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Students considering where to pursue their university education have a greater choice than ever and there are an increasing number of International Universities that cater to students looking to study abroad.

A list of ten things to consider in helping them decide where to apply:

1. Networks

The friendships you form in University will stay with you – and indeed help shape – your entire life. So what kind of network are you looking for? International universities typically have a very diverse student bodies, which means that students end up making friends from all over the place. Take as an example the experience of my former student Claudio. When I ran into him last semester and asked him how his summer had been, he replied casually that he had spent his time visiting his friends from university. As it turned out, this meant Claudio had spent his summer in Greece, the UK, France, Switzerland and Morocco as well as hosting a bunch of his friends who came to visit him in his native Italy. International universities foster global friendships, even if you are not a globetrotting couch-surfer like Claudio!

2 Faculty

If you are considering an International School, check the list of faculty to make sure the diversity of the staff reflects the diversity of the student body. Where major national universities will have the large majority of professors educated within the local tradition, international schools tend to draw from people all over the world. At my university, for instance, our students just in their first year are taught by professors from Spain, Canada, Finland, the US, Pakistan, Germany, Argentina and France, among other places. This means that you can expect to benefit from a broad range of academic backgrounds (as well as accents!) in the classroom.

3. Class Environment

International universities tend to be smaller and follow an Anglo-American model of pedagogy. This means smaller classrooms and a much more interactive learning environment. Students at major national institutions typically (although not always) end up in large lecture theatres and have only limited interactions with most of their professors at least during their first two years of study. International universities look much more like small liberal arts colleges, where class size is restricted and professors are encouraged to be accessible and part of campus life outside the classroom

4. Campus Life

Typically, international universities feature small, often residential campuses. This means student life is much less anonymous and much more engaged than at larger institutions where students often live at home and visit campus only for lectures or to study. So if you want a more active student life, then often smaller is better. On the downside, however, smaller institutions can have fewer resources, like sports facilities or large research libraries. So you should think about what is important to you in terms of the campus experience

5.International vs. Foreign Student

There is an important distinction between being a foreign and an international student. Students, for example, who come from abroad to study in larger national institutions often end up part of a community of foreign students. At international universities, everyone is “foreign,” even local students, because there is no dominant national identity on campus. So the label becomes meaningless since students are not absorbed into or surrounded by a specific cultural identity on campus. Everyone is international; no one is foreign.

6. Language

The language of international universities is always, to my knowledge, English. If you are interested in pursuing your studies in that language, then an International University is probably a very good fit. With a broad international reach, the level of English within the student body will vary considerably, despite TOEFL scores or other tests that international universities tend to require to control for language competency. But I have observed that acquisition of very strong spoken and written English is an incidental benefit from being in an immersive English language environment over four years. Students do not always enter our institution with the strongest English language skills, but they usually graduate with a near-native command of the language. It is also worth noting that international universities are by definition very multicultural, which means that students end up benefitting from multiple language circles. In my classrooms, for instance, I typically walk into a mishmash of languages being spoken by my students. So while your curriculum will be in English, your world will be multilingual

7. Career Plans

This is important because an international university can offer outstanding preparation for some careers, but not others. If you want to be a doctor or a schoolteacher, for example, you are probably much better served by pursuing your studies at a national institution. But if you are interested in pursuing an international business career, for instance, then studying at an international institution is likely a strong choice. When they graduate, our students tend to consider options across the globe. Some will certainly choose to return to their home country, but others will head to places like New York, London or Singapore where their education and their university network has opened doors for them in launching their career

8.Cultural Literacy

Wherever you study, you will of course end up discovering the world beyond campus, which offers you the opportunity to acquire literacy in that culture. So if you are considering studying abroad, you should make sure that you have an affinity for the country in which the institution is located. Many of our students come to us in part because they are attracted to Spain and want to learn both the language and about the culture. Sometimes it is not that profound. I had one student tell me she that, while she wanted to study a business degree in English, more importantly she hated winter and so was looking for a place that was mostly sunny and warm. And given those criteria, Spain sounded pretty good. Whatever your motivation, the country is going to be your home for four years, so you should ensure you will be happy there

9. Talk to Existing Students

If possible, you should visit the universities you are thinking about attending to sit in on a lecture or two and get a feel for campus life. Where you pursue your university education will be one of the most important decisions of your life, so it is worth investing the time and energy to make sure you choose the right place. That is not always feasible of course, particularly if you are thinking of institutions that are far away from home. What you can do, however, is talk to students who are already there. No one can tell you more about the institution, its culture, the professors, the curriculum, even the quality of the cafeteria food, than the students. Every University should make available someone with whom you can have an honest discussion about the pros and cons of attending. You should take advantage of that opportunity. At my institution, we have a program that pairs student volunteers with prospective freshmen. And while the students who volunteer are generally enthusiastic, they are not there to shill for the university but will give you honest and straightforward answers about the academic and social life on and off campus

10. Do you want your future to be Local or Global?

I know this sounds like an empty slogan, but it is actually an important consideration. Because we have invested a certain cachet in the word “global,” it is probably instinctive to think, “Oh, I want to be a global citizen.” But in fact, you should think seriously about whether that is true. Students who pursue degrees at international universities often come from international backgrounds – they have multiple passports or languages or have lived in many different places. So they feel comfortable plotting a future that is indifferent to national boundaries. Other students come precisely because they want to give themselves an advantage to move beyond their local circle. Yet others come because they are looking to go back home with wider cultural horizons. Butthat is not for everyone and it is worth thinking about where you will be comfortable

Studying abroad is an exciting, yet expensive affair. Most countries, other than the United States, allow students to work off campus while studying. In the United States, students are permitted to work on campus for a maximum period of 20 hours per week. While other countries also have a similar limitation on the number of hours, students are permitted to find jobs off campus as well. For instance, in Canada, you can apply for a permit that allows you to work off campus for a period of 20 hours per week during the academic session and 40 hours per week during vacations. The rules are not very different for students who wish to study in the UK and Australia. By working on or off campus, you can expect to earn sufficient funds to pay for your personal expenses and sometimes even living expenses. But very rarely will you be able to fund your entire education from this income. The jobs that students typically take up on campus include working in the library, laboratory, dining halls, admissions offices, etc. Off campus jobs usually involves working in restaurants and at petrol pumps. The average minimum wage in the United States is $8.25 per hour. Thus, working for 20 hours at the minimum wage can fetch you $660 a month.

Graduate assistantships
Students unable to work on or off campus can always apply for funding from the university itself. Most universities in the United States and some universities in Canada and Australia offer students graduate assistantships (GAs). A GA is an award which pays for your entire tuition fee as well as a monthly stipend which helps you take care of your living expenses. Students, who get such assistantships, can work as teaching assistants (TAs) or research assistants (RAs). Typically, the job profile of a GA is to assist professors in grading papers, teach smaller classes and help with research. Assistantships are extremely competitive and are granted to students with excellent grades and, at times, to those with past work experience. Students can earn a stipend of up to US $1,200 per month.

Need based funding
If you don't land up with a GA or an on or off campus job, you can still apply to your university for merit or need-based funding. Many universities offer scholarships to students with excellent grades. Such scholarships are evidently not only competitive but also based on need. Thus, if you can demonstrate that you actually require the funds, you may have a better chance at receiving a funding directly by the university. Such scholarships generally range from 10-75% of the tuition fee.

Education loans
Finally, if you have no other choice, you can apply for education loans in India. Several state banks in India offer educational loans of up to Rs 30,00,000. The interest rate for these loans is around 11.75% and the repayment period starts one year post the completion of the course or six months after getting a job, whichever happens earlier. The loan must be paid within 12 years and the security required to get the loan is usually around 115% of the loan amount. 
Banks in the United States give loans to international students without security only if a citizen or green card holder with good credit history acts as their guarantor. The benefits of this loan include lower interest rates of around 7-9% and repayment period of close to 25 years. 

A good way to fund your education is to take a combination of the several options listed here. However, studying abroad can be a costly affair. Thus, if you do wish to pursue your education overseas, make sure that you plan your finances before you apply for admissions or at least before you leave the country.

  • It is becoming increasingly important to have a set of skills and competencies that will make you a global citizen. And getting an international education is an excellent way to prepare you to function effectively in this global economy. Whether you spend a few weeks or several years studying abroad, the experience will change you and the way you think.
  • Universities abroad have a reputation of providing a holistic educational experience to help students realize their passions and pursue careers that are best suited for their aptitudes. Coupled with the difficulties in getting into good Indian institutions, we are seeing a growth in students pursuing an overseas undergraduate degree right after high school.
  • If you are interested in studying abroad, you will want to consider the following trends in international education.
  • The opportunities to pursue research, even at the undergraduate level are increasingly attracting students to study overseas.  Faculty at foreign universities are leading experts in their fields.  In conjunction with industry, they are conducting research on cutting edge topics and technologies in their respective fields and are preparing students with skills and knowledge required by the jobs of the future.
  • Unconventional/non-traditional majors with tremendous career potential such as game design, neuroscience, paper science engineering, mechatronic engineering, data analytics, actuarial science, etc, are drawing students to study overseas. Graduates of these kinds of programmes are in great demand with excellent income opportunities.
  • Foreign universities, especially the ones in the US, offer students an opportunity to pursue multiple areas of interest at the same time.  Want an engineering degree with a certificate in entrepreneurship?  No problem.  How about a business degree with a minor in psychology? Absolutely.
  • An increasing awareness that there are other universities and colleges that provide excellent education other than the Ivy Leagues in the US is leading students and parents to seek “right-fit” universities as opposed to just brand names.  Since admission to the Ivy Leagues is very competitive, not to mention the cost of attendance, international students are thriving at hundreds of state universities and liberal arts colleges.
  • Foreign universities are establishing a stronger presence in India offering workshops at various high schools around the country to help students and parents understand the viability and feasibility of pursuing an undergraduate degree abroad. Increasingly, universities are offering several merit-based scholarships that reduce the financial burden of an overseas education.
  • Employers have started acknowledging the value of a global education and are seeking such graduates for employment opportunities in India.  This is allowing students an opportunity to voluntarily return home for employment after their studies.

Often, science students opting for flexible, interdisciplinary degree programmers in uncommon fields are eager to look at study options overseas. This, because programmers offered at most universities abroad are application-oriented and encourage students to think independently through projects and presentation of papers. Moreover, students have the flexibility of choosing electives based on their interests as opposed to the more stringent and inflexible curricula offered at Indian universities.

Popular Options
Aerospace engineering, genetics, forensic science are popular concentrations for undergraduate study while robotics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, cosmology, pharmacognosy, cancer biology, immunology and marine biology are increasingly attracting Indian students for graduate study and research.

Additionally, courses in astrophysics, structural engineering, geographic information systems, environmental science, sports technology, behavioral sciences, occupational therapy, pharmaceutics, aviation science, transportation engineering, nutrition science and food technology, automotive design, animal science, clinical psychology, nuclear engineering,  meteorology, criminology, kinesiology and exercise science are gaining popularity and emerging as critical knowledge domains to be explored over and above the traditional fields of computer engineering, business management and biomedical sciences.

Country Check Us
Due to the wide range of universities and academic disciplines it offers, the US is a popular option among students looking to pursue a four-year undergraduate degree as well as two-year Master's programmers. Other reasons for the popularity of the US as a study destination among Indian students are the way in which programmers are designed to allow individual interest and aptitude to flower within each academic curriculum and the affordability of the programmers coupled with scholarship possibilities. An added advantage is the possibility of employment and conversion to a worker visa at the end of the degree programmers.

Canada offers good degree programmers in science and technology at select universities. While diplomas are acceptable for employment, it is advisable for international students with long-term professional and immigrant aspirations to pursue a Bachelor's or Master's degree so future employers can justify their employment over that of a Canadian citizen. This will help in getting Permanent Resident status.

All overseas students are required to obtain a student authorization and visa before going to Canada for studies. Students must also meet the requirements of the Canadian Immigration Act and Regulations. Limited scholarships are available from universities. In some universities, especially in Quebec, proficiency in French language is required. Graduating international students may apply to work in Canada for up to two years after graduation.

The UK offers a number of good three-year Bachelor's and one-year Master's degree programmers in science, math's and technology. However, fewer scholarships, the withdrawal of the post-study work visa are major deterrents for students going to the UK.

Countries like Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Italy offer niche programmers in technology. Polymer science, marine biology, wireless communications and naval architecture are interesting options available in universities in Denmark and Sweden. Structural engineering is very well researched in the Dutch universities while biological sciences in its entire and varied domain is researched and taught at an exemplary level in Germany and France. Italian universities teach transportation design and automotive engineering at a superior level of technical and aesthetic performance.

However, programmers costs for non-EU nationals may be restrictive for some students.

The international degree programmers are taught in English but learning the local language will pave the way for a longer stay. Residence permit, valid for all Change states, is granted to students within 8-12 weeks of arrival, to be renewed annually. However, proficiency in the local language is mandatory for employment.

Students have the option of applying for the DAAD scholarship in Germany and the Erasmus Munds scholarships for study in the EU. The average cost of one year of study is about Euro 20,000.

In Britain, Commonwealth Scholarships are available, along with meager bursaries from universities.

Admission Zone
Indian students may apply for study loans from banks in India provided they have a guarantor and/ or collateral in the form of immoveable property for sums larger than Rs 4,00,000. If an Indian student can provide a guarantor resident in the US, then study loans are available at much lower interest rates from JP Morgan Chase, Sallie Mae or Citicorp.

A student visa is granted on terms of serious academic intent, lack of immigrant aspirations and ability to pay for one's academic and living expenses. Documentation is important but the ability to articulate your point of view and answer questions directly and unhesitatingly during the interview is of paramount importance.


  • Good score at the school and college level
  • SAT scores (for students applying for scholarships for bachelor's programmers)/ GRE scores for postgraduate (PG) programmers
  • TOEFL iBT score
  • Co-curricular or extra-curricular achievements

Additionally, applicants for PG programmers need to:

  • Clearly express their academic intent and research objective
  • Preferably, showcase any projects or papers written on core interest areas

You are about to embark on a new journey, but before leaving for your destination, there are a few points that you should keep in mind to make your experience of studying abroad fulfilling

Flights and Immigration
Many airlines including Air India, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, allow extra baggage allowance for students. Check your baggage size and weight limits before you choose your airline. Earlier, if you were flying to the US you were allowed two bags each weighing 32 kg each totaling 64 kilos. This has now been reduced by most airlines to 23 kilos per bag totaling 46 kilos.

If you are travelling to the US, UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand you do not need to have ECNR or ‘Emigration Check Not Required’ in your passport. If you get an immigration officer who insists on you having ECNR, call the manager of the airport because you do not need ECNR while travelling to developed countries. Nowadays, most of the new Indian passports don’t have ECNR stamped on them.

If asked at customs, state the amount of foreign exchange that you are carrying. As a student you are allowed to carry the amount mentioned on your I-20 or admission letter, as long as you are not carrying foreign currency equivalent to over US$3000.

When you reach your destination country make sure that you have your passport and I-20 or admission letter with you when you land. At the foreign immigration counter you may be asked the reason for your visit, how long you plan to stay in the country and how you plan to fund your education. 

Make sure that you answer all the questions honestly. In some countries you may also be fingerprinted at the immigration counter. This is routine procedure. Also keep in mind that currently students arriving in the US are asked to undergo secondary immigration inspection. 

Don’t stress because if you are a genuine student with authentic travel documents, you will have no problem.
When you land and clear immigration and collect your bags, you will encounter customs just before you leave the airport. The customs officer may ask you about the contents of your bag and if you are carrying fresh food with you. Again, make sure you answer honestly. Remember, all customs officers are aware that food can always be found in any Indian student’s bag.

Health & Insurance
If you plan to study in the US, you would need to have taken the MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) vaccination at least twice in your life. Given soon after birth, this vaccination must be repeated before you leave for the US. UK universities generally do not require applicants to have taken prior vaccinations, but check with your respective institute if any vaccinations are recommended. If you plan to study in Canada, Australia or New Zealand you may need to clear medical requirements before you are granted a student visa; this includes a chest X-ray and blood tests. It is advisable to have taken the MMR, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, Diphtheria, Tetanus vaccinations before departure. Remember to carry proof of the vaccinations and medical test results.

For US and Canada, you can buy health insurance from the university or from an independent insurance provider (if the university permits it). However, all international students in the US must have insurance cover. UK has one of the best insurance systems in the world and international students, whose courses are longer than six months, qualify to receive subsidized treatment and, hence, do not need to purchase any additional insurance. If you are studying in Scotland, you do not need to be enrolled in a course longer than six months to avail of the insurance benefits.

Always check the national insurance websites in these countries to make sure that you are covered.
When you apply for a student visa to Australia, one of the requirements is that you register for the Overseas Student Health Cover programmers before you arrive in Australia. Universities in New Zealand require applicants to have a comprehensive travel and medical policy, which is generally purchased from the university. In rare circumstances, this policy can be bought from an external company and the university evaluates the external insurance policy.

Medical treatment outside your home country is expensive, so make sure that you are covered under at least one insurance policy at any given time.

Foreign Exchange
RBI allows you to take up to US $100,000 and even a higher amount in case your institute certifies that the tuition and living expenses exceed US $100,000 per year. It’s easy to obtain foreign exchange to study abroad and RBI will not restrict you. It is sensible to carry your money in denominations: traveler’s cheques, cash and demand drafts. However, RBI does not permit individuals to carry more than US$3000 in cash (few exceptions to this rule). You can also wire transfer your money to the university’s account before you get there. If you prefer, you can top up a prepaid forex card and use it as a debit or ATM card.

Clothes and Weather
The dress code on most campuses abroad is usually informal, however, carry a few sets of formal clothes and traditional attire. Always check the weather report and carry clothes that you would require to be comfortable, as your body will take some time to adapt to the new climate. In extreme climates in parts of Canada, the buildings on campus where classes are held are joined by corridors; in most countries the classrooms are centrally heated.

If you are an undergraduate student and plan to stay on campus you will not need any utensils. If, however, you plan to stay in an apartment, you can consider taking a few utensils. The rest of the utensils including cutlery and crockery can be bought in the destination country. You can carry some of the spices with you, but most Indian spices are now widely available. Remember to carry your medicines and it’s advisable to carry small quantities of toiletries with you. If you wear glasses or contact lenses take spare ones as well.



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