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Countries in European union emerge as top choices for study abroad students: survey

The findings of the annual Study Abroad Trends Report produced by higher education and upskilling-focused Indian edtech company upGrad, represent a marked contrast to the last annual report.

Fatima hasan19 March 2024 08:38

Countries in European union emerge as top choices for study abroad students: survey

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The study abroad preferences of Indian students have surprisingly shifted to the European Union, leaving once popular Canada and the United Kingdom behind, according to a recent survey.

The findings of the annual Study Abroad Trends Report produced by higher education and upskilling-focused Indian edtech company upGrad, represent a marked contrast to the last annual report, reported universityworldnews.com.

According to the report, based on data gathered from over 25,000 aspirant students across India’s largest cities (42.8%) including tier 2, tier 3 or smaller cities (57.2%), the study indicates a sharp decline in Canada’s appeal with only 9.3% participants now viewing it as their dream destination.

On the other hand, 48.8% of students have shown interest in EU countries, indicating the EU is their top preference, compared to the United States at 27.6% and the UK at 9.5%.

The trend shows a remarkable change because 75% to 80% of Indian students going abroad for education two years ago chose the ‘big four’ destinations as US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, according to Bengaluru-based consultancy firm Redseer.

The 11.34% decline in the popularity of the UK, revealed in the upGrad report, is linked to changes in visa regulations, particularly rules that restrict visas for students with accompanying dependents. 

According to data from the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, Indian student applications dipped by 4% this year compared to the previous year, the report said.

According to the upGrad survey, the growing inclination of Indian students towards Europe, which has 5,000 universities across 44 countries, can be attributed to affordability, quality of education and the prospect of employment and residency.

Among EU countries, Germany witnessed the most significant increase in demand, with 32.6% of participants selecting it as their dream destination, followed by Ireland (3.9%) and France (3.3%), while 9% of students opted for other EU countries for higher studies, it said.

Germany does not charge international students with high tuition fees. 

The survey indicates an increasing emphasis on affordability as 41.1% of participants belonged to middle-class backgrounds, with two thirds of them relying on education loans to fund their studies abroad.

The most sought-after courses include management, followed by computer science, IT, engineering and medical science.

“Canada has put a two-year cap on international student visas while also doubling the minimum required proof of available funds to CA$20,635 [US$15,300], effective 1 January 2024,” Ankur Nyati, president of the ‘study abroad’ segment of upGrad was quoted by universityworldnews.com.

“Meanwhile, the UK placed restrictions on student visa dependents as well as increased income requirements for spouse-partner visas… EU countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and France offer a much more immigration-friendly environment as well as affordable education and attractive post-study work visas,” Nyati said while commenting on changes to visa and immigration policies.

According to the 2023 Indian Students Mobility Report published by student accommodation consultancy University Living, and education consultancy OneStep Global, Canada consistently attracted the highest number of Indian students for four years in a row between 2018 and 2022, ahead of the US, the UK and Australia.

According to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), about 41% of the nearly 550,000 new study permits issued by Canada in 2022 were held by Indian students. 

However, the recent sharp decline in Canada’s popularity can be partly attributed to the country's rising living costs, accommodation crisis, cap on visas and a difficult job market, it said.
 

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