Pros and Cons of Studying Abroad

Confused about studying in India versus studying abroad? Dr. Karan Gupta takes you through the pros and cons

Studying abroad comes with many additional difficulties and challenges that those studying in India won’t have to face. On top of these issues, study abroad students generally pay a much higher cost to receive their education as well. Considering this, many Indian students have a difficult time deciding whether or not an overseas diploma is actually worth all the hassle. We’ll explore this in greater depth by comparing and contrasting the advantages and disadvantages of pursing your degree abroad versus at home.

Tuition and Living Costs

The price of tuition in most popular study abroad locations will surely cost well over ten times what it would cost for you to pursue your studies in India. For example, the tuition costs of a top university in the United States can be upwards of $50,000 USD per year. This is in stark contrast to prices in India which can be as low as $150 USD per year. This is undoubtedly the largest contributor to why Indian students may decide not to study abroad, and the price disparity isn’t only when it comes to tuition. The cost of living, such as housing, food, clothes, entertainment and other expenses is generally much higher in most study abroad locations. In fact, India was rated the second cheapest place in the world to live by several surveys. Publications analysed the cost of rent, groceries and goods and services in 112 different countries, and concluded that just behind South Africa at number one, India is the world’s second most affordable place to call home. So when it comes to costs, India is clearly going to be the most price efficient option, but that doesn’t have to hold you back if you truly desire to study in another country. Many countries in Europe, as well as Canada, have fairly reasonable tuition costs. One great method of cutting costs is through scholarships. Most countries offer some sort of scholarship for international students, which can help to greatly alleviate, or at times fully cover, your tuition costs.

Job Options

If your goal after graduation is to work overseas, then it’s probably a good idea to look into studying abroad. While it’s possible to attain a work permit with a degree from India, the odds of you being successful are greatly enhanced if you received your degree from the country in which you are trying to work. Many countries, such as Canada, have programmes specifically designed to allow those that have earned a degree within their borders to get a work permit fairly easily. Some of these countries even offer the chance to apply for permanent residency upon graduation. There are many advantages to working overseas, especially if there’s a specific company that you would like to work for that resides abroad. Having a foreign diploma from a prestigious university can also widen your job options at home. While you should have no problem finding a job within India with an Indian degree, having a degree from a reputable overseas university can help to give you a competitive edge in the local job market.

Differences in Salary

Your annual salary may also vary depending on where you study. A degree from a prestigious foreign university such as Harvard or Oxford can greatly increase your value on the job market both in India and overseas. This salary increase is even more substantial if the position you acquire resides somewhere like Australia or the United States. For example, an MBA graduate from IIMs in India can expect to make anywhere from 15 to 30 lakh annually, while someone who graduated from Harvard Business School can make upwards of 80 lakh per year while working in the United States. While it’s clear that your earning ability is much higher if you graduate from a top business school abroad, it’s also important to remember that tuition and living costs are much cheaper in India. So while you may be making a much higher annual income abroad, you’ll most likely have a lot more debt to pay off as well.

A Global Mindset

One thing that students who decide to stay in India can miss out on is achieving the global mindset that most study abroad students experience. In today’s global marketplace, understanding people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds is more important than ever. Any student who studies abroad will be immersed in a vastly different culture, and will learn how to navigate a different land while interacting with other students from a variety of different countries. This can help to instil a greater understanding of how to deal with people from other countries and cultures.

The decision to stay in India or to leave home to pursue your education abroad is not an easy one to make. There are many great advantages to both decisions, and both have their own set of pitfalls, so it’s best to figure out what is most important to you and choose accordingly.

The author is an education consultant and alumnus of Harvard Business School

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