Studying abroad gets a facelift

Scholarships, bursaries, in-house funding agencies, and employment opportunities are some of the ways through which foreign universities are attracting Indian students to study with them. R Sathyanarayana reports

Update: 2023-11-29 01:15 GMT

Illustration: Saai

CHENNAI: The craze for studying in foreign universities has increased among students of Tamil Nadu, especially after the pandemic situation, as more institutions abroad have been coming out with attractive offers including scholarships through education fairs, which is a recent phenomenon.

Hundreds of institutions from across the world including USA, France, European nations and Japan have evinced interest in Indian students and candidates from Tamil Nadu. Interestingly, virtual fairs are the latest way for institutions abroad to get students.

Recently, 73 higher education institutions (HEIs) from 21 European countries participated in the virtual fair to attract students. The HEIs in foreign countries provide students many opportunities to explore scholarship and funding directly with universities and authorised agencies.

Students too can pick courses in management, engineering, hospitality, humanities, arts, architecture, and design. Around 1,600 programmes are offered in English especially in France and European nations.

Chennai recently witnessed the launch of the ‘Education in Ireland’ roadshow, where the Ireland Education Department welcomed Indian students and gave them a peek into the wide range of educational opportunities Ireland had to offer. Also, it enabled students to meet representatives from Irish varsities and colleges.

Experts say

The US consulate in India has issued a record-high number of student visas during June-August 2023. Consular officers across India issued 95,269 visas in the F, M, and J categories, which is an 18% increase over 2022 during the same time frame.

According to the Open Doors Report (ODR), which was released in Chennai recently, the number of students from India to the US increased by 35% and resulted in an all-time high of 2,68,923 students in academic year 2022-23.

Adam Grotsky, executive director, US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) rightfully observed that “the US continues to be the most popular international study destination for Indian students”. US Consul General in Chennai, Christopher W Hodges, said: “It’s great to see the trajectory in the increase of Indian students studying in the US.”

USIEF regional officer Maya Sundararajan stated that most Indian students choose computer science to study. “Out of the total number of Indian students, 41.2% choose computer science in the under-graduate (UG) and post graduate (PG) levels in the US. Engineering programmes are the second most preferred choice with 26.9% students choosing that stream to pursue,” she pointed out.

Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, country director, The French Institute in India, during a visit here, said that France and India have an agreement for Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications, which eases admissions in each other’s institutions. “France has an ambitious goal of welcoming 30,000 Indian students to France by 2030. In addition to boosting student exchanges, the fairs will also help Indian students explore practical ways for seeking job opportunities in France after graduating there,” he added.

HE Hervé Delphin, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to India, who conducted the virtual education fair, said: “Over 80,000 Indian students chose the EU as the higher education destination in 2022 -23.”

Ross Curran, India director for Enterprise Ireland, who launched his country’s education fair here, said, “Approximately 6,000 Indian students choose Ireland to study each year. The roadshow had given them an opportunity to learn about Ireland’s role as an emerging global centre for tech and commerce, housing the headquarters of more than 1,000 MNCs and start-ups.”

Students’ PoV

K Sai Sherya, who did BTech Computer Science here and got admission for a PG programme in the US, said that the course was affordable for Indian students, as several authorised agencies were offering attractive scholarships.

“Employment opportunities are higher when you have a PG degree from a foreign institution. Plus, my university has 100% placement,” she averred.

Akash M, an Electronics graduate, pursuing PG degree in France, said that Indian students can get an education loan from nationalised banks. “They give a good holiday period. Interest rates are nominal, which makes it easy for students to pay back. Plus, I can get a job in any European country including Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain.”

Consultants warn

Maya advises students aspiring to study in the US to choose only those universities listed and authorised by the USIEF.

“Students have the option of counselling with us before they choose the institution,” she added.

B Venkatachalam, an education consultant in Chennai, said that students, who want to study abroad should not fall prey to the touts. “Many brokers have cheated students on the pretext of getting admission abroad at cheaper fees, which is why they must approach the embassy here and get counselling about studying abroad,” he added. “They could also seek the help of an authorised education advisor for choosing the institutions. Students must check whether the degree, which they get abroad for both PG and UG, is valid in India for further studies or to get employment opportunities".


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