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Indian students opting for these offbeat study destinations


Young Indians are opting for non-traditional

study destinations

, surprising many. While the US, UK, Australia, and Canada remain popular choices for

Indian students

, there has been a noticeable increase in enrolment numbers in lesser-known countries such as Lithuania, Estonia, Chile, Turkey, Malta, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Executives from

study abroad

platforms and strategy consultant Redseer have confirmed to ET that more Indian students are choosing these alternative destinations.

The shift can be attributed to several factors. The UK, post-Brexit, is facing economic challenges and a negative attitude towards migrants. Canada is dealing with an accommodation crisis, limited spots for international students, and a strained diplomatic relationship with India. The US, on the other hand, is known for its high costs and limited employment opportunities for most.
The appeal of these alternative destinations lies in their lower costs, student-friendly policies, and promising job prospects.

Earlier, it was reported that data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) indicates a decline in Indian students applying for undergraduate courses in the UK, with a 4% decrease in applications.
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Redseer’s research reveals that in the past, 75-80% of Indian students who pursued education abroad chose one of the Big 4 destinations: the US, UK, Canada, and Australia & New Zealand.
Kushal Bhatnagar, Associate Partner at Redseer, was quoted saying, “2022 was one of the best years for the Big4. But 2024 will be the year for alternative destinations. With stringent regulations imposed by Canada and the UK, the market is expected to shift towards alternative countries like Germany, Singapore, Ireland, the Netherlands, and South Korea, etc.”

Karunn Kandoi, Chief Experience Officer at ApplyBoard, notes that Chile is increasingly popular among international students, including Indians.
Kandoi mentioned that Chile provides incentives like the Chilean Government Scholarship and the Bicentennial Scholarship, along with a simplified visa process for international students.
“There are also a few Indian companies already present in Chile,” he further added.
Adarsh Khandelwal, co-founder of Collegify, mentioned that Malta and Taiwan are also popular choices due to their lower tuition and living expenses compared to other international destinations.
Akshay Chaturvedi, founder and CEO of LeverageEdu, Fly Finance & Fly Homes, noted that for the first time in the last six months, the percentage of students inquiring about study destinations outside the Big 4 has significantly increased, rising from 8% to a high of 21% last week.
Chaturvedi added that while new student destinations outside the Big 4 are emerging, they need to be tested and proven over a few years to gain recognition as legitimate choices for students.
In addition to the aforementioned countries, Germany, Finland, the UAE, Japan, Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Spain are also witnessing a surge in popularity among Indian students.
Rajiv Ganjoo, founder CEO, LilacBuds says, “Tuition fee in the US ranges from $20,000 to $100,000 depending on the programme and university in comparison to tuition fee range of $3,500 to $15,000 per year for other emerging student destinations. Additionally, these countries need skilled professionals, providing increased opportunities for students from Bharat and all these courses are also recognised back in India.”
According to Vaibhav Gupta, co-founder and chief marketing officer of


, Estonia and Lithuania, two former Soviet nations, are attracting students with their safety, technological advancements, and generous scholarships of up to 100% for international students.
He noted that tuition fees in these two nations are highly competitive, and the average cost of living is under 300 euros per month.
“For example, a robotics and computer engineering master’s degree is 4,000 euros in tuition fees per year,” Gupta further added.
In 2023, over 20,000 Indian students utilized iSchoolConnect’s platform to pursue studies in international colleges.

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