Studying abroad is a life-changing experience and so, before you plunge into the first destination that pops in your mind, sit back and research. It is crucial to weigh all the pros and cons of a country where you plan to further your career. We know it’s overwhelming, that’s why we have this handbook to help you decide on your next study destination.
What course do you want to pursue?
That is your foundation to start with – identify your course of preference by listing down your interests and strengths. Research extensively on the modules, program and its duration offered for your preferred subject. And while you’re at it, ensure to explore employment prospects and long-term benefits as well.
Struggling to choose a course? Here’s help!
What is the scope of your selected course in your desired destination?
Understand the industries that are open for you to explore employment opportunities once you’ve completed your program. Take into account the countries that have maximum avenues for students undertaking your chosen course. Check how strong is the destination in your industry base and if any level of industrial training is available.
For instance, if you wish to make it big in civil engineering, New Zealand is one of the best destinations for you. With the current expansion of construction projects across the country, there is a growing demand for civil engineers with handsome perks here. Ireland is great for students in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry and Australia is the country to be if you are seeking research opportunities.
Does the educational structure of the destination suit you?
Different destinations have different educational structures, which may or may not be in sync with your thought process. Check for the teaching pedagogy followed in the classrooms. For instance, a lot of universities add weight-age to practical training over theoretical concepts. Do you think such an approach would work for you? Would you be comfortable working on research papers and assignments every week?
Do you fulfill the entry requirements?
Always look for the entry requirements for the programs available in your desired destination. Does it offer a program at the level you wish to take entry in? Is it a diploma program or a degree? Understand your preference and select accordingly. For instance, several colleges in Canada offer a postgraduate diploma instead of a master’s degree. Similarly, the UK offers two kinds of master’s – taught and research.
Also check for the academic scores required. Do you fulfill the same? Would you be required to take an additional test apart from the English proficiency test? Do think you’d be able to extract time from your schedule to prepare for additional tests such as GMAT, GRE or SAT?
How much will it cost to study in your desired destination?
It is essential to consider the overall expense involved in studying at a particular destination. When calculating your costs, don’t forget to consider ancillary expenses such as accommodation, utilities, transportation, etc. Consider the duration of your course as that’ll majorly affect your overall cost of studying abroad. For instance, masters in the UK and Ireland are offered for just one year whereas masters in other countries like Canada and Australia can take up to two years.
Find out if there are any scholarships available to study in the desired destination at both government and institute level. If you are able to land one, it can help bring down the cost of your studies considerably. Check if you’ll also be able to work part-time while studying so you can manage your daily expenses easily and also gain some professional experience.
Wondering how much money do you need? We’ll help you budget it out!
Decided which intake you want to opt for?
Did you know that the academic year in universities abroad differ from the ones in India? Consider your current situation – does it allow you to gather everything and apply for the upcoming intake? Applying to a university requires collating all your documents (such as Statement of Purpose, Letter of Recommendation, Curriculum Vitae, Transcripts, etc.), ensure that you have all this in place before your chosen intake begins. If you don’t have enough time for all these formalities, consider going for the next intake.
Does your destination offer employment opportunities?
Your chosen course should be able to help you grow professionally and put you in a state where you can find employment. Consider a destination that offers multiple employment opportunities for your course. For instance, if you’re getting a masters computer science, the US will offer you endless avenues. After all, it is home to tech hubs such as San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Silicon Valley.
What are the student visa requirements and policies?
Check for the visa entry requirements of the destination you are interested in. Each country has a different set of rules to abide by, and sometimes visa processing may take more time than expected. Also, visa processing costs vary for each country. If you’d require, our counselors can help you understand the visa processes with ease.
Does your chosen destination offer you the kind of lifestyle you prefer?
Not a major factor, but something to think about as an Indian student. Lifestyle abroad is going to be extremely different from India. The language, culture, food, way of leading everyday life – everything is going to change. Your way of approaching different situations will also change drastically.
Consider researching on the lifestyle of each destination in order to understand if it lies in sync you’re your aspirations.
What’s the ROI and value of your degree back in India?
As an Indian student who’ll be spending a lot of money, effort and time, it is natural to calculate the return on investment (ROI). Does the destination offer you the kind of return you’d want on your investment? Does it make you job ready? If you are planning to immigrate to another country, reflect upon the opportunities and monetary benefit. Consider the value of your degree back home especially if you intend to return back. Students going for niche courses must also ponder upon this aspect.
Your FOE counselor will also talk you through the practicalities of when you can apply to study and when you can commence your course in different destinations. They can discuss your profile in detail and help map your career and personal aspirations to the right country where you can thrive in.