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Rahat Bano, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 02, 2012
Students of London Metropolitan University (LMU) were recently left high and dry when the institute’s licence to sponsor non-European enrolees was revoked. Even though they have been granted relief, no one would want to go through a similar experience. So, here’s how to cover your flanks and not get marooned on foreign soil.

1 Well begun is half done. Proceed in your search with a clear purpose and motivation. Why do you wish to study abroad? For better career prospects, to enter the international job market, for immigration purposes, just for the tag, a combination of these or for something else (‘others are doing so’)? Which degree or qualification can help you achieve your (legitimate) goals? Which institutions and overseas destination/s are best for it? 

2 Get the facts from the horse’s mouth. Start your search by looking up official, authentic sources of information. You could begin by approaching various countries’ embassies or high commissions or their education divisions such as the United States-India Educational Foundation and the British Council. Your school counsellor or teachers or college faculty, too, might be able to guide you in this respect.

3 Through the official website of the institution/s you are interested in, you could write to the international students’ section for information or guidance. 

4 Must you go through an agent? If you decide to approach an agent, choose one carefully. If you have shortlisted colleges or universities, visit their websites to check if they have India representatives and offices (if they do, then the contact details are usually mentioned there). “Students are advised to consult only the authorised agencies for admissions and other related formalities,” says an expert working in international student recruitment in India, who earlier worked with the British Council. 

5 In the case of the United Kingdom, applicants should “carefully read and satisfy themselves with the ‘Trusted’ status awarded by the UKBA (UK Border Agency) to the institution,” he says. Also, you ought to yourself confirm what are the basic admission requirements of your target institution/s. English language skills are critical for international applicants.

“Students must pay attention to the fact that the entry criterion is not compromised at the time of admission. Also, they should not get carried away by the offers made by unscrupulous agencies, claiming to be representatives of the institution in question. Students must meet the English language requirements as laid down by the institution for a particular course/programme,” says the expert, who doesn’t wish to be named. To be sure, “cross-check with the university websites, or information sheets (prospectuses) provided by the institution, instead of believing hearsay.”

6 There are many factors that help one determine whether a particular college or university is the right match for one. Among others, talking to current and former students of your chosen institution could get you answers to queries or doubts you might have. Many universities in places such as Britain, North America, and Australia have Indian students’ associations or societies, which can be a source of help. Not only this, alumni of some overseas universities have Indian
chapters.

Where to get the right info
* British Council
www.britishcouncil.org/india.htm
* United States-India Educational Foundation
 www.usief.org.in
* German Academic Exchange Service (or DAAD)
 http://newdelhi.daad.de/
* Campus France
www.inde.campusfrance.org
* High Commission of Canada
 http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/india-inde/study-etudie/index.aspx?lang=eng&view=d
* Australian High Commission
http://www.india.embassy.gov.au/ndli/home.html
* New Zealand High Commission
http://www.nzembassy.com/india
* Swedish Institute
 http://www.si.se/English/
* Centre for International Mobility (CIMO, Finland)
 http://www.cimo.fi/frontpage
* Nuffic Netherlands Education Support Offices (Nuffic Nesos)
 http://www.nesoindia.org/
* China's Ministry of Education / Study in China
 http://www.moe.edu.cn/
 http://en.csc.edu.cn/ laihua/