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Study abroad: Ten BEST nations to go to!

Last updated on: October 20, 2011 06:57 IST

Study abroad: Ten BEST nations to go to!

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Team Careers360

As more young Indians look at pursuing education in foreign universities, Careers 360 gives you a comprehensive guide on what you can expect at the ten most popular study abroad destinations in the world.

Airtel is now a visible face in most of Africa. Tata owns Jaguar and Tetley. The biggest consumer durable company in India is a Korean MNC, LG Electronics. Most Indian IT giants are predominantly owned by private equity players located in obscure islands.  The world as we know is changing drastically. MTV is as much an Indian product as it is American. Even as we integrate at a fast pace there is still tremendous resistance to migration.

While the foreign universities are opening up their doors for both intellectual as well as financial reasons, their governments are still less forthcoming. Immigration issues at times deter free movement of students. Racial tensions do exist like the recent one's in Australia. Cost is a deterring factor. Despite all this, a foreign degree still holds allure to innumerable students.

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1. Study in USA: Best infrastructure, academic ambience

Within its fold of over 1,500 universities it has not only world beaters like Harvard and MIT, but over 100-odd good-value-for-money education providers.

Academic cycle:

Application begins: 12 to 18 months before you plan to begin studying in the US. Fill out the application form between August to October

Last date for submission: End of February

  • Admission results: Between March to May universities notify whether you have been selected or not
  • Visa cycle: Begins in June and ends in August
  • Sessions begins: September/ October (Fall Semester)

When Shantanu Narayan, an IIT pass-out wanted to pursue nanobiotechnology, his only choice was USA. It offers the best both in terms of infrastructure and academic ambience, he asserts. Be it nano technology, Business and Management, Engineering, Sciences or Fine Arts, the country remains the only abode for the best.

The advantage of USA is that, within its fold of over 1,500 universities it has not only world beaters like Harvard and MIT, but over 100-odd good-value-for-money education providers.

One of the biggest attractions that US offers is the job opportunities. Housing most of the high technology companies, US has tremendous need for postgraduates.

University of southern California, University of Texas, Ohio State Univ, University of Illinois are some of the places with large concentration of Indian students. Some even have home-grown cricket grounds.

Costs are quite high, but aid is available, especially at the doctoral stage. Some Master's programmes also have good fellowships. Working while studying is not easy, since you could work only within campus. Some courses do permit Curricular Practical Training (CPT). But after Tri Valley University debacle (the university was shut down, and students were deported for visa violations. One must be very careful. Despite all these hiccups USA still remains the land of opportunities and an education there is worth all the effort. 
 
Visa guidelines

  • Complete Form DS-160 (available online here: http://www.vfs-usa.co.in/usindia/pdf/DS160InternetGuide.pdf)
  • Scan a photograph in jpg format between 600600 and 12001200 pixels and less than 240kbs
  • Print the barcode at the end of the application on a laser printer
  • Pay the visa application fee at an approved HDFC Bank
  • Make your appointment through the VFS website. You cannot make an appointment without your DS-160 barcode number and HDFC Bank fee receipt
  • On your scheduled appointment day carry your valid passport and previously issued passports, one recent (within the past six months) passport size photograph 50 mm X 50 mm (2" x 2") with a white background, the DS-160 confirmation page with barcode, the HDFC Bank visa application fee receipts, VFS appointment letter, etc
  • Issued visas can be picked up at VFS or couriered to you at no extra charge. Information on courier service, tracking passports or submitting documents is available on the VFS website

NEXT: UK


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2. Study in UK: Finish your Master's in one year

Next to USA, the maximum number of fellowships for Indian students are for the UK.

Academic cycle

  • Application begins: October (previous year)
  • Last date for submission: March (can be extended to June-end for International students)
  • Visa cycle: Best to apply for visa three months prior to start of semester
  • Sessions begins: September/ October

Rohini Chopra swears that during her course in Management Psychology at University of Nottingham, UK what she learnt outside class was something that makes her see things in a different light. The biggest advantage of studying in the UK has been the one-year Master's programme as compared to the two-years' Master's in countries like the USA and Germany.

In addition, it boasts of the legendary Oxford and Cambridge Universities that have managed to catch the fancy of the Indian student population for decades.

Although the high tuition fees and cost of living have deterred students from applying to UK universities, many of them do offer trust and college-level bursaries and next to the USA, maximum number of fellowships for India is in the UK. It is also easy to get part-time work to fund your expenses there, though one can only work within the university.

With respect to food habits and social atmosphere, the country and streets are dotted with Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan restaurants.

The unpredictable weather (especially rains) might at times create havoc. So it is advisable to carry an umbrella or raincoat, wherever you go. With the change in Visa application process based on points system, it might have become a tad difficult for aspirants to seek UK universities.

Visa guidelines

  • In order to apply for a visa to study in the UK, an application under 'Tier 4–Students' category (applicable from March 31, 2009) of the new Points-based system has to be made. Total 40 points have to be obtained to get the student's visa
  • The Visa application form is VAF 9, which needs to be filled and visa fees is 255 pounds
  • It is essential to possess the visa letter from the university, which they provide upon payment of the course fees.
    Candidate must be able to provide evidence that they have sufficient funds to live in the UK, apart from tuition fees. They have to show the availability of funds at the time of application and not in the previous 28-day period
  • About 15 documents are required for Visa. Visa application may be submitted personally at the VFS UK local office, after obtaining appointment by e-mail from them. If the authenticity of documents is confirmed, issue of visa will not take more than seven days to 15 days
  • In case the visa officials consider that an interview may be required, there will be a personal visa interview before a visa could be granted or denied

NEXT: Australia


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3. Study in Australia: Racial attacks haven't deterred students

Indian students head of Oz for courses in Hospitality, Management and Commerce, IT and Engineering.

Academic cycle

Application begins: May 2011 for Feb 2012 intake

Last date for submission: End of October

Admission results: Between November to January. Universities notify whether you have been selected or not

Visa cycle: Begins in October and ends in December/January

Sessions begins: February (Some universities now have mid-term intake in September as well)

Sukun Chopra affirms she has faced no racial attacks in her one-and-a-half-years in Sydney as a student of Psychology at University of New South Wales. She strongly believes that the country is pretty safe, most of the attacks have been carried out by people from other nationalities residing in the country and like in any other international city there might be a few pockets that are unsafe.
 
Over the last few years, the country bore the brunt of being called racially discriminating, leading to doubts whether it is a suitable destination for Indian students. However, it has not managed to deter a large number of Indians who have chosen the country to do courses in Hospitality, Management and Commerce, IT and Engineering.

Australian National University, Melbourne University, Monash University and University of New South Wales continue to attract Indian students.
 
Interestingly, the Australian government does not rank its institutions and universities; the student needs to select them based on parameters like balance between theoretical and practical approach, experience of faculty and facilities offered. It is also very important to do a through check of the credentials of the institution.
 
The Australian academic year runs from February to November and has a long break in December. So the entire planning must begin in May-June of the previous year. Another highlight of the Australian system is that it has a very strong vocational education system. The curricular framework seamlessly moves between vocational and higher education streams.
 
Visa guidelines

  • One can apply for a visa as soon as one receives a letter of offer or electronic confirmation of enrolment (CoE) for full-time course of study by an University registered under CRICOS
  • A very important criterion for getting a Student Visa is proficiency in English Language
  • Contact local Australian Government office overseas to find out how to make your visa application and the documents required
  • Visas are granted by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Candidates have to demonstrate their financial ability to study in Australia. More details on the website
  • For safety concerns and information, check the site of Study Melbourne Victoria

NEXT: Canada


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4. Study in Canada: A hub for vocational courses

Movement between streams is easy as Canadian education has a very structured national curricular framework.

Academic cycle

Application begins: 15 to 18 months prior to beginning of admission

Sessions begins: September (Often, this winter session is split into two terms running September to December and January to April. Various forms of summer studies may be offered from May to August)

Visa cycle: Takes 3 to 4 weeks to process the Visa. Apply for it at least two months prior to start of semester (around July)

More students go to Canada to study vocational courses rather than pure academic or professional courses. These courses are popular as the students have immediate employment on their mind. The country does offer immense scope for working owing to its low population density. Thus, in Canada there are more takers for Postgraduate diploma in areas like Business Management, Engineering, Media, Hospitality and Computer Science among the Indian student population.

University of Toronto, McGill University and University of British Columbia remain popular among those who wish to pursue academic courses.

There is equally large demand for vocational colleges like Humber College, Centennial College and Fanshawe College. Since there exists a very structured national curricular framework, movement is easy between streams. The country is believed to be extremely picturesque and clean.

As a result, most Universities and colleges have large sprawling campuses and provide accommodation to the students. The Canadian winter is extremely harsh and ruthless. Indian woollens usually do not serve the purpose.

As a result, it is advisable to buy the woollens from the country. Students in their final semester should start looking for jobs as the postgraduate work visa takes 90 days to process. However, now with the two-years of degree programme, the student can obtain three years of work permit to work anywhere.
 
Visa guidelines

  • Before applying for Student Visa (study permit), you should have the letter of acceptance from a recognised college or university and a valid passport. One should also possess the relevant financial documents that show sufficient funds to support the entire duration of stay in Canada
  • The Visa Application fee is 125 Canadian Dollars (equivalent to Rs 5,470) and Rs 700 as processing charges
  • Processing time for Study Visa varies from 15 days to 30 days for receipt of initial response. Upon receipt of initial response, students have to submit Medical Examinations reports

NEXT: France
 

NEXT: Canada


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5. Study in France: Premier destination for Art & Design studies

France also receives students who intend to pursue Fashion and Luxury, Management, Social Sciences and Pure Sciences.

Academic cycle

Sessions begins: September

Visa cycle: Best to apply for visa three months prior to start of semester

Application begins: February/March

Last date for submission: Before June
 
After completing her degree from College of Arts, Delhi, Ritika Bose was trying to figure out from which country she should do her PG course in commercial art. After much deliberation and a chat with consultants, she chose a university in France for her course.

France receives a large number of Indian students who intend to specialise in Art and Design along with those planning to study Fashion and Luxury, Management, Social Sciences and Pure Sciences.

University of Angers, Grenoble Graduate School of Business, ESSEC institutes, ESCP-EAP remain popular choices among the Indian students.

While preparing for the Visa interview, be prepared to answer questions on your study project, research options, their future plans, motivation to choose France and family background. The country gives a six-month extension on student visa to look for a job after completion of course.
 
Visa guidelines

  • Download the visa application from France VFS website and read the details of photo specifications as well as go through the list of requisite documents
  • The residents of National Capital Territories of Delhi, States of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and the Union Territory of Chandigarh need to apply for visa at French Embassy office in New Delhi. There are French Consulate offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, Puducherry and Bangalore for residents of other parts of the country

Visa interview

  • Submit your passport, print out of your CampusFrance ID number, letter of registration from a French Academic Institution, copy of your degrees/diplomas and certificates, proof of financial statements, medical insurance, copy of air ticket/PNR, accommodation proof and visa fees
  • International students of all nationalities residing in France for more than three months must obtain a student residency permit.

NEXT: Germany


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6. Study in Germany: Known for its precision engineering

About 300 international degree programmes are taught in the federal nation, entirely or partly in English, mostly in the realm of engineering and pure sciences.

Academic cycle

Sessions begins: October (winter semester), April (summer semester)

Application deadlines: January 15 for summer semester and July 15 for winter semester

Visa cycle: Best to apply three months before the day of travel

Working with a major car manufacturer in Gurgaon, Ayaan Ghosh decided to apply for his MTech at Technical University of Berlin, Germany. Known for its precision engineering, the country gets a fair share of Indian students for studying Engineering, Mathematics, Natural Science and even Social and Cultural Sciences.

University of Stuttgart, University of Regensburg, Technical University of Berlin and University of Duisburg-Essen remain most sought after Universities in the country. In German educational institutions, both professors and students are involved in research right at the beginning of the course.

There are about 300 international degree programmes which are entirely or partly taught in English especially in the realm of engineering and pure sciences. Germany is an expensive country but most university towns will have second-hand shops selling furniture, equipment and computers and most other utility items.

So, one must just rummage through these shops, haggle and attain the best bargain. Once you arrive in the country, do register at the Resident Registration Bureau and the Office of Foreigner's Affairs (to prove that you can bear financial cost of your studies).
 
Visa guidelines

  • In order to apply for a student visa, you need a valid passport, entitlement to university admission as recognised in Germany, evidence of previous academic performance and a proof that complete financial support for one year is guaranteed
  • The Visa Facilitation Service (VFS) is close to Rs 4,000 from August 2011
  • A complete medical check-up from a qualified medical doctor concerning illnesses or important drugs
  • Applicants from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand as well as the Union territories need to send application to German Embassy office, New Delhi
  • The German Consulate General deals with the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry

NEXT: Italy


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7. Study in Italy: The Mecca of fashion

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers many scholarships to study in this nation.

Academic cycle

Session begins: September

Application deadline: Four months before the session starts

Visa cycle: Best to apply three months prior to date of departure

Italy stands as fashion's Mecca in the modern world and gets a decent number of Indian students who intend to pursue fashion and design, although there are others who come here to study Engineering and Business Administration.

Italian universities have been intellectually diverse and the world's oldest extant university still stands quite tall at Bologna.

However, as Surender Chauhan would like to believe, the country is innately stylish and it kind of rubs on you. Surender studied at Polytechnic of Milan.

Other places having strong Indian presence include University of Venice, John Cabot University, University of Bologna and Polytechnic of Turin. To make the country a viable option among Indian students, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers scholarships.

However, there were only 450-500 applicants last year. With many new Italian universities trying to offer courses in English, the Indian student population is bound to increase.

Visa guidelines

  • Applicants of north India need to apply for Visa at VFS Italy Visa Application Centre at Embassy of Italy in New Delhi
  • Consulate Generals of Italy in Mumbai and Kolkata deal with south, west and east respectively
  • Submit your filled-in application forms along with passport, overseas medical insurance, applicant's academic certificates duly legalised by the Consular office or the Embassy, letter of acceptance from the University in Italy, receipt of full payment of tuition fees and adequate proof of boarding and lodging
  • The Embassy may call an applicant for an interview or any additional document

NEXT: Singapore


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8. Study in Singapore: Just four hours away!

You do not require a work permit in Singapore but can work a maximum of 16 hours a week.

Academic cycle

Session begins: August

Application deadline: March

Visa cycle: At least two months prior to the commencement of your course and not before 6 months
 
Vrushali Mehta got through INSEAD and was proud of her achievement. However, she was offered a place in INSEAD's satellite campus at Singapore. Her parents were overjoyed. Singapore is four hours away from India and has emerged as one of the important destination for Indian students.

Numerous Indian students go there ever year to study Management, Engineering, IT and Tourism courses. Apart from INSEAD, there are other popular private educational campuses like those of SP Jain Centre of Management and SIM University.

In addition, National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University have emerged as top choices of Indian students. Singapore has lower cost of living than most developed countries. Students do not require a work-permit but can work a maximum of 16 hours a week. The institute usually provides assistance to students to apply for Student Pass (visa).
 
Visa guidelines

  • International students are required to apply for a Student's Pass to pursue a course of study in Singapore unless they are holding a Dependent Pass (DP) or an Immigration Exemption Order (IEO)
  • Upon receiving the Letter of Acceptance from the school, the applicant must proceed to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to apply for a Student's Pass
  • Once your application is successful, you will need to complete the acceptance form, the Student Pass application form & return it to the University
  • On receipt of your Acceptance Form and the Student Pass application form, the university will apply for Student Pass from the Singapore Immigration & check points Authority. The University/Institute will send you a letter from ICA regarding the approval of your student pass

NEXT: Switzerland


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9. Study in Switzerland: Preferred for Hospitality Services

All doctoral degree-granting research universities in Switzerland are very demanding in time and require dedication, so no time to work along with studies.

Academic cycle

Session begins: September

Application deadline: Four months before the session starts

Visa cycle: At least 8 to 10 weeks prior to date of departure

About 700 students were enrolled in Swiss Universities for Bachelor's, Master's and research programmes in December 2010. Switzerland has been a preferred destination for students to pursue their education in hospitality services.

Biotechnology, Material Science and Nanotechnology are also quite popular options. Switzerland has 12 doctoral degree-granting research universities offering a wide-range of educational opportunities to international students.

Swiss educational fees are comparatively lower as compared to other European nations and the higher education is publicly funded. In fact, all the doctoral degree-granting research universities are also publicly funded.

University of Geneva, University of Bern, University of St. Gallen and University of Lausanne are popular with Indian students and are very demanding in time and require dedication. As a result, there is not much time for working along with studies.
 
Visa guidelines

  • Complete three national (type D) visa application forms and send along with recent passport photos (4), copies of passport, confirmation letter from university, evidence of payment of tuition fees, sufficient funds and copies of your previous degrees, diplomas and certificates
  • Send copies of a written confirmation that you will leave Switzerland after you have completed the chosen course study, resume and an essay on your future plans
  • Visa fee & additional postage fee are to be paid

NEXT: New Zealand


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10. Study in New Zealand: Easy on your pocket

Number of students applying to New Zealand for undergraduate courses is on a rise as higher education here remains inexpensive as compared to UK, USA.

Academic cycle

Session begins: September/October

Application deadline: Four months before the session starts

Visa cycle: Best to begin 8 to 10 months prior to commencement of course

According to New Zealand's Ministry of Education, there were about 7,000 Indian students in the country in 2009 and it rose to about 8,000 in 2010. For a nation located far away, this is quite a large number.

New Zealand remains an immensely accessible country for immigration purposes. Over the last three years, there has been a steady rise in the number of students applying to New Zealand for undergraduate courses.

Higher education remains inexpensive as compared to UK, USA. Indian students pursue management and Commerce, Medicine, IT and Pure Sciences in the country. University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, Lincoln University and University of Waikato are the most popular choices.

The duration of student visa is initially a year and extended for the duration of the course.

Students can avail of a year's job search visa after completion of course and get a two-year work permit if they manage to get a job in their area of study. Located in the southern hemisphere, the weather conditions are contrary to India. The winter lasts from June to August while January and February are the warmest months. With various recreational options offered to students, the country is a haven for those who love adventure sports.
 
Visa guidelines

  • Submit filled-up visa application form along with letter of acceptance from the university, a valid passport, evidence of payment of fees, accommodation and sufficient funds
  • You have to meet medical requirements and provide a temporary entry X-ray certificate
  • Evidence of a return ticket to your country or evidence of sufficient funds to buy one is needed
  • Once your visa application is approved, ensure your passport is valid for three months after your date of departure from New Zealand

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