Gain more, overseas

STUDYING ABROAD

ANCHORS  AWAY A foreign education gives students the opportunity to network with some of the finest minds in their chosen disciplines.

If you are planning to study abroad, there is no limit to the places you can go to and the courses you can study. And Indian students are forever seeking this opportunity! With their keenness to explore new frontiers, they have embraced ‘foreign education’ strongly. Especially in the past two decades, the number of Indian students going abroad to study has increased tremendously. India holds the second position (after China) in sending its students to top destinations the world over; USA being the hot favourite, followed by UK, Australia, Singapore and France.

Higher education in China too is gaining popularity, with institutions providing world-class training in practically every field. China's educational institutions are advancing at a rapid pace and more and more overseas students are taking advantage of world-class Chinese facilities and instruction.

There are many advantages in studying abroad. Academically speaking, students are attracted to technically sounder nations than India, such as USA and UK, where the quality of infrastructure is excellent and unmatched. Apart from this, the avenues for interdisciplinary research and training are better explored in the west than in India. For instance, the ‘endowment funding’ culture in the US is phenomenal and students benefit from it immensely.

Foreign education also gives students the opportunity to network with some of the finest minds in their chosen disciplines. Such interaction with world class faculty enables them to learn from the rich experiences of industry leaders and practitioners and imbibe their best practices. Indian students also get a good exposure to foreign culture. They develop a good perspective about foreign culture and learn to appreciate their own culture and customs. Exposure to such multi-cultural trends is an enriching experience, since students develop a feel and taste for the same.

Many surveys have been conducted to understand the cultural implications of studying abroad. Results have shown that studying abroad, apart from helping students adapt to a new culture, also helps them understand their own cultural values and biases better. It also contributes to their developing a more sophisticated way of looking at the world. Gaining such a diverse perspective is truly valued and is a sure ‘plus plus’ on their CV.

There is greater flexibility in the way the courses are taught in foreign universities as compared to Indian ones. Students have the liberty to choose different modules and are encouraged to develop a practice-oriented approach to learning. Many universities also provide students the opportunity to gain part-time work experience, thereby improving their job prospects.

Now, to play the Devil’s Advocate! While a foreign education definitely gives you a better exposure and encourages independent thinking, one needs to note that the western models are too focused on capitalism and the excessive use of the earth’s resources. Many B-Schools in India have tried to ape the western model, but have failed miserably. Such models, which are not mindful of the planet and evolving global challenges, do not last long. Corruption sets in, which ultimately leads to a leadership crisis and downfall of the economy. The impact of global economic crises on higher education is well known. The access to public funding in the sector of higher education is very important and essential, especially during economic meltdown. The benefits are long-term, considering the public costs and public benefits in conjunction. Today, the world is witnessing the consequences of unethical practices in businesses and the impact of non-sustainable actions by corporations at an increased level. And one can only attribute this to the failing education system in the west.

India today is on the cusp of a ‘reverse brain-drain’ —a great sign of the world’s confidence in the Indian economy! People from all over the world are recognising our potential and are coming to study and work here. To capitalise on this trend, the need of the hour is to build character into business education, be it in India or abroad.

(The writer is founder & CEO, School of Inspired Leadership)

Comments (+)