Pursuing a higher education overseas has always been among the greatest milestones for any student in India. However, students and parents alike are sometimes hesitant about their international education prospects owing to a few understandable misconceptions. Naturally, understanding the reality of what you can expect when deciding to study abroad is more important today than ever.
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Here are a few of the popular myths about international education explained:
Myth 1- It’s too expensive for me
One of the first concerns you may have about studying abroad is that it would be too expensive. There is no denying the fact that international education can be financially strenuous; the average cost of a Bachelor’s course at Oxford for 2023 ranges from £28,950 to £44,240 (over INR 28 lakh to INR 42 lakh.) (Source).
Fact- Thankfully, there are multiple avenues available to reduce such financial burdens, the most reliable being scholarships. In 2020, 58% of families used scholarships to help pay for college with an estimated 1.7 million private scholarships available in the US alone (Source). Scholarships may be offered for academic or extra-curricular merit and you can apply for these on your own or by using a specialised management service to reduce your workload. Naturally, any scholarship can drastically reduce the price of your education right at the source.
Furthermore, Indian students have more options than ever in terms of study loans. Today students can opt for loans from not only banks but also NBFCs, and some universities have tie-ups with financial institutions to make getting a loan easier. You can use platforms like UniCreds which works exclusively to help students secure a loan for overseas education.
Check Out: How Students Can Handle Mental Stressors Over Their Story Abroad Journey?
Myth 2- The process is too complicated
Another concern for many students is that the processes and bureaucratic requirements of studying abroad are complex and time-consuming when compared to domestic education. While it is true that going to a domestic institute avoids the visa process, currency exchange, and many other incidental inconveniences, no one should deny themselves the opportunity to explore new avenues, subjects, and cultures because of such processes.
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Fact- In 2022, the governments of the UK, the US, Canada, etc. all made commitments to simplify their visa processes for Indian students. Some of them, like Germany and Canada, also passed laws altering the work allowances and opportunities to attract foreign talent. While the prospect of applying to a college and getting a visa can seem long, it is achievable for any student with even basic planning. Students today can take professional guidance from various student mobility platforms that specialise in this field. Some of these services can assist you with the documentation required and pre-package it in order to reduce your workload and preempt unnecessary delays.
Myth 3- I need to know the native language
A sociocultural myth many students struggle with is the language barrier when studying in a different country. The prospect of not being able to communicate with classmates, professors, or even strangers can be a scary one and make you feel alienated in a new country.
Fact- Most popular study destinations worldwide have adopted English as a standard medium of instruction and require applicants to prove their English proficiency before being accepted. Some countries, like Germany, even account for the need to know the native language by offering you preparatory instruction in German in ‘Studienkollegs’ before beginning the course you wish to pursue. That being said, students quickly pick up useful phrases and terminologies to help them live and socialise irrespective of the country they end up studying in, making the language barrier an unlikely reason to limit their overseas ambitions.
Read: How To Balance Internship & Studies?
Myth 4- Finding decent accommodation is difficult
Accommodation is the second largest expense for students pursuing an education abroad, beaten only by course fees. It is also a very important decision as it will be their home for potentially years to come. However, many feel that finalising an accommodation without ever visiting it is untenable.
Fact- Finding that perfect accommodation comes down to research and a list of your requirements. How many people are you okay to share a space with, which boroughs of the city are most desirable, facilities offered, commute times, renting structure, application documents, etc. are just some of the data points that factor into this decision.
Given the growing accommodation crisis, the best way to go about this is freezing an accommodation before the student leaves the country. Choosing a trusted partner who has verified accommodation listing is the key. You can find the most accurate and updated information on your partner’s platforms with smooth refund policies that allows one the flexibility to change accommodation.
Also Read: How To Make The Most Of Your Gap Year?
Myth 5- Studying abroad doesn’t have the same value anymore
With the increasing prevalence of online college courses and changes in what employers expect from their staff, you may well question if all this effort is even worth it. Why not prioritise learning at work over the college you study at?
Fact- The very best quality of higher education can be found in countries like the US, the UK, Canada, etc. However, the draw of studying overseas is not exactly for its academic offering, but for the opportunities, it opens up for you everywhere else. The top colleges overseas get the best job offers, the best internships, and the greatest potential to meet influential talent across industries. You may also develop a global alumni base who can later become business partners and colleagues.
About The Author
Sayantan Biswas is the co-founder of UniScholarz, UniAcco, and UniCreds. A collective of platforms that helps students at all stages of their education journey; be it scholarships, accommodation, or financial help.
He has shared the leadership of these services with Mr. Amit Singh since their inception in 2019 and is currently focused on expanding them globally.