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Study abroad: Beyond the US and UK

Indian students can now gain an international learning experience within Asia, as universities in China, Singapore and Hong Kong provide quality education at lower costs.

education Updated: Jan 25, 2012 11:37 IST
Pooja Biraia

While the US and UK continue to be the most common study-abroad destinations, you can now add Singapore, Hong Kong and/or China to your list of options.

The universities in these three countries have emerged as attractive options for international students, especially from India. According to overseas education consultant, Pratibha Jain, there are four main factors that cause Indian students to consider universities in mainland Asia.

“First, the quality of education is par excellence, second, the cost of education is comparatively lower than in Western universities in terms of tuition and living expenses; third, Asia is closer to home and fourth, the economies in Asian countries are growing at an unprecedented rate, which means getting a job is easier,” she says.

A recent survey by Graduate Management Admission Council, the body that governs the GMAT shows that the number of students sending their GMAT scores to universities in these countries has increased substantially in the past few years.

China
China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and is now being explored as a serious study abroad destination.

“China has an enviable reputation as far as its universities are concerned, and a number of Chinese schools currently rank among the top 100 in the QS world ranking of universities,” says Natasha Chopra, director, The Chopras, an overseas education consultancy.

The 2,000 plus universities and institutes in China are renowned for their programmes in business and medicine. The number of foreign students in China hit a record high of more than 2,60,000 in 2010, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Education.

According to Varaprasad Dolla, associate professor for Chinese studies at JNU, universities in China have world-class infrastructure and excellent quality education.

“For instance, Peking University in China is at par with Harvard, while Tsingua University has world class programmes in technology, and is known as the MIT of China,” says Dolla.

Quality education is a result of universities in China employing competent professors and researchers from the US and UK.

Hong Kong
In the last two decades, Hong Kong has carved a place for itself in the list of countries that boast world-class institutions. In the recent QS rankings, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and City University of Hong Kong were placed at positions five and 15 respectively.

“The pattern of education in the universities of Hong Kong was formulated during the colonial rule, hence, the teaching quality and infrastructure are excellent,” says Dolla.

Hong Kong is home to eight government-funded universities, all of which use English as medium of instruction. Besides engineering and bio-sciences, art and design are popular courses among Indian students.

Singapore
Singapore boasts immense cultural diversity, besides offering an international standard of education.

“There three main universities that are known for their high academic standards are the National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Nanyang Technological University. These institutes have tie-ups with leading institutes across the world, and the degrees from these universities are globally recognised,” says Jain.

Popular courses here include those in the fields of science and technology, medicine, and arts and design.

Studentspeak
Astha Kalbag, 18 is currently doing a bachelor’s in business management at Singapore Management University: I decided to study in Singapore, as the job opportunities there are immense and I will be able to recover my investment easily.

I got in touch with current and past students through the university’s Facebook page and learnt all about it, before I arrived at the campus. Also, I was impressed by the fact that international students can work for 15 hours a week on a part-time basis.

Nikhil Wadhwa, 27, completed an MBA from the University of Hong Kong: I chose to study in Hong Kong because I did not want to go too far from India and the medium of instruction is English.

Most importantly, the degrees are globally recognised. As part of the course, we had to go to Beijing for a month to learn Mandarin. There were 50 students in my batch; we had a career development cell and each of us were counselled on a one-on-one basis.

The market is stable and there are a lot of job opportunities in Hong Kong all we had to do was to network and explore the market.