistics in the post-COVID world is the trusted international healthcare systems. Countries like Canada offer students free healthcare at mere health insurance charges.
According to the Economic Times, since 2005, the total number of international students opting to study abroad has globally risen from 28,00,000 to over 50,00,000. The desire to travel and study in the top universities of the world has only grown over the years.
There are innumerable reasons which encourage both students and their parents to opt for global education. Some of them are discussed below:-
International students can decide to study abroad at any level of their education, from a few weeks long summer programs to full-fledged degree courses. Some of the most commonly-opted academic programs are:-
Foundation and Pathways Programs: These are the post-secondary academic programs students choose to fill the gap between the current level of their education and knowledge & skills required to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree at an international university. These programs assist in language proficiency and familiarize students with the education system of a particular country. Foundation Programs generally target both domestic as well as international students.
Associate Degrees: Associate Degrees are the academic programs chosen by students at the undergraduate level. These programs provide a foundation of technical and academic knowledge necessary to go further in a particular choice of study. The duration of these programs is usually two years.
Bachelor’s Degrees: Pursuing a bachelor’s degree is one of the most common reasons why international students study abroad. These degrees are standard programs that are recognized globally as ‘undergraduate programs’ and usually spans for 3-4 years. Students are advised to consider this option when a particular program is not offered in their home country. This is as the cost of pursuing a bachelor’s degree is extremely high when considering foreign universities as compared to the home country. Additionally, a master's degree from international universities has better weightage as compared to a bachelor’s from international universities.
Master’s Degrees: Even if one has completed a bachelor’s degree in their home country, they can always explore master’s degree programs around the world. Depending on their field of study, pursuing postgraduate studies from abroad could be highly beneficial for students’ career and growth. A master’s from abroad colleges will help you get a salary hike of around 29% on your previous salary. Not only does an international masters improve your job prospects it also gives you an ace if you wish to pursue doctorate courses abroad.
Certificates and Diplomas: Certificate courses and diploma programs are short-term pathways to pursue a career or a passion. Students who are looking to gain a very specific skill within a short period of time must consider this option. There is an abundance of such short-term courses in Canada, which makes Canada the leading country to pursue short-term courses among Indian students.
Doctoral Programs (Ph.D.): Doctoral programs are considered the highest level of education. Since getting admission into Ph.D. programs are quite competitive and selective, pursuing doctoral programs from foreign countries can open various doors for students.
Language Courses: Knowing a foreign language is always an added advantage for students’ resumes and careers. Therefore, it is always a better option to master a new language by interacting with locals instead of self-teaching at home. Also, most universities from the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia make it compulsory for their international students to be proficient in the native languages.
After deciding the study, the next step is to figure out where. Traditionally, the USA dominates this chart with over one lakh Indian students studying in US universities. However, as of August 2018, Australia is also emerging as one of the favorite educational destinations with over 68,000 Indian students studying in renowned Australian universities.
The QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings highlights the countries with the world’s strongest higher education systems. The rankings tabulated below are based on four main criteria, system strength, access, flagship institution performance, and economic context.
Top Countries Rankings to Study Abroad (QS Rankings)
|Ranks||Countries||Overall Scores||No. of Top Ranking Universities*||No. of Indian Students (as per MoEA 2021)|
*The number of top universities in the respective country is given as per QS World University 2021 Rankings
|Country||Top Three Universities|
|USA||Harvard, MIT, Stanford|
|Canada||University of Toronto, McGill University, University of British Columbia|
|Australia||ANU, University of Sydney, University of Melbourne|
|UK||University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London|
|Germany||TU Munich, Ludwig Maximillian University, University of Heidelberg|
|Singapore||NUS, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University|
|Netherlands||DelftUniversity of Technology, University of Amsterdam, Wageningen University & Research|
The decision to study in a foreign country may appear a bit overwhelming. However, if planned accordingly, this process can be simplified into the following steps:-
Before we begin, the first main step is to finalize the choice of study students want to pursue for their future. There are a lot of programs offered at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate levels in a wide variety of professional fields such as Business & Finance, Medicine, Engineering & Technology, Education, History, Literature, Visual & Performing Arts, Politics, etc. Detailed below are some of the most opted programs among Indian students studying abroad.
Most-Coveted Programs Offered in Germany
Most-Coveted Programs Offered in U.S.A
Most-Coveted Programs offered in United Kingdom
Most-Coveted Programs Offered in Australia
After deciding which program to study, the next step is to target the prospective universities. There is a huge number of universities to study abroad and to choose from the lot can be tedious. This decision should be based on various factors like costs & expenses, academic quality, and structure, faculty, admission requirements, deadlines, post-degree career opportunities, etc.
There are two types of tests international students must take before starting with the application process. These are Language Proficiency Tests (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc) and Standardized Tests (SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE, etc). Different countries have different preferences for one test over another. For instance:-
Every university has its own application process and its guidelines. For instance, many US universities accept applications via Common Application Portal whereas universities based in the United Kingdom invites applications via UCAS, Admission to Canadian Universities is invited through some provincial application portals like ApplyAlberta or OUAC. Usually, there is also a non-refundable application fee to be paid.
To be considered for admission at a university, international students must submit all the necessary documents along with a completed online/ offline application. These documents play an important role in the evaluation process and the admission decision. Here’s a list of the general documents required to complete an admission application:-
International students who are enrolled in qualified educational institutions in foreign countries must obtain a student visa. A student visa is an official travel document issued by the government of a particular country. Students must have a thorough knowledge of all the aspects related to the visa application process and its requirements. Some of them are discussed below:-
The most important factor in studying abroad is to plan efficiently. International students are always advised to begin with their preparation according to the university’s deadlines. Generally, they need to wait for the confirmation letter sent from the university before they apply for a student visa. For smooth application processing without any hassle, students should apply at least 3-4 months in advance.
Different countries have different visa requirements. For instance, students choosing to study in the U.S universities will need to obtain an F-1 Student Visa, whereas, for universities based in the United Kingdom, students must apply for TIer-4 Visa. Given below are the details of how can you get a student visa to study abroad for various countries.
|Countries||Visas||Visa Application Fees||Cost in INR (approx.)|
|United States||F-1, J-1||Sevis Fee: F-1: $350 J-1: $180||25,400|
|Canada||Candian Study Permit||CAD 160||8,900|
|Australia||Student Visa||AUD 575||30,900|
Note: The INR cost approximations are given as per the exchange rate on Sept 1, 2020.
Generally, the process of applying for a student visa begins with the university offering a letter of acceptance to the admitted international students. Every country is governed by its own immigration laws and regulations. Therefore, the visa process and its requirements may vary.
However, the general visa process applicable to all study abroad aspirants is given below:-
After attending the visa interview, all that is left is to wait for the application to be processed. After some time, students will be notified about the decision if their applications have been approved or rejected. It is highly recommended to make travel arrangements only after receiving the final confirmation from the visa authorities to avoid the loss of money.
Every country has its own specific list of documents international students must submit. However, there are a few documents that are generic and applicable to almost all the countries’ requirements.
Every parent dreams of providing their children with the best-quality education and resources in the world. As a result, many of them start planning and saving for it since the day their children are born. Unfortunately, higher education is a costly affair, especially in a foreign country.
Therefore, it is one of the most important factors to keep in mind while deciding to study abroad. Apart from tuition fees, the cost of living also plays an important role. Since these costs vary from country to country, we have provided a tabular representation of the tuition fees as well as the average cost of living of the most-coveted countries.
|Countries||Tuition fees (UG)||Tuition fees (PG)||Living Costs|
|United Kingdom||£10,000- £38,000||£11,000- £32,000||£12,180- £15,180|
The enormous costs of living aboard and ever-increasing fees for international students are good enough reasons to scare anyone. Especially when there is always a common misconception among students that there are no scholarships available for international students.
However, students are duly informed that governments and universities all around the world offer an unlimited number of financial opportunities in the form of grants and scholarships. These are designed to attract the brightest minds in their country.
Few of the astounding study abroad scholarships for Indian students are given below:-
|United States||Cover tuition fees and basic living expenses|
|Covers tuition and fees|
|Three different scholarships for Indian students covering variable amounts starting from $25,000|
|United Kingdom||British Council GREAT scholarships for Indian Students||$12,500|
|Sir Ratan Tata Post-Doctoral Fellowship for South Asian students||$2,377|
|University of Oxford Felix Scholarships for Indian Students||$37,000-42,000|
|UWE International Scholarships||Multiple scholarships covering up to 100% tuition fees.|
|Canada||Queen’s University International Scholarships||Multiple scholarships offering awards of $1,500-20,000|
|Quest University Canada||Up to $10,000|
|University of Calgary International Scholarships||Up to $8,000|
|York University International Student Program||Up to 12,000|
|Australia||Australia Awards Scholarships (AAS)||Variable amounts covering|
|Destination Australia Awards||Up to 15,000|
|Research Training Program (RTP)||Aid grants up to 75% of total RTP stipend|
The world of international education is rapidly expanding with millions of students coming together and creating an atmosphere of learning with a global perspective. International students are exposed to different cultures, ethnic groups, religions & languages, and enriching societies which broadens the academic experience for everyone.
|Path to immigration||No||Yes
Extra points for applicants with Canadian credentials
Extra points for applicants with Australian credentials
Extra points for applicants with New Zealand credentials
|Work-Study Permit||Work up to 20 hr/week||Work permit not required during study for 20 hr/week employment||20 hr/week, if you are enrolled in degree programs||20hr/week during semesters, unlimited hours during vacations||20 hr/week during study||work for 90/year on student visa|
|Post-study Work Visa||H1B post study visa is currently on hold.
It usually permits STEM students to stay in US for 12 months after studies
|Allow students to stay back for 3 years||Post Study work visa for all students (expect PhD) will be offered for 2 years from 2021||2-year post study work visa after completion of at least 2 years of higher education in Australia||1-year post study work visa||18-months post study visa extension|
|National Marketing Strategy||No||Yes, International Education Strategy||Yes, International Education, Global Growth & Prosperity||Yes, National Strategy for Education Strategy||Yes, Draft International Education Strategy for NZ 2025||Yes, Strategy DAAD|
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