It is no longer the United States or the United Kingdom. Australia is emerging as a favourite destination for Indian students for higher studies.
There has been a distinct decline since 2001 in the number of new Indian students as far as US is concerned --- the 9/11 incident been a major reason. Instead, the number heading for Australia and New Zealand has risen.
"From less than 500 students at the start of 1990's, we expect the number to go up to around 20,000 students gaining Australian education by 2004 end and overtake major countries like the UK and the US in near future -- the major reason been security, superior quality of education and money value of Australian dollar that makes expenses affordable for many students", said T Burchill, trade commissioner, Australian High Commission in India at a media meet organised by Global Reach.
Global Reach on Tuesday opened its second office at City Centre in Salt Lake. It had offices at Bhubaneshwar, Patna and at Dhaka, Bangladesh. It was planning to expand to Katmandu, Nepal and Chittagong by 2005.
Global Reach was authorised counsellor for universities in Australia , the UK and New Zealand -- Monash, Queensland, Leicester, Glasgow to name a few , provide career advise, university and country selection, admission assistance and visa guidance.
Initial counselling was free of cost with a refundable deposit of Rs 5,000 during application lodgement.
Around half of Global Reach's referral was to Australia, 35 per cent to the UK and 15 per cent to New Zealand. The success rate was around 97 per cent in case of Australia and 100 per cent for New Zealand, said managing director R L Singh.
Scholarship were tough to get as they were mostly for 'research' courses. Students were allowed to work for 20 hrs a week during usual course period and get a full time working permit during holidays, he added.
Students in Australian universities studied applied courses like information technology, accounting, engineering and vocational subjects. Visa procedures for Australia were transparent, claimed Singh.