Studying abroad wasn’t as accessible earlier due to the expenses involved, but now, students from all sections of society are availing an education abroad. Meanwhile, the studies and opportunities within India have also grown. As a result, the question of whether to pursue studies in India or internationally has become a viable dilemma in the minds of youth across the nation.
Did you know? There are more than 7.5 lakh Indian students currently studying abroad, and India has become the second largest sender of students internationally*, second only to China.
The decision to study abroad or continue studies in India is a major decision which will affect not only your educational qualifications but also your career trajectory.
So before you make the choice to study in India or abroad, here are a few factors to consider while making the choice to study in India or abroad.
*Source: US Consul General Craig Hall
Before you make the decision whether to pursue studies in India or abroad, identify what is your motivation behind your choice. Making a choice under pressure or due to passing fancies can be disastrous.
Is your choice to study abroad influenced by peer pressure, or because you enjoy travelling? Studying abroad will undoubtedly give you plenty of opportunities to travel, explore new places and new cultures, however, those goals can also be met by simply travelling or taking up overseas summer internships. If you are studying abroad, make sure your motivation was the course, the teaching and the professional opportunities you will have.
Similarly, studying in India may be comfortable, being close to family and friends but if you are making the choice based on the comfort factor, consider the benefits you will have from the course. If your chosen course has excellent universities, colleges, and teachers in India, that would make India a suitable choice for your studies.
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2. Field of Study
In the past, business management courses have been amongst the most popular choices for students studying abroad. Now, many more fields are gaining popularity such as Engineering and Technology, Sciences, Arts, Design and Architecture.
Studying abroad may give you an edge in many fields, but there are certain fields in which it would be preferable to study in India, such as law (if you plan to practice in India), politics or government administration. If you are unsure about your career path, consider taking career counselling to zero-in on the right course before you go ahead with your decision.
Thus, it’s important to have a firm idea of which field you are interested in, so you can maximise your learning experience.
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3. Long-Term Goals
Imagine your future and picture yourself 10 years down the line or even 20 years – which country do you wish to reside in? Students opting for studying abroad can broadly be divided into 3 types, based on end-goals:
- Those who travel abroad, study, complete their course and return to India.
- Those who travel abroad, complete their studies, work for a few years and then return to India.
- Those who travel abroad, complete their studies and permanently settle abroad.
If you are interested in settling abroad in the long-term, the best path would be through a course suiting the job market in the target country. In this case, it would be best to shortlist countries that have an open immigration programme, plenty of job opportunities and cultural compatibility.
Studying and settling in English-speaking countries such as Canada, UK, Australia, the US would be easier than staying in non-English speaking nations where you would require fluency in another language.
If you are intent on a future in India, take into account the benefits an international study programme will provide you in your career path. You can opt for any country in the world that offers mastery in your field, whether it’s France for fashion, Italy for culinary arts, Spain or Germany for sciences, as managing a different language and atmosphere would be a temporary challenge and not a permanent situation.
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4. Cost Vs. Return On Investment
Studying abroad is expensive, including tuition fees, cost of living, travel and other miscellaneous expenditures. While the costs involved should be a factor in your decision-making process of whether to study abroad or in India, be sure not to make it the only factor.
The upfront costs of a graduate or post-graduate degree can seem expensive and daunting, but consider the return on investment you will receive by means of career opportunities with your degree. If you choose a more cost-effective degree of lesser renown, you may save upfront costs, but in the long run, you won’t receive the career boost you might have.
Among the most popular studying abroad destinations, in the US the approximate annual expenditure for tuition fees and cost of living is Rs 34 lakh, in Australia, the annual total expenditure is approximately Rs 25 lakh, in the UK it is around Rs 25 lakh and in Canada, the cost is almost Rs 19.8 lakh.
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The means of financing your education is also an important factor to consider whether you decide to study in India or abroad. There are numerous scholarships available, based on merit, subjects taken, course opted for, and on the economic background of the applicant. The scholarships are offered by organisations, the government, universities, and colleges.
Although there is hefty competition for full scholarships that cover the entire tuition fees, partial scholarships are also available. Once you select your course, research on the scholarships offered in that field and the financial aid offered by colleges.
In case scholarships do not materialise, you can look into taking student loans, a process which is commonly followed by American students as well. Also, you can consider working part-time to cover up the costs, such as working as a teacher’s assistant, research assistant, tutor, or freelancer while you study.
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We all like to think of ourselves as highly adaptable people, able to adjust to whichever situation we face, but the reality is that sometimes change becomes too much. When you consider where you want to study, realistically think about the environment change that you will face. Travelling and new experiences sound exciting but may become a strain if you are in a changed atmosphere for a long period of time and you also have to concentrate on studies.
If you are thinking about studies abroad, keep in mind that the form of education, teaching styles, and admission process will be radically different than what you are used to. A change in the format of teaching may seem to be a good option theoretically, but think practically on whether you can adjust enough to extract the benefits from the study programme.
7. Degree Recognition
The world may have become a ‘global village’, however, not all degrees are recognised as equal by different countries. The differences in education systems affect higher studies as well, which may impact your career in the long run if you choose to either study abroad or work abroad later in your career.
For example, the basic graduation degree in India runs for a duration of 3 years, while the same graduation degree is completed over 4 years in the U.S. As a result, if you want to be eligible for a post-graduation degree in the U.S after graduating in India, you must have completed an Honours level degree. Similarly, the UK offers a 1-year Master’s degree which is not recognised in India or in the US.
Whether you want to complete graduation in India and then study abroad, or study abroad and work in another nation, carefully examine the prospective course and its accreditation and recognition status.
8. Political Situation
Politics is a subject that most people tend to avoid thinking about, especially when it comes to international politics. However, if you are considering studying abroad, the political situation in that country is worth looking into, as well as the crime rates. The security atmosphere in India is not ideal but if you continue studies here you have the support of your loved ones and already are familiar with the environment.
Some countries, despite having great educational programmes, also have a history of racism, which can affect Indian students studying there. For example, Australia is a popular study destination for Indians, but there have frequently been instances of racism.
In the face of racism in western countries, South Asian destinations such as Singapore have emerged as popular options for studying abroad. Interact with Indians already studying in the country to understand the day-to-day life and any difficulties that are faced.
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The choice of whether to study in India or abroad is one of the major decisions of your life and should be made carefully. Take the advice of family, friends, and mentors, but in the end, the decision is yours on which study path will best suit your life goals.
Research and the right overseas guidance are the keys to making a well-informed decision. Remember to keep in mind the long term view, rather than short-term goals.
If you require more extensive overseas admissions support, like choosing the right university and country, and creating the perfect application to target your dream universities, our overseas experts can help.
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