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Making sense of the patterns revealed by modern-day student migration globally

International universities provide Indian students with a better infrastructure and access to curriculum & courses that aren’t available to them at home

education Updated: Jul 17, 2019 14:42 IST
Rogelio Caceres
Rogelio Caceres
Most Indian students grow up with a dream of building a life in a foreign country
Most Indian students grow up with a dream of building a life in a foreign country(Getty images)
         

Student migration has a direct impact on the economic, social and organizational development of a country. India is renowned worldwide for churning out highly intelligent prodigies that have greatly contributed to the evolution of science, mathematics, and technology amongst other fields. However, the education system of the country hasn’t evolved much in accordance with the changing demands of the global economy. Owing to this, most Indian students grow up with a dream of building a life in a foreign country.

International universities provide Indian students with a better infrastructure and access to curriculum & courses that aren’t available to them at home. Along with the proposition of offering better amenities, international universities also provide exposure to different cultures, world economics and global opportunities to build a career, that aren’t always accessible in India. Mapping immigration patterns of Indian students can help in understanding their behaviour, courses and degrees they like to pursue, long term objectives, and etcetera. This further assists in breaking down why they choose few countries over others and factors that motivate them.

The idea of studying in a foreign country is appealing to Indian students, mainly due to the high standard and holistic approach towards education that is prevalent in these countries. Research depicts that the numbers of international immigrants in first world countries have seen a multi-fold growth over the past seventeen years and host two thirds of the world’s immigrant population. The below enclosed points are based on a survey conducted by LCR Capital Partners with leading educational consultants, Google Reports and Open Doors Report 2017. The objective is to create awareness amongst aspiring students, families and educators about the current immigration trends in the Indian education scenario; that would help them in making an informed decision.

Getting to Know Student preferences

55% students move abroad right after completing their high school education for a Bachelor’s degree, whereas 40% move abroad to pursue their Masters. One key reason for students to prefer going abroad for a bachelor’s degree as compared to a masters is because they have more time to explore, experience and learn skills that would be beneficial for their professional and personal growth. Students pursuing a bachelor degree often invest in learning new languages, travelling and networking, along with undertaking relevant internships that would enhance their resume. In terms of course preference, over 35% students select management related courses followed by engineering and economics attracting 25% and 20% international pupils respectively. This need to relocate to a foreign country at a young age is driven by the increased knowledge about the ever-evolving global economies. Students are now capable to recognise early on - how their future would look like if they aren’t able to acquire the correct set of skills that would set them apart from their peers. A country like India has a population of over 1.2 billion people where majority of persons are concentrated at an average age of 25. Therefore, the competition at top ranking educational institutions is extremely tough – leading to deserving candidates not receiving

the appropriate opportunities. These challenges have encouraged Indians to let go of colleges at home and move abroad to peruse courses that resonate with their long-term goals including a high earning capability, better quality of life, access to infrastructure and amenities amongst other things.

· Evaluating Opportunities – Country Wise

With globalisation touching lives worldwide, access to global universities in different continents has become much easier. Despite the sensitive issues with the H1B visa program, 53% Indians still prefer to study in the US. Canada follows suit with 16.5 % Indians keen on relocating to the country. Other countries like Australia and the United Kingdom are seen as the most feasible option by 10.3% and 10.7% Indian students respectively; whereas over 8% students also consider News Zealand as a viable option. America remains to be as the most sought-after country for immigration as it is the world’s largest consumer market offering the best opportunities and dominates the globe in terms of education with Ivy league colleges like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT and others under its belt. An association with not only these Ivy League colleges but a degree from any of the state universities like NYU, Columbia, UCLA and etc can significantly increase the value of one’s education – enabling students to catch the eye of top tier employers globally.

· Understanding the Scope for Professional Growth

Evaluating the immigration process and growth prospects of every country is also a point that students consider while selecting where they would want to go. 60% students who move abroad, especially to the United States aspire to live and work there permanently. 30% hope to complete their education and gain some work experience before returning home. Only 10% immigrant students come back to their country of residence right after attaining their degree. Therefore, the highest concentration of students falls in the category of wanting to build a life in the foreign country they choose to study in – which implies that countries that offer the most viable career advancement opportunities are chosen. Since, the United States tops the list, their immigrant student population comprises of 17.9% Indians, which is the second highest after China that has a 33.2% share. Canada is the next best option for Indians, however, due to its colder climate and limited opportunities for job and professional growth, it is chosen by a limited set of students who are certain of their future in the country. The United Kingdom on the other hand is a lucrative option, but due to higher cost of living, students refrain from choosing it over other feasible options.

· Considering More than One Immigration Options

Immigrating to another country can be quite a daunting task, especially when dealing with university applications is coupled with immigration formalities. Every country offers multiple immigration options depending on the candidate’s long-term goals post the completion of their education. 80% experts believe that a student’s immigration status greatly impacts their career growth trajectory in a foreign country and 15% believe that it has a moderate effect on the said criteria. Students in most cases can avail benefits of being ahead of their

immigrant peers by investing in the various citizenship by investment programs of different countries. The most popular programs availed by Indian students are the EB-5 visa program to the US, Quebec for Canada and Tier 1 Investor Visa for UK. However, the EB-5 investor Visa program to the US is the most used investor visa globally to secure a future in the world’s biggest economy. These visa programs offer the students the autonomy to live and work in the US with certainty as they are considered as residents who contribute to the economic growth of the said country.

Studying overseas is a life changing experience for every student. Leaving one’s home country and relocating to a foreign land is both exciting yet challenging, especially for students who are accustomed to live with or near their families. This experience enables them to broaden their horizons, learn about new cultures and become self-sufficient and independent in order to face the real world.

(The author is CCO & Co-Founder, LCR Capital Partners)

First Published: Jul 17, 2019 14:42 IST