Education plays a significant role in shaping one’s life. In today’s competitive world, both parents and students have become more conscious of the need to cut no corners when it comes to college education, and so studying abroad is now a viable option for thousands of school pass-outs.

While the most preferred study destinations for Indian students for the past decade or so have included several UK- and US-based universities, the trend seems to be shifting these days. Prospective students are now open to exploring offbeat study hubs, like Malaysia, Spain, and Germany among others, where they can acquire quality education at affordable prices.

One reason most students in the past tended to travel to the US or to Britain had to do with a general lack of awareness of the many available alternatives.

The Indian Career & College Counseling Conference, held at the J.W. Marriot hotel in New Delhi last month, conducted a survey on this trend, in which 98% of the respondents said that there needs to be more information exchange and counseling at the school level in regard to study-abroad programmes that don’t focus on the Anglophone West.

Talking about the opportunity gap, Ganesh Kohli, President & Chief Mentor, K.I.C. UnivAssist, and Former High School College Counselor, said, “As the survey insights state, Indian students have not been able to gain preference in comparison to the overseas students due to lack of exposure and right counseling at the right age. We really need to step up the counselling practices in India to help them gain the desired position in the international markets.”

Puja Karan, a student at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, in a phone conversation with Guardian 20, said, “Studying abroad gives you quite a lot of options, whether it is internship offers or placement offers or a diverse variety of unique courses with quite affordable fees. And as a student myself, I appreciate it. I think people should explore more and do their level best when it comes to gaining knowledge of not just academics but of varied cultures around the world.”

Getting into top colleges outside the country not only offers students with a greater  job assurance, it also  opens up for them a plethora of opportunities to develop interpesonal skills. Getting to know a different culture, new languages and having to see the world with a new point of view are just some of the perks the students get when they travel elsewhere for college education.

Heidelberg University in Germany.

Farhan Khan completed his master’s from the I.E. Business School in Madrid, Spain. He tends to believe that going abroad for studies gives an individual advantage over others, and not only in academia, besides giving them a chance to understand the world by experiencing it. He says, “The myriads of people, cultures and lifestyles give a completely different outlook to your life with a sense of professionalism. It evolves you as a person.”

Over the last few years, due its rich culture and history accompanied with a booming economy, Singapore has been attracting a good bunch of international students for higher education. More reputable universities like Singapore Management University are being offered to the students with safe environment and assuring stable future. Organisations like CIAFLO,University Admission Platform, Singapore are spreading and opening their platforms all over Asia to display what study options can they offer to the world and are giving a tough competitions to other universities.

“Indian students have not been able to gain preference in comparison to the overseas students due to lack of exposure and right counseling at the right age. We really need to step up the counseling practices in India to help them gain the desired position in the international markets.”

Megha Narang, junior counsellor, Edwise International-Overseas Educational Consultancy said, “Singapore is quite a famous education hub now and the graph of Indian students opting to study there is increasing these days. Universities in Singapore are very particular about the academic curriculum of the students including their performance and even attendance. Moreover, Singapore is a nearby country that provides good quality education for all with a safe environment so this option is convenient too. Popular courses that sway most of the students are business related courses whether it is MBA or any UG business related course, student these days prefer Singapore.”

Owing to heavy investment in scholarships from government, China has also emerged as one of the preferable destinations for international students. Moreover because the country has the fastest growing economy, it is a market for many multinational companies, which is just another plus point for it, opens a plethora of employment opportunities to these students. Being affordable and hi-tech, China also offers good quality education in medicine, trade, science and economics amongst others.

Indonesia is also turning into a popular study hub these days. Since the language i.e. bhasha Indonesia, is quite simple to learn unlike German or French, students go to Indonesia to build holistic health career. In addition, Indonesia has also emerged as a significant trading partner to Australia and has overtaken Australia’s economy in terms of gross domestic product, which can be interpreted that the country has a lot to offer.

Germany is being counted as one of the most desirable destination these days.  Major attraction being they have no tuition fee with excellent study options. The only thing students have to bother about is passing a German language test which demands  a good score. While getting into such universities is quite tricky due to a difficult selection procedure, it is totally worth the trouble for studying abroad in a reputed university with minimal expense is  a dream.

“Indian students do really well in comparison with other counties as since childhood we have been groomed in such a way and we have quite a difficult education system. It peels of layers and make them perfect till it’s time for higher studies.  In India, getting into IITs and IIMs in itself a difficult task and once you get in then the tuition fees and living cost crushes a lot. So, Indian students prefer to go abroad as they get an option to go for a quality higher education with moderate fees requirement.”, says Divya Narula, Senior Counselor at Edwise Interantional-Overseas Educational Consultancy.

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