Busting myths about an overseas degree

india vs abroad It is a misconception that studying abroad is a cumbersome and expensive affair.

Busting myths about an overseas degree

A  lot of Indian students aspire to study abroad. Even though India continues to be one of the top countries from where students travel abroad to study, the “study abroad industry” continues to be in its nascent stages.

The reasons are many, but amongst the top ones are the lack of knowledge and information.

Most Indian students believe that you need to have an excellent academic background to be able to reach out to a university abroad. Some even believe that studying abroad is an expensive affair and requires a lot of money.

And then there are those students who believe that they do not wish to go abroad because they do not wish to settle abroad and are unaware of the prospects back home of their foreign degree.

Talking about the first two things to begin with, it is safe to say that they are nothing more than myths. True enough, if we look at the top universities, then both of the aforementioned points apply.

However, the fact remains that there are more options abroad than, at present, India can offer.

To begin with, if searched effectively, students would be surprised to know that many good universities abroad are not that expensive after all. State-owned universities across various countries are cheaper than private schools.

Moreover, there are countries where tuition fee is not that high either. For instance, Germany is a well-known study abroad destination where there is no tuition fee for any bachelor’s course at a state-owned university.

Similarly, countries like the Baltic States or Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are rather inexpensive and a bachelor’s degree would cost a student about Rs six lacs – which is comparable to any private university in India itself.

Perhaps, yes, if you add the living costs and convert the Indian Rupee into Dollars, it would look like a rather expensive affair. However, a student travelling within India would also be spending a similar amount to sustain himself/herself within the metro city s/he would move to.

For instance, let us compare the living costs of staying in a city like Noida. On an average, a hostel of a private institute in the city would cost a student roughly to the tune of Rs 10,000 a month.

To this, the student would add other costs like food and travelling costs, resulting in the total being around Rs 30,000 a month. Now if we were to compare this to a country like Germany or Lithuania or Ireland, the average monthly living expenses is stated at about €500, which is about Rs 37,000 at present exchange rate. The difference, as you can see, is not that much.

Even if we talk about the USA – which continues to be the top choice for students planning to study abroad, there are many options available. To think, USA has (as per 2012 data) around 4,726 Universities – both public and private granting degrees at the tertiary level.

While all universities cannot match up to the likes of Harvard or Yale, the fact remains that out of the top 500 universities of the world, universities in the USA account for the largest number.

And while not all graduates would be able to get placed in Fortune 500 companies, there are other aspects of a foreign degree that a student in India does not understand as yet. Which also brings us to our third deterrent for students wanting to study abroad – the opportunities for them back home. The answer to that is – it’s a fair enough opportunity.

India is, in every sense of the word, a rapidly developing country. With the economy on the rise, the corporates within the country are moving abroad and more importantly, companies are moving to India. They are always looking for talent and a degree from a foreign university is as well accepted as a degree from an Indian university.

Also, the advantages of studying in a multi-cultural environment – which a foreign university promises – adds to the many personality traits companies look for in today’s day and age.

Studying abroad, hones the ability of an individual to make decisions, work in a team or different ethnicities and also communicate in a better manner.

Furthermore, a student, who has lived within a community for four years and understood the culture of another country, would be more of an asset to an organisation than a brilliant ace student who has never stepped out of the shore of his/her town.

The level of confidence alone would increase the opportunity of that student.
So the prospect of living in a foreign land or expenses must not deter Indian students from nurturing their talents.

 (The author is executive vice-president & business head, Shiksha.com)

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