52% Of Indian Students Intending to Study Abroad Prefer Specialized Courses Over University Reputation


52 percent of Indian students intending to study abroad prefer specialized courses over university reputation when choosing the institution, the ‘Education Overseas–An Evolving Journey’ study commissioned by Western Union to NielsenIQ has revealed.

“They seek courses that are niche, but slowly gaining importance, often looking beyond Ivy League Universities that are unable to offer these courses,” the study reads.

For 52 percent of students, the following areas are taking precedence over traditional university courses:

  • Data Analytics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Digital Marketing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Ethical Hacking and Ecotechnology

Furthermore, 64 percent of students said that qualifying exams remain an obstacle for them, which pushes them to opt for countries or to choose universities that do not have entrance exams or do not require English proficiency, Erudera.com reports.

The study states that although the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia remain the top four destinations, the number of students considering other destinations such as Germany, Italy, Ireland, Turkey, Russia, and China, has increased. Some 22 percent of student participants said they now prefer Ireland, Turkey and Spain as study destinations.

According to data by MEA, more than 10.9 lakh Indian students were pursuing studies in 85 countries of the world as of January 2021, with a high number (29,600 students) heading to China alone, while a total of 10,000 students to Germany and France together.

Other findings include:

  • 45 percent of students prioritize self-dependence
  • 46 percent of students prefer hybrid learning
  • 43 percent of students prefer travelling and exploring other cultures over better education and job opportunities

In addition, parents expressed concerns regarding student loans, mainly about loan repayment owing to the volatile nature of the present landscape. Budgeting and financial planning were the main barriers that students and parents mentioned in the study.

54 percent of students claimed that financial issues are their main concern while intending to study abroad, which has also impacted the decision of 47 percent of students to choose courses with a shorter duration due to high costs while studying overseas.

Due to high tuition fees, three in four students participating in the study said that they looked for scholarships when choosing majors.

Western Union commissioned NielsenIQ to carry out the study between January and June 2021, including 807 individuals, students, parents, grandparents, career counsellors, across 12 cities.

Due to travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in most countries worldwide, Indian students have been facing difficulties to pursue their studies abroad, in particular in Australia, where students were banned from entering the country since March 20 last year.

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