Soul n Spirit

Why or Why Not Study Abroad as an Indian

Studying abroad has never been so popular in India. Over the years, there has been a substantial increase in Indian students opting to pursue higher studies abroad. Naturally, as parents of teenage children, you must want the same. 

Need help to determine whether to send your kids to study overseas? 

Do not hesitate to ask. You are one of many facing this dilemma. Every year millions of students who pass their board exams aspire to pursue higher studies at foreign universities. Unfortunately, many of them cannot afford the expenses. The remaining few need to meet the necessary criteria to become eligible for admission to colleges out there.

Now the question arises why every other student wants to go to Canada, England, The USA, and The UK for higher studies. Is it mandatory to get a global stamp in their portfolio? Do they feel peer pressure? Or it is seen as a social status symbol. Is it a ploy to mislead young Indians by the educational consultants and banks to further trap them in education loans to generate business?

Let us discuss how some crucial factors and individual circumstances influence this critical decision for life. We would also try to determine whether studying abroad is good or bad for Indian students.

Advantages of studying abroad for Indian students:

According to experts, three primary reasons drive students to fly overseas. That is better academic opportunities, career prospects, and availability of financial aid and scholarships. Let us look at it. 

  1. Quality education: Many countries offer high-quality education and access to advanced facilities and resources, which can enhance academic skills and knowledge. It also provides advanced career options and new technology to adopt. Diplomas in languages, fashion, textiles, business management, and AI have immense value here in India. 
  2. Global exposure: Studying abroad gives you the edge over others regarding exposure to diverse cultures, perspectives, and experiences. That fosters a global mindset and cross-cultural understanding. This experience and knowledge are more important than ever in today’s global marketplace. 

    Staying overseas, as a part of a vastly different culture, you will navigate an additional land while interacting with other global students. It helps to instill a greater understanding of cross-cultural exchanges.
  3. Career opportunities: International education has the potential to provide access to a broader range of career opportunities, including post-study work permits and networking with international professionals. In recent years, Indian students have shown keen interest to study abroad because of the lucerative placement opportunities offered by the universities abroad. Business Schools and Technical Universities also offer extensive career support services which enable them to land high-paying jobs in a short period of time. In the academic year of 2020-21, it was observed that a significant proportion of students in the UK (44%) opted for business management courses, while the corresponding figure for Canada was 37%. Interestingly, most students (approximately 78%) in the US preferred STEM subjects. 

    Your annual salary may also vary depending on where you study. A degree from Harvard or Oxford can significantly increase your value on the job market in India and overseas. This salary increase is even more substantial if the position you acquire resides somewhere like Australia or the United States.

    While it’s clear that your earning ability is much higher if you graduate from a top business school abroad, it’s also important to remember that tuition and living costs are much cheaper in India. Even though you may be making a much higher annual income abroad, you’ll also have much more debt to pay off.
  1. Personal development: Living independently in a foreign country promotes personal growth, independence, adaptability, and resilience. You manage your affairs, home, and life, making you future-ready as a professional.
  2. Language proficiency: Studying in a country with a different language can improve language skills, which can be advantageous in a global job market.
  3. Expanded network: Building a diverse international network can create valuable connections and future collaboration opportunities. Today is a world of collaboration and not competition. Knowing people from all over the world is definitely a tool to grow.
  4. Cultural enrichment: Experiencing different cultures firsthand can broaden horizons, increase tolerance, and provide a deeper understanding of the world.
  5. Academic and research opportunities: Studying abroad may provide access to specialized programs, research opportunities, and resources that may not be available in India.

Considerations and challenges to studying overseas:

  1. Financial implications: Studying abroad can be expensive, including tuition fees, living costs, travel expenses, and visa fees. One must consider financial planning and scholarship opportunities. 
  2. Tuition and Living Costs – Education in the most popular study-abroad locations will cost well over ten times what it would cost to pursue your studies in India. For example, the tuition costs of a top university in the United States can be over $50,000 annually. It is in stark contrast to prices in India which can be as low as $150 per year. Hence it may be called the biggest hurdle to why Indian students drop the idea of studying abroad.

    Furthermore, the cost of living, such as housing, food, clothes, entertainment, and other expenses, is generally much higher in most study-abroad locations. Several surveys rated India as the second cheapest place in the world. Publications analysed the cost of rent, groceries, and goods and services in 112 countries. They concluded that India is the world’s second most affordable place to call home, just behind South Africa at number one.

    Though from the point of view of finance, India is the most price-efficient option, a few European countries, as well as Canada, have fairly reasonable tuition costs if you can get scholarships. Most countries offer some scholarships for international students, which help alleviate or fully cover your tuition costs.  
  3. Cultural adjustment: Adapting to a new culture, language, and environment can be challenging and require time and effort. At times it gives a sense of disconnect to the alien environment, especially if the person belongs to a small town in India. 
  4. Homesickness: Being away from family, friends, and familiar surroundings can lead to feelings of depression, homesickness, and emotional challenges. It adversely affects the mental health of the teenagers. They feel unwelcome and insecure in a foreign land. 
  5. Visa regulations and immigration policies: Understanding and complying with visa requirements and immigration policies is essential to ensure a smooth study abroad experience.
  6. Distance from home: Being far from home can make handling emergencies or personal situations requiring immediate attention challenging. During corona pandemic, children studying abroad were stuck and were not able to attend the funeral of their loved ones. 

To conclude, before you decide, you must weigh the pros and cons, consider your goals and aspirations, research your options thoroughly, and seek guidance from academic advisors, career counsellors, and individuals studying abroad. Each individual’s experience will vary, and making an informed decision based on personal circumstances and aspirations is crucial.

The decision to stay in India or to leave home to pursue your education abroad is a challenging one to make. Both decisions have many advantages and pitfalls, so it’s best to determine what is most important to you and choose accordingly.

I hope you are clear now as to what is the correct approach. Like, comment, and please share your opinion in the comments below.

Love from Soul

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