Indian students studying abroad are rapidly adding to one of the largest populations of emigrants (estimated at around 18 million). The numbers clearly show the rise of Indian students in opting for overseas education. Moreover, the international student growth has exceeded domestic student growth by more than six times in the last three years.
Studying abroad is a one-of-a-kind experience that allows you to travel, make new friends, learn a new language, and, of course, get a world-class education. Moving to another nation, on the other hand, is not an easy transfer for some, and there are hurdles along the way.
Along with vast opportunities, students also encounter obstacles such as homesickness, cultural shock, and, most critically, the complex application process itself. The hurdles begin from the very first step itself from looking out for the universities till you properly settle down. Most students gel easily with the new culture and environment while some struggle to adapt until a very long time. Let’s understand five common challenges that students face studying abroad –
Course/ University selection, application process: The most important concern for an overseas student is choosing the correct course at the right university and also the right college. Most students follow the herd mentality and enrol in traditional courses rather than focusing on what they enjoy and are good at. The same holds true for applying to colleges and the choice of country.
Students must go beyond standard course selection methods and seek out online study abroad platforms equipped with Artificial Intelligence-enabled course finders. The right study abroad platform directs students to courses that they are interested in while also leading them to a path of economic stability. Another critical area in which students encounter difficulties is the complete test preparation and application process for university admission.
Financial obstacles, scholarships, and loan opportunities: Overseas education is a recognized industry for it entails a significant cost of school and daily expenses. This is a frequent matter of concern amongst students. The route of sponsoring international education is a long and complicated one. The difficulty of creating a bank account, massive documentation labour, and the lack of readily available Forex facilities add to the student’s concern.
Some international students may be fortunate enough to receive a scholarship, which will help to alleviate their financial burden. The majority of scholarships are not easily accessible or the criterion set is very high for average students to align with. Students must research well about which scholarship can be a right fit for them and how to qualify.
Education/student loans can be the second-most viable option for students to look for. Many families are unaware of the variety of loan options available based on their country and level of study, they are also often aware of the fact of acceptability of the loan from a visa perspective.
Academic gap: One out of every three students fails because of an underlying academic gap; students find it difficult to cope with the academic style to which they are introduced during their initial days at the university. Furthermore, the prospectus in foreign universities differs significantly from that in India, therefore in order to avoid feeling pressured by the workload and tasks, students should rapidly develop academic skills to move smoothly and score good grades.
Language differences: Studying in a different nation among students from various cultures and other countries entails overcoming multiple cross-cultural difficulties. Many aspects of a student’s life will need to change, including their eating habits, dress, language, entertainment, and lifestyle. Students must educate themselves on the destination country’s culture by reading about it and watching videos and documentaries about it.
These exercises will familiarise children with various habits and civilizations and assist them in easily adapting to a new environment. Indian students going to countries where English is the first language, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, may not struggle with the language barriers as such. Students, however, may find it challenging to speak fluent English and, at times, to grasp what native speakers are saying.
The use of English terms and phrases may range from one country to the next. Although there are standard exams such as TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS, GRE, and GMAT that a student must pass before being admitted to a foreign university, matching the pace, accent, and tone of the foreign counterparts can be difficult.
Part-time/full-time jobs: While pursuing higher education in a foreign country, Indian students may find it challenging to get part-time and full-time jobs. Students should prepare a resume and keep it handy to distribute it at the local shops or cafes. Students can reach out to their institution’s student support management to seek help in finding on-campus internships and work opportunities as well. These part-time jobs can really help students to cover all their expenses and even save up.
These are a few challenges that students might face, but if they plan and prioritize things evenly beforehand then they can reduce some of the challenges such as accommodation problems, picking the right course, and university. In the end, It all boils down to your preferences of the subjects that you wish to pursue and how well you have been guided throughout the daily process.
— Written by Abhinav Mital, co-founder of The WorldGrad and Managing Director of LINC Education, a teaching services provider based in Singapore. Mital is an alum of ISB Hyderabad as well as IIT Delhi.
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