Study Abroad Programs for International Students

6 min readStudy Abroad Programs for International Students

Studying abroad is a dream for many. Foreign countries open up new opportunities for your career and also personally for you. On average, Indian students opt USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, UK, UAE to pursue their higher education and study abroad programs.

As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, it was expected that the number of students planning to study abroad would go down due to changed immigration and mobility statuses. Contrary to the theory, it is found out that over 80% of Indian students still want to pursue or continue their education abroad with study abroad programs. One of the contributing factors to these statistics in the post-COVID world is the trusted international healthcare systems. Countries like Canada offer students free healthcare at mere health insurance charges. 

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Why choose to study in a foreign country?

The total number of international students opting to study abroad has globally risen from 28,00,000 to 41,00,000. In 2018, 50,00,000 international students were looking in foreign countries, out of which around 7,00,000 were from India.

Here are reasons why students prefer education abroad with study abroad programs:

  • The globally renowned education system
  • Immense career opportunities
  • Great cultural exposure
  • Find your true interest
  • Learn various new languages
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What to study overseas?

International students can decide to study abroad programs at any level of their education, from a few weeks of extended summer programs to full-fledged degree courses. Some of the most commonly-opted academic programs are:

Foundation and Pathways Programs

These are the post-secondary academic programs students choose to fill the gap between the current level of education and the knowledge and skills required to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree at an international university. These programs assist in language proficiency and familiarise students with the education system of a particular country.

Associate Degrees

Associate Degrees are the academic programs chosen by students at the undergraduate level. These programs provide a foundation of technical and theoretical knowledge necessary to study a particular study choice further. The duration of these programs is usually two years.

Bachelor’s Degrees

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree is one of the most common reasons international students study abroad. These degrees are standard programs recognised globally as ‘undergraduate programs’ and usually spans for 3-4 years. Students are advised to consider this option when a particular program is not offered in their home country. This is as the cost of pursuing a bachelor’s degree is extremely high when considering foreign universities as compared to the home country.

Master’s Degrees

Even if one has completed a bachelor’s degree in their home country, they can always explore master’s degree programs worldwide. Depending on their field of study, pursuing postgraduate studies from abroad could be highly beneficial for students’ career and growth. A Masters from abroad colleges will help you get a salary hike of around 29% on your previous salary.

Certificates and Diplomas

Certificate courses and diploma programs are short-term pathways to pursue a career or a passion. Students looking to gain a particular skill within a short period must consider this option. There is an abundance of short-term courses in Canada, making Canada the leading country to pursue short-term studies among Indian students.  

Doctoral Programs (PhD)

Doctoral programs are considered the highest level of education. Since getting admission into PhD programs are pretty competitive and selective, pursuing doctoral programs from foreign countries can open various doors for students.

Language Courses

Knowing a foreign language is always an added advantage for students’ resumes and careers. Therefore, it is always better to master a new language by interacting with locals instead of self-teaching at home. Also, most universities from the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia make it compulsory for their international students to be proficient in the native languages.

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 Where to study abroad?

After you have made up your mind that you want to study in a foreign university and which particular course to undertake, your next step would be deciding the destination.

The QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings highlights the countries with the world’s most robust higher education systems. The rankings tabulated below are based on four main criteria, system strength, access, flagship institution performance, and economic context.

RanksCountriesOverall ScoresNo. of Top-Ranking Universities*No. of Indian Students (as per MoEA 2018) 
1United States100151211,703
2United Kingdom98.68416,550
3Australia93.83687,115
4Germany93.44515,308
5Canada90.426124,000
6France86.8286,000
7Netherlands84.9132,500
14Sweden74.881,555
16New Zealand73.7830,000
18Hong Kong71.24500
24Ireland58.982,500
25Malaysia58.6201,900

How to study abroad?

After choosing a country and a university in that country, you will need to follow some procedures like taking admission, taking some competitive exams or English proficiency tests, and finally going on campus.

Choose a Program to Study

Before we begin, the first primary step is to finalise the choice of study students want to pursue for their future. There are a lot of programs offered at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate levels in a wide variety of professional fields such as Business and Finance, Medicine, Engineering and Technology, Education, History, Literature, Visual and Performing Arts, Politics, etc. Detailed below are some of the most opted study abroad programs among Indian students studying abroad. 

Choose the University/ College

After deciding which program to study, the next step is to target the prospective universities. A vast number of universities to study abroad and choose from the lot can be tedious. This decision should be based on factors like costs and expenses, academic quality and structure, faculty, admission requirements, deadlines, post-degree career opportunities, etc.

Tests to undergo

There are two types of tests international students must take before starting with the application process. These are Language Proficiency Tests (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc.) and Standardized Tests (SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE, etc.). Different countries have different preferences for one test over another. For instance:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and PTE (Pearson Tests of English) exams are the most preferred language exams in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • The USA and Canadian universities widely accept TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).
  • British universities give Cambridge English Proficiency Tests (CAE and CPE) a marked preference.
  • SAT and countries widely accept ACT scores for undergraduate programs.
  • The universities globally accept GMAT/ GRE scores for graduate programs.

Apply to the university

Every university has its application process and its guidelines. For instance, many US universities accept applications via the Common Application Portal, whereas universities based in the United Kingdom invites applications via UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Admission Service).

Necessary Documents to be provided

To be considered for admission at a university, international students must submit all the necessary documents and a completed online or/and offline application. These documents play an essential role in the evaluation process and the admission decision. Here is a list of the available documents required to complete an admission application:

  • Official Transcripts of all the colleges and universities previously attended.
  • Copies of the transcripts translated in the native language
  • Standardised Test Scores (SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc.)
  • Proof of Language Proficiency
  • Letters of Recommendation/ References
  • Letters of Motivation/ Personal Statement (SOP)
  • Resume/ Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Samples of Written Work or portfolio
  • Personal Interview

Student Visa

International students who are enrolled in qualified educational institutions in foreign countries must obtain a student visa. A student visa is an official travel document issued by the government of a particular country.

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When should you apply?

International students are always advised to begin with their preparation according to the university’s deadlines. Generally, they need to wait for the confirmation letter sent from the university before they apply for a student visa. For smooth application processing without any hassle, students should apply without Students without any hassle.

Which visa will I require?

Different countries have different visa requirements. For instance, students choosing to study in U.S universities will need to obtain an F-1 Student Visa, whereas, for universities based in the United Kingdom, students must apply for TIer-4 Visa. Given below are the details of how can you get a student visa to study abroad in various countries.

CountriesVisas
United StatesF-1, J-1
United KingdomTier-4
CanadaCanadian Study Permit
GermanyResidence Permit
AustraliaStudent Visa

How to apply for a student visa?

In very brief, we have mentioned a process for applying and getting a visa.

  • Choose the visa type.
  • Apply on the website or in that country’s embassy
  • Pay application fee
  • Schedule an interview
  • Attend the interview

If you clear the interview, the visa will be sent to your address in 10 working days.

What documents are required for a student visa?

Here is a list of documents that you might need to apply for a student visa.

  • Valid passport
  • Proof of funding and finances
  • Certificate of language proficiency
  • Proof of acceptance from the university
  • Medical exam report

Cost of studying abroad

Higher education is a costly affair, especially in foreign countries. Although there are many students loan available, proper financial planning is a must.

Here we have given some countries and their approximate tuition fee and living cost to give you an estimate.

CountriesTuition fees (UG)Tuition fees (PG)Living Costs
USA$26,290$16,757$11,140- $12,680
United Kingdom£10,000- £38,000£11,000- £32,000 £12,180- £15,180
CanadaCA$27,159CA$16,497 CA$15,000 
AustraliaAU$30,840AU$20,000- AU$37,000AU$20,290
GermanyNil€20,000- €30,000€10,200

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FAQs

We have answered some questions for your ease.

Q1. Am I eligible to study abroad?

Ans. Entry requirements vary significantly between universities and countries. Generally, international students need to submit Passport-photos for identification, Statement of Purpose, CV/ Resume, LORs, Official transcripts, Standardized Tests (SAT, GRE, ACT, GMAT) and Language Proficiency Tests (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE). SAT/ACT scores are mainly accepted to get admission into undergraduate programs. International students need to submit GRE/GMAT test scores to gain access to postgraduate degree programs.

Q2. Which country is #1 in education?

Ans. Canada. This country tops the list as the most educated globally, with 56.27 per cent of adults earning higher education.

We truly hope we were able to resolve any queries you might have had about study abroad programs.

Good luck!