The pandemic has caused substantial damage to the economic progress and well-being of people in countries still reeling in financial recession. Studying abroad has also been affected greatly due to the varied travel restrictions imposed by different countries to curb the spread of the virus. Based on the data shared by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, the number of Indian students travelling abroad has dropped from a staggering 588,931 in 2019 to 261,406 in 2020, with many of them delaying or reconsidering plans to go abroad for studies due to health, safety, finance and mental wellness.
Indian aspirants are cautiously advancing with their ideas to study abroad and exploring destinations closer to the country. The opportunity to pursue studies at an international university closer to India seems motivating as it extends a safety net allowing all the flexibility required if they need to return home.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become a prominent destination for international students, including Indian students, due to its international reputation as a business hub, accessibility, geographical location, security, multicultural affiliations, relaxed labour laws, migration opportunities, quality of life and educational opportunities. Furthermore, an international education will provide you with access to a global alumni network that will continue to assist you after your graduation.
Why Indian students are opting for UAE as a global study hub:
Recognition of Degree
The approximately three-hour flight journey to the UAE gives Indian students the option to choose from multiple international universities located in this region. Many international universities, such as Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Dubai, have set up an entire campus in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Since these campuses are integrated with businesses across various sectors in the UAE, a student studying here gets international recognition which improves their career opportunities.
Opportunity for exchange programmes at a lower cost
Gone are those days when a student had to worry about the huge cost of studying abroad. Students now have economic options like the UAE to register for exchange programmes with international universities. The investment involved is lesser than that required for colleges in Europe and the US. Studying anywhere in the West will cost significantly more and will pile up huge education loans.
Opportunity to work in a global environment
With many prominent brands and businesses setting up their offices in the UAE, Indian students have opportunities to travel and take up better jobs. They also get the opportunity to work with a multicultural workforce closer to home rather than flying to far-off countries. Most of the world’s big conglomerates have a significant presence in the UAE and are always looking out for new talents.
The UAE is a host to expats from over 150 countries. As different communities live in the region harmoniously, international students can meet and interact with students from other countries. Such interaction will help them achieve excellence. Studying alongside these multinational peers will not only increase communication and networking skills, it will also prepare students to embrace various cultures.
Easy to migrate abroad
Migration opportunities are much better for students and residents to prominent destinations like Canada, the UK, the US, Australia and other countries. Collaboration with various international universities and student exchange programmes provides the flexibility to pursue graduate studies in these destinations. The UAE provides maximum benefits to students for choosing their academic journey from leading universities across different career pathways.
With the onset of top events such as Expo 2020, the UAE has expanded its global footprint by scoping entrepreneurial opportunities for individuals in the emerging sectors. Various pro-business policies and regulations introduced by the Government of UAE are helping individuals focus on entrepreneurship, thus reaffirming the UAE’s position as a preferred home away from home for students and businesses.
Jason Fitzsimmons is the academic president, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Dubai