Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, Parag Agarwal and Jay Chaudhary: what do these names have in common? Sure, they are names to reckon with across various spectrums—tech, politics and business—but, there is a ringing undertone to their names. They all are of Indian origin. While some of them moved out of their homeland for higher education, others got the tag as a legacy, given that their parents made the choice, and are now second-generation immigrants. The bottom line, however, remains that the lure of moving to a foreign land for education has persisted across generations. The reasons are aplenty.
India has traditionally been one of the largest contributors of students studying abroad (second only to China). And, that number of students studying abroad has increased dramatically over the past few decades. While a lot of factors are at play, there are a few that are more discernible than the others.
India is home to some premier education institutes, but making the cut at most of them is a long shot for many. This begets a highly competitive selection process, with high percentages and stringent exams at the core, leaving space for only the crème de la crème. This narrowed selection process weeds out a large number of students who may not have scored high numbers but have the acumen and capability to excel in various disciplines.
At a time when even your social media filters are customised to suit your preferences, it is hard to find takers for an education system that works with a one-size-fits-all approach. Perhaps, this is where foreign education finds its trump point.
The significance placed on identifying unique student traits is the most enterprising aspect of the global education system.
Educational institutes abroad provide students with tailored programmes which are customised to suit their needs and amplify their talent, giving even the ones who appear to be at a disadvantage the chance to change their academic and professional paths.
The US is one of the hottest destinations for Indian students, one of the prime reasons being its exemplary support system for international students right from accommodation to financial support, counselling, aid in employment, etc. Further, the multifarious scholarship schemes offered by foreign universities serve as an allure that is rather hard to miss.
Students are also attracted by employment opportunities available to them both during and after tpursuing any degree abroad. Job opportunities abroad are relatively higher in number, as is the salary offered. Further benefits, including a cost-of-living adjustment, housing or schooling allowances, additional health insurance or retirement funds, spousal assistance to cover any loss of work for following a spouse, also attract students abroad.
In a transnational and connected world economy, students understand the importance of international exposure that a degree pursued abroad provides. Living on foreign shores often gives students an opportunity to experience various cultures. Further, living alone in a new and foreign land often helps in character-building and getting to know oneself, which is considered important for the growth and development of students. Rich learning experience is one of the biggest pulls of overseas education.
Ashok K. Chauhan, President, Amity Education Group