The charm of foreign qualification and an overseas education experience among Indian students has not faded despite the numerous challenges posed by the pandemic. With popular destinations such as the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Germany topping the list of popular countries among study abroad aspirants for several years, students are also opting for new destinations, especially in Europe and Asia.
A good number of Indian students are enrolled in universities in countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, the UAE, Switzerland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Oman.
In A Nutshell
- With 14,000 and 8,015 students as of March 2022, Georgia and Armenia are some of the offbeat countries opted by Indians.
- Italy, Poland, the UAE, Switzerland, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Oman were other popular choices.
- With a whopping 2,19,000 Indian students in 2021, the UAE was even more popular than destinations such as the US, the UK and Australia.
What The Numbers Say
Recent data by the Indian government highlights this. While there were 7,500 Indian students in Georgia until July 2021, this number was 14,000 until March 2022. Armenia had 3,000 Indian students studying there and this number increased to 8,015 by March 2022.
Italy saw 4,634 Indians in its varsities until the same period in 2021 and it went up to 5,897 this year. Sweden and Switzerland also saw an increase between July 2021 and March 2022 from 2,000 to 2,500 students and 1,850 to 3,980 respectively.
While there were 4,000 Indian students in Poland last year, this year it went up to 5,000 this year. The Netherlands had 1,469 Indians in 2021 and 3,200 in 2022. Among Asian countries, The UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Singapore were among the top countries hosting Indian students in 2021-22.
Saudi Arabia with 80,800 and 65,800 Indian students in 2021 and 2022 respectively, was also a preferred choice. Oman with 43,600 students in 2021 and 39,550 until March 2022 also hosted Indian students. Singapore had just 1,500 Indian students as of July 2021 but this increased to 10,000 by March 2022.
Not just these, Cyprus, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Latvia and Spain are some others with Indian students.
This data indicates that for Indian students, a foreign degree is very valuable and they are willing to explore newer destinations as well to fulfil this dream. As per recent studies, Indian students consider aspects such as post study work opportunities, reputation of a university or a country, quality of education, infrastructure, gaining valuable life lessons and skills, in-country experience, exploring new destinations, and the opportunities to live independently as key determinants to study overseas.
Close to 11 lakh Indian students are pursuing higher education from universities worldwide. Experts believe that since many universities have come up with their campuses in other countries, and many others are offering good scholarships and ROI students don’t mind exploring newer destinations. Also, the Indian government is making constant efforts to make students comfortable in foreign countries through various initiatives. “Our missions and posts remain in contact with the students through social media, open house sessions, cultural programmes etc,” informs a senior official from the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
Why Indians Are Opting For Newer Destinations
Some countries are well-known for their specialized courses and institutions which are also a major draw. For instance, European destinations like Switzerland and Spain are famous for their hospitality and hotel management programs globally through world-class pedagogy.
Whereas, Asian countries also feature highly on the global rankings, are close to India and offer a cheaper education experience as compared to traditional options like the US, the UK, Australia and Canada.
A recent report by RedSeer, a management consulting firm, says that the number of students going for higher education overseas increased from nearly 4.5 lakh in 2016 to around 7.7 lakh in 2019. It is set for further growth to nearly 1.8 million by 2024.
Suggested read: Is Europe still a popular choice among international students
Despite the slow outbound mobility in the last two years, there is a resurgence of outbound mobility, thanks to hybrid learning and easing of restrictions. However, before choosing these countries, students must do due diligence, verify all facts about admissions, travel, work and future prospects, the socio-economic and political aspects as well.