India has been observing a spur in the number of students who want to study abroad. Today, students not only want to do academics in college but wish to be well rounded- by excelling in academics, being independent, participating in extracurriculars, holding leadership positions etc. By doing so, not only does it develop the student holistically but also prepares them for the future. With globalisation, we have numerous countries to apply to; however, it is important that we begin by asking “What is my objective to study abroad?” “How will studying abroad help me?”
When I guide my students, I start with this process by taking numerous points under consideration as going abroad can be costly and one wouldn’t want to make the mistake of landing a place where they aren’t comfortable
When I studied in the US, I had about 150 students from India in my batch. My exposure began the very first day I was being introduced to the different types of people. I realized that every student who was there had a different reason to study in that country or even in that specific university. One of them knew for sure he wanted a job so he worked very hard in academics to keep his grades high, the other was there to build his connections and expand his network so would prioritise his time accordingly. Another wanted to enjoy the best 4 years of his life so partied their way through and others wanted to build their profile so actively engaged in extracurriculars. So, it’s important to understand your personal reason to study abroad and then select a country that best aligns with your interest. Here are a few points to keep in mind while making the selection:
- Education Quality: The quality of education differs from country to country and each country has its own speciality. Some have been the pioneers in introducing a course, have strong research capabilities, have a more practical or theoretical curriculum and a few others are best known for a field because of their economy. For example: Germany for engineers
- Employment Opportunities: There are 2 sides to this: work visa and skill gaps. Each country has a different guideline to obtaining a work visa. For example, USA allows 12 months to all graduates and 36 months to STEM majors. It is a good idea to study each country’s rules. In recent years, trends show an increase in employment opportunities in fields that are up and coming or areas where they lack talent. Technology has been taking a toll over all of our lives, thus today you can see an increased need for people skilled in technology. Studying what skill gaps each country has is always a good idea.
- Cost of Living: The cost of living not only differs from country to country but also from state to state. The main objective is to know the bigger picture of what the taxes, food expenses, living expenses look like to prepare mentally with a budget in mind.
- Citizenship/ Residency Options: If you are someone who wants to settle abroad, this is for you! Some countries today offer citizenship or Permanent Residency to students who have studied there. Speak with an overseas education consultant so they can guide you how it all works and guide you to the right path
- Budget: The cost of education in each country differs; thus, having a clear number in mind is important before choosing your country.Even though it is limited, lots of times, we can also aim towards getting scholarships if you go with the right education consultant to guide you.
- Part time work: When you want to study on a budget and/or earn some extra money, some countries allow the students to work a certain number of hours in a week. It is important to research about those regulations to understand if those opportunities are available. As much as people might say that studying in US can be expensive, I saved more that $1000,000 while I was there.
- Years of education: A degree in Business takes 3 years to complete in UK; however, 4 years in the US. In no way is one better than the other; however, it depends on how many years one wants to give towards education. Both have their pros and cons and in this case you would have to dig deeper in the quality of education, budget, and all other factors.
- Country’s economy: While this is not a major factor, but it is a good idea to recognise the respective country’s economy as to how it is doing and how it might change during your time abroad. How a country supports their citizens, its growth, jobs etc are important considerations
- Living environment: Today, lots of important factors influence how one feels in another country- do they respect people from diverse backgrounds? Would you be comfortable being yourself over there? Will you be safe? Going to a college abroad is a huge transition and one can only hope it to be as smooth as possible.
- Flexibility (in courses): Does the concerned country offer flexibility in changing majors or courses? As you go through college and expose yourself to the world, you recognise that there are limitless opportunities for you that you could succeed at. We want to make an informed decision for your future, thus, it is important that the country’s education system offers flexibility in courses for you to change timely.
- Degree verified?: Last but not the least, professional degrees like law, architecture, psychology, etc have certain requirements to be able to practice them in your home country. It is important to find out if you are eligible to study them in that country.