Around 7.5 lakh Indian students went abroad to pursue higher education in 2022, according to the Ministry of Education. While studying abroad can be a life-changing experience, students need to be aware of the challenges. One of the main challenges is the high cost of overseas education. Students should research scholarships, budget carefully, and explore opportunities for part-time work that won’t interfere with their studies. International students often struggle academically, as universities follow a different academic culture – particularly Western Universities which focus on research and critical thinking. This academic and cultural shift may lead students to fail subjects, which has both a financial and psychological impact. Students should ensure they research the academic culture of their chosen destination, understand the expectations and requirements of their course, and seek support from their university or other resources to help them adjust. Furthermore, students should consider jobs in demand in their destination country, which can increase their chances of obtaining post-study work rights. It’s essential to understand the permanent residency rules of the country students are moving to, and they should aim to build networks and connections in the destination country to increase their chances of settling permanently.
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By Abhinav Mital
Student migration has become increasingly popular in recent years with more and more students looking for opportunities to study abroad and potentially settle in a foreign country. Over 7.5 lakh Indian students went abroad in 2022 to pursue higher education, according to data shared by the Ministry of Education.
While this is an exciting and life-changing experience for students and their families, it’s also important for them to be aware of the challenges and pitfalls that come with this choice, to ensure they move abroad as successful students and are able to successfully explore the option to settle there.
One of the main challenges that students face when migrating overseas is the high cost of overseas education. Studying overseas is expensive, and as a result, international students often work part-time to cover their living expenses.
However, undue financial pressure can force students to find more part-time work, which will not only distract them from their studies, but also lead them to potentially breaching the permissible part-time work limits. This leads to students becoming non-genuine, thus severely reducing their ability to eventually settle in that country.
To avoid financial challenges, it’s important for students to be well aware of the total financial implication and plan their finances well in advance. This can include researching scholarships and grants that may be available, budgeting carefully, and exploring opportunities for part-time work that won’t interfere with their studies or work limits. Students should also be aware of the cost of living in their destination country and factor this into their plans.
Another challenge that international students often face is academics. Studies show that around 40% of international students fail at least one subject in their first year of studying abroad. This happens because western Universities follow a more research and critical thinking based mode of learning, which is very different from the Indian education system.
Additionally, moving overseas is a major cultural change, especially for younger undergraduate students. This academic and cultural shift may lead to students struggling with their academics and failing some subjects, which has both a financial and psychological impact, which can be overwhelming.
To avoid such academic challenges, students should ensure they adequately research the academic culture of their destination country, learning about the expectations and requirements of their chosen course, and seeking support from their university or other resources to help them adjust to the new learning environment.
Students should also be prepared to put in extra effort to succeed academically and stay motivated throughout their studies.
Students who struggle academically or financially also become targets for unscrupulous entities who would guide students to “cheaper and easier” institutes. Whilst these institutes may offer short-term respite to the student, such shifts are usually not seen favorably by governments.
In addition to these challenges, there are also several other factors that students should consider to ensure they move abroad as genuine students and are able to open opportunities to settle there successfully.
For instance, students should consider what jobs are in-demand in their destination country and ensure that their chosen degree will lead to jobs in these fields. Some jobs also offer higher post-study work rights. For example STEM programs in the US allow for additional 24 months of OPT in-country, Australia allows an extension on post-study work rights for certain occupations.
In fact, having post-study work rights is an essential factor to consider when moving overseas. All countries offer Personal Support Worker (PSW) rights of varying durations, depending on the country, chosen course, and region your university is based in. Therefore, students should ensure that they understand their PSW rights and aim to maximise their ability to work in the destination country post studies.
Finally, it’s essential to understand the permanent residency (PR) rules of the country you are moving to. Each country has different rules and point systems around permanent migration, and students should familiarize themselves with these rules to maximise their chances of permanent settlement. Additionally, students should take advantage of opportunities to build networks and connections in their destination country to increase their chances of settling permanently.
Student migration is a fantastic opportunity for students to explore new cultures, gain valuable experience, and potentially settle in a foreign country. However, it’s important for students to be aware of the challenges and pitfalls that come with this choice to ensure they migrate as genuine students and maximise opportunities for settling there successfully.
(Author is the Co-Founder of The WorldGrad)