102000 students from India travel to the U.S. to study every year. Close to 7400 students apply for MBA which makes it the most attractive course compared to Science and Engineering. Differences in culture, habits, customs, etiquette, work ethics, upbringing, environments and a lot more influence the transition of a student's ability to adapt to a new environment which is their new destination for studies.
Taking a look from the perspective of the background, India is traditionally a graduate market. India has a very strong UG base in education. Conceptual structures built to teach students in a thematic way are very evident in the Indian Higher Education sector. Indian students who go abroad utilize these very concepts to practical learning abroad and their knowledge comes into play. Hence it is a win-win situation for Indian students to complete their undergraduate studies here and pursue post graduation abroad. There are great differences between the Indian and American methods of Education. In bachelors in the U.S., concepts are taught in a holistic approach from courses like philosophy, sociology, religion, in the first two years which are general requirement courses. They expose students beyond their area of study which is a major differentiating factor between Indian and U.S. education. This aspect is usually not stressed in Indian education sector and often goes unnoticed.
In India, parents are very protective of their children who go abroad and there is a strong notion that undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate studies abroad are expensive. What is seen in the recent times is that the Indian student base and their parents are breaking this notion. The vast Indian Diasporas across nations speak volumes for the presence of the country's people all across the world. More than 60 percent of Indian students who are currently studying abroad pursue graduate programs and 12.3 percent are for UG programs, 27 percent are for OPT [Optional Practical Training]. OPT is a specialized program that is designed for expat students to pursue after graduation from Bachelors, Masters or PhD programs. Students are usually allowed for 12 months to work without employment visa in their field of study and practice what they have learnt in classroom and bring their experience with them. The opportunities toward growth and expansion of the career graph are dynamic on western waters but oftentimes an Indian student faces hindrances that hamper their chances of acquiring an internationally recognized degree.
In provision of bringing in the hindrances in going abroad, an Indian student has to put light on the possible competition that stands their way as there are aplenty aspiring students with the same dreams all across the world. There are several aspects of prevailing competitions and criteria like Standardized test course, academic credentials, and work experience. But beyond all this Indian students have an upper hand or an advantage compared to the domestic students because of the global exposure and experience in the classroom that they receive.
The Combat against Hurdles
To combat against the various hurdles in going abroad for Higher Education, a student must start chasing their study dreams from a very early stage. Especially for the Indian student base, this statement holds necessary as they need to start laying a solid plan and a firm foundation at a stage as early as ninth grade to face the ongoing competition in acquiring the seats for the expats at universities. The second thing students could do is pay attention to their internships and gain exposure and be ready to face the industry. Industry ready graduates also are deemed to be desired by many universities worldwide.
To study in a well-known institute abroad, students should also be realistic in their academic credential approach. Many students aim to apply to Oxford, Harvard and Stanford without understanding the potential of the competition that could come their way. In such cases a thorough evaluation should be done to realistically approach a university's academic standards, abilities and then compare it to what is required for the program and then balance their applications into institutions that match a student's academic profile. In this way students must list out institutions that they could apply and make the most of their academic profile. An Indian student who wants to study abroad has to clearly understand the purpose of studying abroad. They must start from the point where it begins as a career oriented study or a central interest study and then narrow down on their destination of interest before they could get into anything. Starting from their academics to their financial interests, students must plan everything out and derive a firm structure on the basis of which they could go about with their aspirations to study abroad.
Mallik R Sundaram
He is the Director of Recruitment & Partner Support for ELS India. Mallik joined ELS with more than 10 years of diverse and rich education industry and study abroad experience from Saint Joseph's University (SJU) in Philadelphia. Being an international student himself, Mallik established many student groups and peer mentor student organizations for international students.