Studying abroad is a common dream among many Indian students such that the number of students applying for universities in other countries has been on the rise with every passing year. This hype can be observed with reports like the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange which has pointed out that international students at US colleges have surpasses one million in the academic year of 2015-16.
One of every six international students in the US is from India, according to the report and many three fourths of these students are pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses. Meanwhile the Indian Students Mobility report, 2016 noted that about 85 per cent of Indian students looking for colleges abroad tend to head towards USA, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The following points explain the hype around foreign universities and all the pros and cons one should consider before stepping out of the country.
1. Less competition
Many of the students who opt for undergraduate level programmes in universities abroad are those who prefer not to be involved in the competitive education environment of India which can get aggressive. The ratio of the number of applicants to number of seats available in India is high.
One should understand that performance in entrance tests cannot indicate whether or not a student can absorb the course content. Having said that, students who doubt whether they can get through the entrance tests and do not want to fail, opt to pursue the undergraduate courses in universities abroad.
2. Settling abroad
The second reason why students want to go abroad is because they think that their future is outside India. They believe that by pursuing an undergraduate degree in a foreign country they can get a job there and eventually land the country’s citizenship. Settling down in USA, UK, Australia and some other such countries is attractive to many. However, things have changed these days.
The assumption that you can eventually settle down in the country if you study there, is repeatedly proving wrong. Governments of most countries are making it clear that if you come to the country for studies, you have to go back after the course. So, you have read the immigration policies of a country thoroughly before you decide the future course of action.
Undergraduate programmes in India are theoretical and tough as compared to those in universities abroad. But the practical orientation of undergraduate students abroad is more compared to their Indian counterparts. The few who are well versed with the theories of subjects like mathematics, physics and chemistry can survive anywhere.
Students who do not have a strong footing in theoretical concepts may not do so well in India but have a better chance abroad. While Indian curriculum is skewed in favour of theory, the emphasis on theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge is well balanced in the US.
4. All round development
Studying in foreign universities results in well rounded personality development of students. They pick up communication skills, learn to live alone, manage with limited money, adjust in unfamiliar environment and develop high focus on career. So studying abroad develops personality. It brings out the best in the person.
Employers in India do not treat all the universities abroad equally. They respect students from top universities and willingly employ them. However, students from other universities are treated as black holes. These students find it very difficult to land jobs in India and given the new immigration policies of various countries, landing a job in those countries as well becomes equally difficult.
The tuition fee of universities abroad is very high. Parents who send the students aboard for studies must be either rich or need to take a loan mortgaging their assets. With the latter, parents are hesitant as there may not be a return on their investment.
Many parents believe that when the ward goes abroad for undergraduate studies, he/she may not want to come back to India. They prefer sending their children for postgraduate courses because they believe that by that time their son/daughter would realise his/her responsibilities back home.