Despite the presence of so many universities, colleges, and programs offered in our country, students still continue to go abroad. There are several reasons for behind this. Firstly, high quality institutions are fewer in number. Hence, many students fail to enter institutes of their choice, or miss getting the course of their choice. Then, of late, a large number of private Indian institutes have started charging international fees. In the same fee, or with a bit more, a student can study in a good foreign university. And the last, of course, is the opportunity to settle abroad.

Broad reasons for studying abroad:

  1. Academic Excellence – American and European universities are known for academic excellence and offer the best educational programs in the world. In global rankings of universities, American and European universities dominate and comprise 80 to 90 of the top 100 ranks.
  2. Global Education - American and European universities do not provide a localized education, instead their programs prepare students for the whole world. In comparison, the programs offered by Indian universities have a clear Indianized focus and they may be irrelevant outside India.
  3. Variety & Flexibility of educational opportunity –Indian university programs are structured and straitjacketed, so a student has to study a fixed combination of subjects, as presented by the university. These programs have none or very little flexibility. In contrast, American and European universities offer a lot of flexibility and a student, based on his interest, can literally customize which programs he wants to study. So it is not uncommon for an Engineering student to study Music, Geography or History while studying his core Engineering subjects.
    Moreover due to transferrable credits, students can even pursue courses where they study some subjects in one university and other subjects at a different university. Students can even pursue programs with courses at different departments of the same university.Even credits earned while pursuing a course are transferrable and accepted across universities.This level of flexibility is considered essential for high-achieving students and even demanded by many informed ones.
  4. Cutting-edge technology & research – In American and European universities, students are exposed to the latest technology and research and programs updated to reflect the application of the latest technology and research. So an Engineering student working towards becoming a nuclear turbine expert need not learn a redundant topic such as how a steam engine works, just because the topic has not been deleted from the syllabus.
  5. Campus Life – Whether an Indian student agrees or not, but years spent in school and college are the best years of our life. An American student will agree easily to this because the campus life is more vibrant and helps a student to discover his own self.

Over the years, because of economy and migration laws, foreign education has been split into higher education and permanent residency (PR) markets. The USA and the UK are primary markets for higher education, while Australia, New Zealand and Canada are the popular immigration markets. As there’s shortage of skilled manpower in these countries, it’s easier for Asians to join their workforce and excel there.

This has led to a PR racket where local agents, for huge sums, get Indian students enrolled in third-rate vocational institutes abroad. The issue was brought to light by the racial attacks on Indian students in Australia, deportation of Indian students from US in case of Tri-Valley University. And let’s face it, after taking staggering study loans, you definitely want a wonderful degree that adds quality to your life and at times to work there to pay back the loan.

Also, keep in mind that not all foreign universities are good. Go through university ranking on US News, Times Higher Education or The Guardian. And always find out about the university’s credentials from its website or the educational counsellor. Sourcing information from reliable sources is crucial, as both money and life can be at stake. Also check certain reliable search engines for college search such as College Board, etc

As for competitive exams for admissions, they vary from country to country. Some offer admissions on the strength of your academic record, others ask for Standardized test scores(SAT+TOEFL for US and Canada, while IELTS-academic for UK, Australia, Canada, etc) or proficiency in a foreign language. Universities’ web-sites furnish all eligibility criteria and required tests.

In case, you aren’t a scholarship holder, inquire about full or partial scholarship opportunities from the university that has offered you admission. Some have a quota of awards for international students.

And while you are at it, ask the university for e-mail contacts of some Indian students. They can advise you on the cost of living. There’s homestay, which is living with a family; university accommodation, which is safe and convenient but expensive and last, student flat, where three to four students rent a flat. This is the cheapest option. In case, you wish to decide on the accommodation after you arrive at the university then book yourself in a youth hostel close to the university area.

Keeping in mind what students seek while applying to foreign universities, we bring you the best each country offers. The selection is based on their popularity with Indian students.
So what prompts millions of students to leave their home nations and their loved ones to live in a country they may never have seen before? And how do students and parents deal with the potentially frightening challenge of choosing a foreign university, a decision that could shape a stu-dent’s life?

As with other migrants, one of the main factors driving students abroad is the search for a better life. Getting a degree from a foreign university will boost the chances of getting a good job, students believe, and also the advantage of gaining a qualification in English, the language for so much of the international business, media and education worlds.

But there is so much more beyond the formal qualification. Wherever a student takes their degree, studying abroad gives them a golden chance to build confidence and initiative, set their own life experiences in a fuller context, and learn to deal with the differences that otherwise create barriers between people. In the United Kingdom, that could include experiencing life in cosmopolitan, historic and dynamic cities such as London, Manchester or Edinburgh, or the more traditional life of a smaller town. Or it could include learning to love British food – hard to do for some – and sampling famous delicacies such as fish and chips. After all that, there is the chance to start a career in your adopted country, or return home with a qualification that makes you stand out from your peers.

But how do students and their parents choose a university that will deliver good teaching and a degree with a decent reputation? They obviously need to beware of the small number of institutions in the world that focus on the money brought by overseas students, offering only poor standards in return.

To decide where to study requires a vision of the world as it is likely to evolve
over your lifetime and of your desired place in it. But it requires determination.

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