Overseas education has gained tremendous popularity among Indian students and parents. The number of Indian students opting to study abroad has been consistently high over the years. According to data from the Bureau of Immigration, the number of Indian students who traveled abroad for higher education in 2021 increased by more than 58% when compared to the previous year, when universities all over the world were shut down due to lockdowns. This was despite the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As many as 2,60,312 Indian students went abroad for their studies in 2020, while in 2021, this number went up to 4,45,498. The spending by Indian parents to sponsor the foreign education of their children is also going up. It is expected to go up to $80 billion by 2024 from $28 billion in 2021.
Higher education degrees from globally reputed foreign universities serve as tickets to high paying jobs worldwide, including in India. Globally recognized international universities have higher average placements as compared to Indian universities. According to a comparative study, the average annual salaries after placements at certain Indian universities were $5,000 to $10,000, while those from the UK yielded $80,000 to $1,00,000 annually.
There are various facets of overseas education that are helping Indian students to achieve life-changing career opportunities. Let’s dive into a few of them:
Boost your CV: Large multinational companies prefer candidates with international exposure for global positions. With overseas education, you can also add desirable skills to your CV like a second language, adaptability, cultural sensitivity, and networking ability. A global exposure on your CV gives you an edge.
Learn to thrive in a diverse set-up: Companies now pay much greater attention to diversity and inclusion (D&I) in workplaces. According to a McKinsey report, most diverse companies are more likely to outperform their less diverse peers in profitability. Candidates with successful overseas higher education experience have high chances of thriving in a diverse corporate set-up as they are already exposed to various ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious, and nationalistic diversities.
Specialized programs not available in India: Many in-demand specializations like data sciences, artificial intelligence, digital marketing, cybersecurity, ethical hacking and ecotechnology are not easily available as full-time courses in Indian universities. Overseas education allows students to become specialized in these emerging areas of importance to prepare for future careers. A survey shows that these new areas of specialization are taking precedence over traditional courses for 52% of Indian students intending to study abroad.
Long-term personal growth: The impact of overseas education on long-term personal growth could be enormous. Research has shown in the past that participating in an overseas study program significantly impacts students’ lives in terms of personal growth, professional development and attitudinal-cum-behavioral changes. With international education, students develop versatile life skills. Spending time in another country can help expand cognitive skills like flexibility, creativity and complex problem solving while positively improving social skills like empathy and tolerance, which are crucial to climbing up the professional ladder quickly.
Improves employability abroad: Indian students going overseas for higher education stand higher chances of working abroad. A study has shown a direct connection between studying abroad and the development of skills that can contribute to jobs and career development in today’s workforce. Foreign education is linked to increased hiring ability and higher starting salaries. Students opting for foreign campuses also get an opportunity to network with international peers and hiring managers. Students can articulate international experiences and intercultural skills in both their resumes and interviews. With this, they are more likely to succeed in a global and dynamic work sphere.
A way ahead
Jobs and careers have taken on a whole new meaning, especially since the pandemic. You cannot afford to hold on to a single job or limited skill sets to survive in the job market until retirement. The new normal is to have multiple skills, strong networking, and shorter job tenure to navigate complex work environments. Technology-led disruptions across industries have made stable jobs a thing of the past.
Employees should be able to make career shifts and changes swiftly, given the dynamic nature of the modern world, which has rendered the idea of job security obsolete. This sentiment is growing and is corroborated by many reports and articles that detail the future of work. Overseas education can make Indian students ready for such careers. Studying abroad exposes students to tremendous opportunities that they might not avail of while studying in India. Beyond jobs and salaries, studying abroad also has transformational potential as it exposes students to the best education systems and international communities, helping them prepare for the globally interconnected careers of the future.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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