7 Factors to Help You Choose the Right Country for Higher Studies Abroad
Can’t decide where to study? If you are unable to choose among USA, UK or Australia, these 7 factors will help you shortlist your college destination.
With the plethora of study abroad options opening up, students are spoilt for choice. If you were to go by the numbers, according to reports, over 3,00,000 Indian students travel abroad every year for higher studies abroad. And the growth rate of Indian student mobility to international schools continues to grow steadily at 18%. Going by statistics, the favorite college destination continues to be America, closely followed by UK, Australia, Canada and the UAE. English speaking destinations get preferred over other European nations because most Indian students are conversant with English.
But statistics are generalizations. What you choose has to be specific to your career preferences. If you like Australia over UK or US, you can opt to go there. To make a well thought out decision, here are 7 factors to bear in mind while choosing the right country for higher studies abroad:
- Make a Good Cost Benefit Analysis.
Money is an important consideration in any college selection process. You want to get a bang for every buck you spend. At the same time, you need to look at the long term return on your investment. What kind of career path do you wish to take? Which countries have greater scope for future employment? What are the tuition and living costs in the destination of your choice? What kind of loan or aid can you expect to procure? Don’t forget to factor in other expenses such as visa fees, medical and travel insurance costs, and the like. It is a good idea to speak to locals of your chosen location. They can alert you to hidden costs that may have missed your eye.
- Check the University or Course Credentials.
Merely cost is not everything. Make sure that your college and course are reputed enough to warrant application. There are many colleges that may sound good on paper but may not have the appropriate credentials. Furthermore, make sure the curriculum and department are providing you the appropriate foundation to secure your dream job. We want to make sure that you get the right course and college that merits your relocation. So choose your university wisely. The US Department of Education publishes a list of accredited universities on its website. Make sure to have a go at the list before you narrow down your choices.
- Ensure the Geography, Location, and Climate is Suitable.
While this may not seem like an important criterion, practical limitations may hinder your learning process. The climate, proximity to main cities, and ease of establishing communication should be factored into the decision making process. For example, if you are pursuing a Finance major, then colleges that are situated in remote locations could affect your job prospects and ability to network compared to universities close to financial centers. Also, if you have allergies or medical conditions that make some locations unfavourable, cross them out of your list right away. Health comes first.
- Research About the Student Profile, Especially for International Students.
Have you studied the student demography in your chosen college destination? Talk to student alumni, international student house, your friends, and family. You’d want to go to a college that has a structured initiation program for all international students. Find out how other international students have coped with issues such as accommodation, culture shock, campus safety, and the like.
- Go to a Tried and Tested Destination.
It is always safer to go to tried and tested destinations. The reasons are multifold: a) any country that has a steady inflow of students of a specific nation has its processes in place to accommodate new immigrants b) you have a database of referrals and friendly folk who can help you in times of need c) colleges are equipped to handle every emergency and d) you can go by the track record to make the right decisions. Moreover, the immigration authorities and the college admissions office are accustomed to your cultural uniqueness.
- Review the Economic and Political Climate of Your Chosen Country.
In recent times, the political climate has affected the choice of country for many international students. Students like to study in countries that favor parity of education standards, for all their students. It is no wonder that you find the maximum number of students heading westwards to countries like the US and Europe.
- Study Employment Opportunities in India and Abroad Post Course Completion.
Your choice of the country should factor in employment opportunities post completion of the course. If you plan to work abroad, find out what career options exist for you in your chosen college destination. Review campus placement track record – especially for international students. Read up about employment statistics in the country of your choice. Find out about prerequisites for a work visa, especially for internships after graduation. If you plan to return to India post education, consider the employment records of students in your preferred course and college destination.
While these 7 factors are not watertight, they serve as important guidelines while basing your decision to study abroad. Eventually, your choice of location will depend upon what agrees with your profile and preference. Employ your judgment while making the right choice.