Ajay Sharma is a Business Economist (Masters, Batch of 1985, Delhi University) and Commerce Honours graduate (Batch of 1983, Delhi University). He is a serial entrepreneur. He is amongst the pioneers of immigration and visa consultancy services in India since 1994. His strengths include Consultancy and advisory services on Citizenship by investment programs, Start-up Visa Programs, Residency visa programs for skilled professionals, Businessmen, and High net worth individuals. A Globe-Trotter and an affluent speaker, he is an all-cross-culture expert. He is a featured author in publications like Economic Times and is often quoted in Global Mobility, Immigration, Jobs Overseas.
Indian students are increasingly opting to study abroad for higher education. Undoubtedly, studying overseas is the best future investment for a student hoping for a bright and fulfilling future. As of March 2022, 1 33,135 moved abroad for higher studies. As per the Ministry of External Affairs, in 2020 alone, 261,406 Indian students went to foreign universities. The Ministry also reported that the number could be enormous if the pandemic had not hit the world. In 2021, 71,769 Indians had moved abroad for study purposes.
The vaccination drive and ease of Covid-19 restrictions worldwide made it easier for Indian students to plan their international education. Despite the risks, many Indian students expressed interest in studying abroad amid the pandemic. It indicates an increasing number of Indian students are moving abroad for remarkable education opportunities, a better quality of life, promising job opportunities, etc. It is also observed that students now prefer a destination that offers a complete package like healthcare cover, student support, post-graduation work opportunities, and permanent settlement.
But, how does one decide which foreign university to choose while planning global education? While research, proper counseling, and planning are crucial, it’s clarity that students must chase. Get your notebook and jot down the following points we have prepared for you.
Programs like humanities, business administration, science, or commerce courses are available in almost every country and university. However, if you are planning to pursue a specialized course with limited university options, there are chances that it will not be available in your preferred country or university.
Before shortlisting the university, you must check whether the availability offers your desired program or not. It can be one of the most crucial factors in selecting a foreign university.
Know your reasons for studying abroad
Studying abroad is a different experience, so you must be well-prepared for it. Your decision should be your own and must be motivated by your professional goals. Don’t go for overseas education just because your best friend is there or your neighbor is studying in a particular college. Please don’t go to a country because of its PR facilities. Go for self-development, self-learning, and a competitive profile. Foreign education is a memorable experience; enjoy the journey. Keep PR or any other goals aside for a while. You will eventually get everything you desire with your hard work and dedication.
Cost of Education
Some courses are costlier but give higher returns upon completion. On the contrary, some programs are economical with less demand and a low survival rate in the host country. Besides, some universities have higher tuition with a low living cost or vice versa. Student aspirants must consider the university and country factors before opting for a loan. You may also check for grants and scholarship options to determine your preferences.
Exposure to a new culture and lifestyle
Studying in a foreign land is all about intercultural connection and socialization. So, a student must be prepared to adjust to new people. Ask yourself whether you are open to a new culture and language. Are you ready to connect with strangers? Can you change your eating/sleeping habits? Are you prepared to work part-time while managing your studies? If you are not ready for these, abort your mission immediately. As an international student, you will face many challenges; you must enhance your language skills to adapt to the new environment and culture.
International students have a mindset to go to colleges in metropolitan areas. There is nothing wrong with choosing a famous university in the center of a big urban city. But this doesn’t mean colleges outside the city don’t have good scope. Choosing a college and suitable course in small, regional areas have equal networking opportunities and interactions with industries just like any big city college. Fees are also comparatively cheaper. Countries such as Canada and Australia encourage students to opt for universities in small regional areas as they also have great opportunities for jobs and permanent settlement.
Also, prime locations in America, such as New York, California, Los Angeles, etc., are more expensive, whereas places such as Houston, Texas, and Atlanta may be more affordable. On the contrary, Canada and Ireland are cheap for international students, while Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Finland are famous for outstanding public universities.
On Campus Jobs/Internship/ Assistantships
Many foreign universities have facilities to work on-campus for international students. At the same time, some students prefer part-time jobs outside the campus. Both options allow students to build their professional network and gain valuable experience. On-Campus jobs and assistantships are an excellent way to earn extra money while taking classes. Moreover, you save time and money as you don’t have to travel outside the campus.
One must research possible job opportunities for your chosen study program. You must learn about the post-work job opportunities and whether your course is in-demand in that country. Relevant job opportunities are required while applying for a study visa as authorities want to know why you wish to study there. Anyone who wants to study abroad must have clear goals and knowledge of the job opportunities available, especially when they have immigration plans. When you select the course and country, ensure that the skills you will gain are valuable to prospective employers in that country.
Immigration and Visa Rules
Knowing the immigration rules of your desired country is essential before choosing it for your educational pursuits. It becomes even more critical if you have plans to stay back and permanently settle in that country. Student visa aspirants must learn about post-study visa norms, stay-back options, and work visa guidelines. Countries like Canada and Australia have stay-back options for international students, while the U.S. has stringent rules. It’s worth noting that visa rules change with the change of government. So, ensure you keep a tab on the government policies regarding visas in that country.
Studying abroad is a life-changing decision, so do your best research before jumping to conclusions. Considering the points mentioned above to avoid mistakes and confusion.