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Study abroad: Finding the perfect programme
Raj Ganguly
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September 12, 2007

Part I: Choosing your foriegn university

The first phase of a long process is over.

You have decided on the country where you want to study, worked out on your budget, spoken to banks about the criteria for a loan and you might have realised that scholarship is just another word in the dictionary.

And now the second phase begins -- finalising on the college from the short listed ones.

A few tips could be useful:

Try to contact alumni 

This might look like a very difficult proposition, however, it's not that difficult at all. You are free to contact the International Office of any college/university and ask for alumni contacts from your city. They would be happy to help. Otherwise contact any Overseas Educational Consultant who would help as well.

Once you have contacted the alumni -- be it one or many -- ask specific questions like what kind of facilities they found useful or what the major problems are. Ask them about part- time job prospects after you land up in that country. Ask about the professors and research opportunities. Do not forget to ask about the quality of tutorials after lectures. It would be wise to know whether the library is round- the- clock or not. Is the internet facility accessible in places other than the library? 

It is always advisable not to ask these questions:

Make the best use of the alumni by asking questions that would help you in the year of study.

Try and attend the Educational Fairs 

Every year Foreign Universities come to India and organize educational fairs. If you follow the dailies it's difficult to miss the advertisement. It is definitely a good idea to attend these fairs and clarify all your queries.  A number of Universities come so it would give you a fair idea about most of them. A good option would be to collect as many prospectuses as possible and go through them yourself. It would not be inappropriate to let you know that one is coming up this November.

Contact British Council

Candidates willing to go to UK can also contact British Council for information about Universities and Colleges. It is another authentic source from where you can get unbiased opinions.

Contact USEFI

Candidates interested to go to US can contact United States Educational Foundation in India. USEFI's Educational Advising Services (EAS) provides accurate, comprehensive, current, reliable, unbiased and up-to-date information. They hold specialised seminars and workshops on application procedures, education fairs all year round.

Contact consulates/embassies

 If you are still not happy with these two countries you can contact the educational wing of any Consulate or Embassy or High Commission in your city.  

Educational Consultants 

Another option could be going to an experienced Educational Consultancy and ask for their advise. It needs to be remembered that Educational Consultants would be in the category of those friends who would want to see you successful.


In spite of all these options you are still left with the most vital decision of your life. Slicing a few more names and -- finally zeroing on one. It needs time, it needs patience, it needs rationality and most importantly, it needs your conviction.

This phase is a transition -- from the comfort and luxury of your cocooned like at home to an unknown world full of challenges and competition.  This is what could possibly be compared with the life of a caterpillar and the butterfly.

"What the caterpillar calls a sad ending; the butterfly calls it a colourful beginning."

Part I: Choosing your foriegn university

Raj Ganguly is CEO of Raj Ganguly and Associates (Management Consultants). He is an overseas education expert

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