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Current trends that define how Indian students are researching and choosing their study options abroad

One of the most challenging decisions for young students in their lifetime is choosing the right career path that offers them both financial and personal growth. The first step in taking such a decisive career option is by choosing the right course that matches their interests, abilities, and financial stability.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) hasn’t lost its sheen among Indian students apart from Medicine, Commerce and Business Administration. Though there has been a rise in the number of higher education institutions in India, still the outbound student mobility has not come down and prospective students are mostly interested to pursue subjects that assure them job placements, high salary packages, and great lifestyle opportunities.

Studying Abroad: the keyword and a trendsetter

Most of the students who dream of a well-built career desire to study in foreign countries like the US, the UK, Canada and Germany. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic brought a fall in overseas education, the year 2021 alone witnessed an 80-95% upsurge in Indian student emigration. According to the July 2021 report of the Ministry of External Affairs, India 11,33,749 students from India are pursuing international courses in various countries. Seeing the demand for foreign education among Indian students, the Indian government is planning to set up a Global Indian Students Portal (GISP) by 2022.

The key reasons behind the outbound student mobility is that studying abroad offers access to variety of non-traditional courses, best-in-class research facilities and better career growth opportunities. Working abroad enables you to earn in international currencies that are two or threefold more than Indian money. The possession of an international degree and the presence of headquarters of multitudes of MNCs abroad are the other fundamental reasons.

The shift in choices and preferences

As the world got more connected, there has been a shift in the choice and preference of Indian students towards foreign studies. They research career developments and growth opportunities, placements after studies, financial assistance, part-time work opportunities, and accommodation facilities while choosing their course and university.

Ranking of the institute is another benchmark that students inquire about. Earlier, it was various career consultancies and services that students would approach for guidance. But the recent trend is that students themselves investigate the prestige and excellence of the institutions as displayed in their official websites, rankings published by renowned agencies and from alumni feedbacks and references. 

The other parameters that the prospective students’ research are:

1) Admission process: The first thing that a prospective student looks into is the admission process of the University.  The admission process for each university is different and good research would be needed to understand what all is needed. 

2) Better specialization options and scholarships: Unlike India, students can find variety of traditional as well as non-traditional specialization options at various levels. It is observed that Indian students mostly enrol in international institutions for mostly technology related courses as in AI, ML, Robotics and Cyber Security. Students can even opt for short-term courses with certificates based on the subjects like management, business, analytics, logistics, web-designing, digital marketing, etc. that assure them quick start to a promising career. There are many destination countries that offer scholarships, bursaries, and other attractive incentives like work permit opportunities for international students. These are all key points that attract Indian students.

3) Quality of Academics and lifestyle: Be it the academic resources, healthcare benefits, financing opportunities or social living conditions; almost all of these conditions are far superior in some of the foreign countries which greatly influence students.

4) Better research platforms: With universities offering advanced research platforms and funding options, this acts as a major deciding criterion for many students in opting for higher studies abroad. The tech giants mostly support the ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers from these foreign universities

5) Immigration opportunities: 80% of the students who opt to pursue higher-education from USA or Canada, end up residing in the host country as immigrants. Four preliminary factors that directly influence immigration among international students are the cost of immigration, Employment opportunities, and the path to immigration & work permits along with stay back policies.

Now in the distant future, with the advancement of technology, Education 4.0 will flourish which will impact the outbound mobility of Indian students. They will have access to most the foreign courses from renowned institutions online. However, students may prefer hybrid learning models combining online and offline that will give them a more holistic experience of studying abroad getting exposure to the best-in-class resources, infrastructure, diverse social life and global industries.

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