Why Students Travel Abroad for Higher Education
By Piyush Kumar,
Each student aspires to enjoy an enjoyable lifestyle and build a career in their area of interest. To explore these opportunities and reach their true potential, students take the route of international education. According to data released by the Bureau of Immigration (BOI), the number of Indian students who left India for higher education in the current year is over 133K. Education abroad is only gaining popularity despite the pandemic and other travel restrictions. The BOI data showing that 2,59,655 in 2020 and 4,44,553 in 2021 went abroad for studies testify to this. The growing number shows the global aspirations of students to earn a degree that can help them successfully launch careers fueled by global exposure and a rich network that transcends borders.
Countries like the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have been gaining popularity since the onset of the pandemic due to their flexible student-friendly admission policies, visa regulations, and vaccination guidelines. . However, the study abroad trip encompasses different factors and decisions that students need to consider. Capturing the true essence of factors influencing students’ international education dreams, IDP Connect released an in-depth report titled “New Horizons” in October 2021. The research highlighted that demand for on-campus learning has remained strong throughout throughout the pandemic, with 79 percent of students opting for it. The study also found that students strongly consider migration incentives, post-study work rights and employment opportunities when choosing their study destination. In addition to these, several other factors influence the choice of country and institutions by students. These include:
Multiple course options offered by world-class educational institutions
Obtaining a degree from a reputable foreign institution provides students with a quality education that is valued and recognized around the world. These world-class institutions, which offer a well-structured open curriculum, are rated top institutions by QS and Times Higher Education. Graduates from these institutions are taught by top faculty members and have access to rich global resources. Therefore, these students are likely to have better prospects in their professional careers. Such institutions with more fluid subject combination policies allow students interested in literature to even study mathematics as their major. This progressive educational approach transforms students’ lives personally and professionally and helps them develop interpersonal skills such as confidence, self-awareness, analytical thinking and problem solving. Studying in such institutions makes students more proficient and employable as compared to others. In addition to studying at a world-class educational institution, students look forward to the availability of specialization in the courses that interest them. Data analytics, artificial intelligence, digital marketing, cybersecurity, ethical hacking, and environmental technology are some of the current student favorites. A recent study commissioned by Western Union from NielsenIQ, titled “Education Overseas – An Evolving Journey”, highlights that 52% of Indian students showed a tendency to study abroad for specialized courses compared to traditional generalized education. .
Future career opportunities
One of the main reasons why students opt for international education is the availability of vast career and job opportunities. For example, Canada offers the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP), the United States offers the Optional Training Program (OPT), and Britain’s New Graduate Pathway (GR). These pathways offer good placement opportunities for students after completing their higher education. It is a major attraction and the most popular way for Indian students to advance their careers.
Students are eager to study in the first nations of the world like USA, UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. These countries encourage the culture of part-time work during studies. It offers students not only the opportunity to explore their areas of interest, talents and strengths, but also financial independence, allowing them to learn both on the job and on the way to what they it takes to do a job. International institutions also have internships and trainings as an essential part of their curriculum, which provides insight into various work-related elements and helps students improve their professional and social skills. According to a study conducted by Masters Union, 45% of students consider “autonomy” and the ability to “live their life as they please” as key motivators for exploring international learning opportunities.
Students with international exposure gain an edge over others in this highly competitive environment. Studying abroad also introduces students to new cultures, diversities, languages and geographies, making them adaptable to different environments. This helps them to develop sensitivity towards other cultures while working across borders. Studying in an international environment also prepares students to become self-sufficient in managing and solving their problems independently. They learn to manage all the elements of their life, be it finances, health, social life, professional life or education. This, in turn, also helps to increase their insight and develop a global perspective towards modern challenges in career and life in general and pushes them to come up with innovative solutions.
Networking and quality of life
The experience and richness of studying abroad is further accentuated in life, allowing students to acquire excellent skills and form meaningful connections, a solid professional network and lasting friendships. In addition to studying together, internships, trainings, annual events and field trips bring together many people from different backgrounds. This helps them in their overall growth, both personally and professionally. Beyond that, the impact of world-class healthcare facilities, good educational infrastructure, advanced educational technologies, and freedom of choice in terms of course subjects as well as career paths cannot be overemphasized.
The most interesting feature of the international education system is the value it places on understanding the individual characteristics of students. It offers them differentiated programs accordingly to meet their needs based on their talents and interests, allowing even seemingly disadvantaged students to transform their academic and professional trajectory. So, to be ahead of the game in today’s era of cutthroat competition, students opt for specialized courses supported by personalized learning methodologies that international education is known for.
(The author is Regional Director, South Asia and Mauritius, IDP Education. The opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)