Best country to study abroad – a thought that passes through a lot number of Indian students who wish to pursue education abroad. Every year, approximately 7-10 lakhs of Indian students go abroad in pursuit of quality education and better career prospects. According to the data released by the Ministry of External Affairs, the most preferred foreign destination to acquire education among students is the United States. However, countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UAE and Saudi Arabia are also quite popular among students looking for the best country to study abroad. The most attractive features of these countries that seem appealing for candidates are quality of education, cost of education, living cost, location, culture, visa provisions and people’s personalities.
In this article, the students will get to know about the best country to study abroad along with most appealing features that attract candidates such as top universities/colleges, popular courses, living cost, study cost, visa and more. Before that, let’s check out the top destinations to study abroad for Indian students in the table given below. It provides you with an insight into the popularity of different countries among students.
List of Most Preferred Countries for Study Abroad
|S.No.||Name of countries||No. of Indian students enrolled in the year 2017-18*|
* The number displayed above has been released by the Ministry of External Affairs based on the inputs received from Indian Missions/Posts abroad.
Now that you know about the top foreign destinations where most of the Indian students head to pursue education, read about each of these countries and choose the best country to study abroad.
Best Country to Study Abroad – United States
Not only the world’s largest economy but the USA is also the leading study destination for lakhs of international students. The country boasts of world-class education and maintains high standards of study in its educational institutions. Also, at least 5 of the universities of USA rank in the top 10 of the QS World University Rankings and over 30 are in the top 100. This makes the United States the best country to study abroad for many students. Highlighted below are the top attractions of the US that entice Indian students towards it.
Top Institutions to Lookout For: Institutions such as Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, California Institute of Technology and Princeton University are a big draw for Indian students who wish to study abroad.
Popular Courses Among International Students: MBA, Engineering, Computer Science, Law and Medicine courses are big hits among Indian students.
Tuition Fees in the USA: One of the top concerns for students who wish to pursue studies in the United States is the high tuition fees of top universities/colleges there. The tuition fees can be found as high as USD 50,000 per annum. However, many universities offer financial assistance in the form of scholarships or grants to an international student so as to not deter a bright mind. Given below is the list of scholarships that students can apply for if they wish to study in the US.
- Narotam Sekhsaria Scholarship Programme – Provided by Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, the selected candidates can receive an interest-free loan of up to INR 20 Lakh.
- MPOWER Global Citizen Scholarship Program – Provided by MPOWER Financing, the selected candidates receive a scholarship of USD 5000.
- Western Union Foundation Global Scholarship Program – Offered by Western Union Foundation and managed by the Institute of International Education, Inc. (IIE), the selected students get a tuition fee aid of USD 2500.
- Wells Mountain Initiative (WMI) Scholars Program – An initiative of the Wells Mountain Foundation (WMI), USA, the selected meritorious students receive an amount of up to USD 3000 per annum to fund their education.
Candidates can also read the article on Harvard University Scholarship for scholarship options given by Harvard University.
Visa Procedure: To apply for a student visa, the candidates need at the most 3 to 5 months in advance. Find below the list of visas that a candidate can be eligible for if he/she is going to start a course study in the USA.
- F1 Visa – An international student going for a full-time academic course is eligible for F1 Visa, which grants them an on-campus work permit of 20 hours per week.
- J1 Visa – Candidates visiting the US for short-term courses such as exchange programs, research fellowships and working professionals are eligible for J1 Visa.
- M1 Visa – Under the provision of this visa scheme, the students coming for a fixed time period (not more than 1 year) are eligible for M1 Visa. The candidates are not allowed to work under this visa.
To know more about the educational opportunities in the USA, read the article on Study in USA.
Gaining popularity among international students due to its top-notch universities/colleges and easy visa application, Canada can also be considered as the best country to study abroad. Several universities rank high up in the QS World University Rankings.
Highlighted below are the top attractions of Canada that entice Indian students towards it.
Top Institutions to Lookout For: University of Toronto, McGill University, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta and McMaster University are the top 5 universities of Canada. These institutions are equipped with modern amenities and high standard of studies which attract hordes of international students to Canada and make it one of the best places to study abroad.
Popular Courses Among International Students: Some of the most popular courses among international students to study in Canada are MBA, Computer Science & IT, Business & Finance, Civil Engineering & Construction and Public Health. Thousands of students from India go to Canada every year to pursue a course of their liking.
Tuition Fees in Canada: The tuition fees the candidates need to pay is comparatively lower than that of the US. However, the tuition fees can go as high as CAD 30,000 per annum depending on the course the student is opting for. Nevertheless, several scholarships, grants or discounts are offered to international students to lower their financial burden. Given below is the list of scholarships that students can apply for if they wish to study in Canada.
- Debesh-Kamal Scholarships for Higher Education/Research Abroad – Offered by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata, this scholarship provides a scholarship amount of INR 1 Lakh to the selected candidates who wish to study abroad.
- Nilam Patel Bahushrut Foundation- To Study Abroad Scholarship – Started by the Nilam Patel Bahushrut Foundation, this scholarship offers financial support to the hearing-impaired students of Gujarat and Maharashtra for pursuing education abroad.
- K.C. Mahindra Scholarships for Post-Graduate Studies Abroad – Started by the K. C. Mahindra Education Trust, the selected candidates receive an interest-free loan of up to INR 8 Lakh to study abroad.
- Chief Minister’s Overseas Scholarship Scheme for Minorities, Telangana – Under this scholarship scheme started by the Minority Development Department of Telangana Government, the candidates belonging to the minority community receive financial assistance of up to INR 10 Lakhs to pursue higher education abroad.
To know more about scholarships for study in Canada, read ‘Top Canada Scholarships for Indian Students’.
Visa Procedure: To study in Canada, the candidates need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa. The visa process generally takes 3-4 weeks to complete. The students can apply for a study visa either through the online process or offline process. Also, Indian students have the benefit of applying through Student Direct Stream to get study permits faster. The candidates need to pay CAD 160 as a visa application fee. Find below the list of documents that a candidate needs to attach with his/her visa application.
- A copy of the student’s acceptance letter from a designated learning institution
- A copy of the applicant’s upfront medical exam confirmation document
- A proof that the applicant has a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000
- A proof that the applicant has paid the tuition fee of the first year
- Proof of English language competency through a language assessment test such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with a minimum score of 6
- After the approval of the candidate’s visa application, the candidates receive a letter of introduction and a visitor visa (Temporary Resident Visa) to enter Canada.
For more information, read ‘Study in Canada’.
A popular study abroad destination among Indian students, Australia has a lot to offer to international students. The country is home to a number of top-ranking universities that provide world-class education and infrastructure to students. At least 37 Australian institutions are included in the latest QS World University Rankings. For thousands of international students, Australia is the best country to study abroad.
Highlighted below are the top attractions of Australia that attract Indian students towards it.
Top Institutions to Lookout For: Australian National University (ANU), University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales (UNSW) and University of Queensland (UQ) are the top 5 universities of Australia. These universities are well-known for their academic excellence and placement opportunities.
Popular Courses Among International Students: The most sought-after courses that attract international student population to Australian universities are Business & Management, Medicine, Accounting, Dentistry, Law, Engineering, Environmental Science and more.
Tuition Fees in Australia: The tuition fees in Australian universities are relatively lower than that of the USA, UK and other countries. The average cost of education in Australia is AUD 30,000 per annum. There are also a lot of scholarship options, tuition fee waivers and grants for international students. Most of these scholarship schemes are disbursed on the basis of students’ merit. Find below the list of popular scholarships that a student can avail if he/she wishes to pursue an education in Australia.
- J N Tata Endowment Loan Scholarships – Offered by the JN Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians, the selected candidates receive a loan scholarship of up to INR 10 Lakh. In addition to this, the candidates also become eligible to get travel assistance of up to INR 50,000 and gift scholarship of up to INR 7,50,000.
- Dr Abdul Kalam Undergraduate Scholarship, Sydney University – Under this scholarship scheme started by the University of Sydney, the candidates get 50% tuition fee waiver.
- ANU-Study Canberra India Scholarship – Offered by the Australian National University, this scholarship provides a scholarship amount of AUD 10,000 to the meritorious Indian students.
- Carnegie Mellon University Academic Merit Scholarships – Under this scholarship scheme offered by the Carnegie Mellon University of Australia, the selected students get a tuition fee waiver of 10% to 40%.
- University of Queensland Postgraduate Coursework Scholarships – Under this scholarship scheme started by the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland, the shortlisted candidates become eligible for 50% of tuition fee waiver.
For more scholarship information related to Australia, read our top Australian scholarship article here.
Visa Procedure: To apply for a student visa, the candidates need to start the visa process at least 3 months in advance. They need to apply online for Student Visa (Subclass 500). An amount of AUD 560 is charged from the applicants as the visa application fee. Find below the list of documents that a candidate needs to while applying for with his/her student visa.
- A copy of Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) or a Letter of Offer
- A copy of passport biodata page
- Evidence of sufficient fund (at least AUD 20,290 per annum)
- Evidence of Health Insurance Cover
- Proof of English language proficiency
- Criminal Record Check Results
- Passport size photograph of the applicant
To know more about educational opportunities in Australia, read ‘Study in Australia: All you need to know’.
Replete with scenic beauty and cultural richness, New Zealand is the perfect study abroad destination for those who want to indulge in nature as well as pursue a quality education. There are 8 universities in New Zealand and all of them are ranked in the QS World University Rankings.
Highlighted below are the top attractions of New Zealand that attract Indian students towards it.
Top Institutions to Lookout For: University of Auckland, University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Canterbury and University of Waikato are the top 5 universities of New Zealand. House of thousands of international students, these universities are world renown for courses like law, information management, hospitality, business and research.
Popular Courses Among International Students: The most popular courses that draw international students toward New Zealand universities are nursing, veterinary science, medicine, engineering, law and social work. These courses are available to students studying at different study levels – graduate, postgraduate, certificate, diploma and research.
Tuition Fees in New Zealand: Education fee is comparatively lower in New Zealand than in other famous destinations like the US and UK. However, the tuition fees vary from one educational institution to another. An undergraduate course here costs between NZD 27,592 to NZD 72,896 and PG level courses charge at the most NZD 46,787. But international students need not worry much about the cost of education as they can avail a variety of scholarship schemes, tuition fee waivers and grants. Find below the list of popular scholarships that a student can avail if he/she wishes to pursue an education in New Zealand.
- New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships – Offered by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India in collaboration with New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade, the selected candidates become eligible for full tuition fee waiver, a living allowance of NZD 491 per week, an establishment allowance of NZD 3000, medical and travel insurance and much more.
- New Zealand Excellence Awards – Jointly started by Education New Zealand and eight New Zealand universities, this scholarship offers an amount of NZD 10,000 to 34 meritorious Indian students.
- Inlaks Scholarships – Provided by Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, the candidates receive a scholarship benefit of up to USD 100,000.
- Tata Trusts Professional Enhancement Grant/Travel Scholarship – Under this scheme started by the Tata Trusts, the eligible candidates receive a travel grant depending on their financial needs to visit abroad for professional enhancement.
Visa Procedure: If you wish to apply for a student visa to study in New Zealand, you must have obtained a confirmation letter from the designated institution. New Zealand provides several visa options for students. The simple visa process makes New Zealand one of the best places to study abroad. If the duration of the course is less than 3 months, the candidates can obtain a visitor visa. If the duration of the course of study is more than 6 months, the students can apply for the following student visas.
- Fee Paying Student Visa – Under this visa provision, the candidates who want to visit New Zealand for a full-time course whose duration is more than 3 months need to pay the full cost of their course and enrol in an approved education provider. This visa is valid for up to 4 years and allows international students to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week.
- Foreign Government Supported Student Visa – A student can apply for this visa if he/she has obtained a government loan in their own country or acquired a scholarship and want to pursue a full-time course in New Zealand. Under this visa, the candidates need to provide the proof that their course fee will be paid by the loan or by the scholarship and have an offer letter from an approved educational institution of New Zealand. Also, the validity of this visa remains for up to 4 years and students are allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week.
- Pathway Student Visa – This is meant for those students who want to study 3 consecutive courses on a single student visa and have received an offer of place from a Pathway education provider. The validity of this visa remains for a period of up to 5 years. Also, the students can work on a part-time basis for up to 20 hours per week.
- Exchange Student Visa – This visa is meant for students who are part of an approved student exchange program and want to study full-time in New Zealand for more than 3 months. This visa is valid for up to 4 years depending on the length of the exchange program. Also, the students can work on a part-time basis for up to 20 hours per week.
- Visitor Visa – This visa is meant for those candidates who want to pursue a short-term course from New Zealand. It is valid for a period of up to 9 months depending on the applicant’s plan.
Now that you know about the various visa options for students wishing to study in New Zealand, find the list of documents needed to apply for the visa application.
- Copy of the letter of offer of place by an approved institution of New Zealand
- Proof of having sufficient funds to cover the student’s living cost
- Two recent passport size photos
- Proof of English language proficiency
- A copy of the valid
- Health insurance
- Medical certificate in case the student is going to pursue a course having the duration of over 12 months
- Police issued certificate of good character
- A letter that guarantees that a suitable accommodation arrangement is made for students who are under 18 years of age
To know more about educational opportunities in New Zealand, read ‘Study in New Zealand: All you need to know’.
The United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Having a rich history in the field of education, the UK is home to a number of world-renown educational institutions which makes it the best country to study abroad for Indian students. Most of these institutions rank under top 10 of the QS World University Rankings.
Highlighted below are the top attractions of New Zealand that entice Indian students towards it.
Top Institutions to Lookout For: The University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University College London (UCL), Imperial College London and King’s College London are the top 5 universities of the UK. Besides these universities, there are also several other colleges that offer quality education. Often considered the best country to study abroad, thousands of Indian students make an effort to get into these universities.
Popular Courses Among International Students: A number of disciplines like Management, Engineering, Law, Literature and Social Studies are quite popular among international students. Students pursue these fields of studies at different study levels such as undergraduate, postgraduate, diploma and research.
Tuition Fees in New Zealand: Though the quality and standard of education is high in the UK, international students often get discouraged due to high tuition fees. To tackle this problem, several scholarships, tuition fee waivers and grants are offered to meritorious students who get admitted into a programme of a UK university.
- Oxford and Cambridge Society of India Scholarship (OCSI), UK – Under this scholarship scheme offered by the Oxford and Cambridge Society of India (OCSI), the selected students get a scholarship amount of up to INR 300,000.
- Gates Cambridge Global Scholarship – This scholarship is offered by the University of Cambridge to those outstanding students who wish to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree from the UK. A total of 90 candidates are selected who receive full-cost scholarships.
- UCL Denys Holland Scholarship – Offered by the University College London, this scholarship awards a scholarship amount of GBP 9000 per annum to the selected students.
- Imperial College Brilliant Minds MBA Scholarship – Under this scholarship scheme offered by the Imperial College Business School, London, a scholarship amount of GBP 51,000 is provided to exceptional candidates to enrol in the full-time MBA course of this business school.
- UCC Ireland Meritorious Scholarship – Provided by the University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, this scholarship gives a tuition fee waiver of up to 50% to the selected candidates.
For more scholarship information, read ‘Top UK Scholarships for Indian Students’.
Visa Procedure: A candidates who wish to study in the UK needs to apply for a study visa. In order to apply for the visa, the students need to have obtained an offer of place from any approved UK college or university. There are two types of study visa that a student can apply for studying in the UK.
- Short Term Study Visa – Students who wish to pursue short term courses in the UK can apply for this visa. The duration of the courses must be less than 6 months or the course may be on a part-time basis where a short period of attendance is required.
- Tier 4 Study Visa – To apply for this visa, the students must have received an acceptance letter from the designated college/university. At least 3 months are needed to complete the Tier 4 Study Visa application process.
Now that you know about the visa options for students wishing to study in the UK, find the list of documents needed to apply for the visa application.
- Proof of English language proficiency
- Current passport or other valid travel documentation
- Proof that the applicant can pay his/her course fee and bear his/her living expenses in the UK
- Proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if the applicant is under 18 years of age
- Proof of the applicant’s relationship with his/her parent or guardian if he/she is under 18 years of age
- Tuberculosis test result of the applicant