Plan Your Career

Why do Indian Students Study Abroad?

The total number of Indian students going abroad to pursue their higher education has been steadily increasing over the years. The most popular study abroad destinations for Indian students are the U.S, the U.K, Australia, Canada and Singapore. A large number of reasons are behind this phenomenon, including job prospects, ease of admission etc.

The reasons due to which Indians choose to study abroad vary greatly from person to person. One student might choose to study abroad due to the high quality of education at a particular foreign university, whereas another might choose to study at a foreign university due to the relative ease in getting admission as compared to an Indian university of the same stature.

A student’s reasons for wanting to study abroad often also influence his/her choice of country. For example, a student looking to study abroad for easy work – after graduation opportunities is more likely to choose the U.S, whereas a student wanting to study abroad due to relatively easily admission criteria is more likely to choose to study in the U.K or Australia.

Even though every student has his/her own reasons for wanting to study abroad, certain commonalities can be seen amongst students at the same education levels, i.e. undergraduate or postgraduate.

Most students who want to pursue undergraduate courses abroad are influenced by the extremely competitive and unrealistic admission criteria in Indian universities. On the other hand, most students who want to pursue postgraduate courses abroad are influenced by their desire to live and work abroad.



The most common reasons due to which Indian students choose to pursue their undergraduate degree from a foreign university are mentioned below.

Relative Ease of Admission

The extremely competitive college admissions in India often drive Indian students to pursue their undergraduate education abroad. It is not as if these students are not intelligent or haven’t scored well, but the unrealistic admission requirements in Indian universities like the Delhi University make it difficult even for a student who’s scored a 90% in the board exams to pursue a subject of his/her choice. However, it is likely that a student with 90% can pursue the subject of his/her choice at reputed universities in the U.K, Australia, Canada, Singapore and even in the U.S.

With admissions in top institutions like the Delhi University or the IITs, NID, AIIMS etc. being so competitive, there is realistically a very big chance that you will not get into a top college even if you have scored well. Students who do not get into top colleges are left only with the options of medium and low – rung colleges where the standard of education isn’t anywhere near great.

To avoid a situation in which they have to pursue their education from an average college, many students choose to pursue their undergraduate education abroad at medium or high level university. Not only are the admissions comparatively much easier than what they are at top/medium level universities in India, but the standard of education at a medium level university abroad is generally much higher than what it is at a medium level university in India.

As admissions for most foreign universities start around a year before the course begins, most Indian students decide whether they wish to study abroad and where during school itself.


Unavailability of Courses

Another reason why Indian students choose to study abroad is because the course they wish to study is not offered in India at the undergraduate level, at least not in the same depth and structure as it is offered abroad.

For example, if a student wishes to study Filmmaking at the undergraduate level in India, then his/her options are restricted to a handful of film schools, most of whom offer diplomas. On the other hand, if this student chooses to study abroad, he/she can pursue a Bachelor’s degree course in Filmmaking which is recognized in India. Apart from earning a Bachelor’s degree in the subject, this student will also learn about filmmaking in much greater depth and scope as compared to what he/she would in India.


Working and Living Abroad

A big reason behind Indian students choosing to study abroad is to get a chance to live and work abroad during and after your studies. Residence and employment in a foreign country is an important factor even though it is not as big a factor for undergraduates as it is for students who are considering postgraduate education abroad.

Most countries allow international graduates from their universities to stay on and work for a few years on their student visa itself. This provides Indian students with the chance to stay abroad and gain international work experience, and possibly even become a permanent resident of the country. All these are motivating factors for Indian students to study abroad.


Adequate Funds

Even though the availability of finance isn’t what motivates Indian students to go study abroad, it is most certainly a pre – requisite. Studying abroad, especially at the undergraduate level, costs much more than what it does in India and your total expenditure for the entire course (4 years) would amount to a little above or below Rs. 1 Crore in the U.S (can be a little less in Canada and Singapore). This is much more than what Indian students pay at even the most expensive private universities in India.

Irrespective of the country you choose to go to, studying abroad is going to cost much more than studying in India. Almost all the students who end up studying abroad possess the vast amount of funds required to study abroad that are mostly provided by their parents. However, there are a select few who are awarded huge scholarships provided they have an extraordinary academic record.

If you do not have the required funds and are not confident of receiving a scholarship, then you should not consider studying abroad. Part – time work while you’re abroad is not going to help you fund your education.



The most common reasons due to which Indian graduates choose to pursue their postgraduate degree from a foreign university are mentioned below.

Jobs and Career Prospects

One of the biggest reasons behind Indian graduates choosing to pursue their postgraduate education from abroad is that it proves to be a major boost for their career and often results in more job opportunities and higher salaries upon completion of the program.

Even though it is not necessary that you will receive higher salaries or get more job offers after studying abroad, it is certain that it will open up more opportunities for you as you will be seriously considered for jobs in that country as well as an India and the rest of the world due to your international education. This automatically increases your chances of receiving a more suitable job offer.

Not only that, but most countries allow international postgraduates to stay and work there upon completion of the program. This allows Indian students to stay and work in that country and it most likely that the salary you would be receiving abroad will be higher than what you would receive for the same work in India. This proves to be an added attraction for Indian students studying abroad.


Working and Living Abroad

Most of the popular study abroad destinations such as the U.S, the U.K etc. allow international postgraduates from their universities to stay on and work in their country for a while without having to apply for a new visa. This provide international students who want to settle down in that country with an opportunity to work there and possibly even apply for a permanent residency in due time.

Even though this is an important factor at the undergraduate foreign study level, it plays a much bigger role in the decision making process at the postgraduate level. This is primarily because students looking to pursue their post graduation are focused on the work opportunities after they complete the program rather than on their life during the program.

The possibility of staying on in the foreign country and settling down there proves to be a big motivating factor while an Indian student considers pursuing postgraduate education abroad.


Research Opportunities and Specializations

Students who are in academic subjects, especially the ones related to research, often tend to go abroad to pursue their postgraduate studies. This is primarily because the research opportunities that are available abroad are much better than the opportunities available in India. There is more support, better infrastructure and better prospects for students conducting their research abroad.

Not only that, but certain subject specializations and programs (related or unrelated to research) are not offered in India. For example, a student who wishes to pursue a postgraduate program in Finance will have a difficult time finding the course in India, whereas most foreign universities will offer this course. This also leads students to choose to pursue their postgraduate degree from abroad.


Miscellaneous Study Abroad Topics