Aspiring to study Abroad? 5 things Indian students need to know! – India Today

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Being admitted to a top global university and eventually moving to a new country to study has been a dream of millions of aspiring Indian students. According to UNESCO, out of the 5 million international students studying worldwide in 2018, 750,000 were Indian students.
Though Covid-19 has forced Indian students to prepare for their studies remotely or even to temporarily pause their ambitions, a new survey suggests that 91 percent of Indian students are interested in studying abroad as soon as they are permitted to do so.
However, moving from one country remains a challenging prospect and one of the most important transitions of a student’s life. How do you manage this well? Over the years that I have worked in international education, I have had the privilege of working with both Indian students and teachers, and I’ve learned that there are a number of key areas which help students make a success of this transition to overseas study.
Indeed, my colleagues at Study Group put a lot of time and effort into supporting students through this process and on to successful student life.
So these are five crucial things that aspiring Indian students should keep in mind when moving abroad to pursue their dreams.

Conducting in-depth research is the first and foremost thing you should do before moving to a foreign country. There are many sources for this from reputable global rankings such as those produced by The Times Higher Education to university prospectuses, course information, and online details about a study destination.
National newspapers also produce rankings that focus on specific issues such as teaching quality and student support. These will give you detailed information about the places, culture, weather, and other essential things. Think very carefully about your course too.
How is it taught and what expectations will there be of how you will study and what you already know. Many courses provide reading lists and looking at these ahead may help you when you actually take up your studies. But remember that study is a personal experience and what is right for one person is not right for another.
Choosing a university and a course means understanding your own strengths, your career aspirations, whether you want to focus on practical experience or prefer an academic challenge. Would you prefer to be part of a vibrant city or to live on campus?
Make good use of virtual tours and prospectuses to give you a feel for a university, a campus, and a city, as well as information about a region and the opportunities it offers. Will your accommodation be on campus or will you need to travel to lectures?
What kind of accommodation is on offer and how would you like to live like a student – part of a large catered residence or a smaller flat with just a few students sharing a communal kitchen? Here you should also do your research with people.
These may be your teachers and family who know your strengths, a trusted agent with long experience of supporting students in finding the right study destination, or – perhaps most important of all – students and graduates who have already chosen a particular destination.
What was their experience? What do they think you need to know? A good education provider will help you in touch with people who can help you answer these questions because they will want their students to succeed.

When moving to a foreign country, it is important to have enough funds to meet your daily expenses. To make your stay in a new country hassle-free, make sure you carry an international debit card, which you can easily avail of from nationalized Indian banks. Have the
required information about the prevailing exchange rate and prepare a budget in advance before leaving making enough room for sustaining yourself when exchange rates change. Once you reach your destination, open a bank account in the country to keep your money safe.

Keeping your important documents safe is essential when travelling abroad. Apart from the documents submitted to the university, check the expiry of your passport and extend it if required to last beyond the period of your stay. Also, pay attention to the country’s visa requirements and keep your visa handy.
Apply for a visa well beforehand as the process may take several months, especially given delays associated with Covid-19. A copy of your medical records will also help you in case of any medical emergency overseas. The good news though is that, once you become a student, this information will also help open doors and be a genuine passport to support and opportunity.
In the U.K. for example, students who have paid a health surcharge as part of their entry to the U.K. have access to the country’s national health service free of charge should they need it. And after graduation, the U.K. also now offers Indian students the opportunity to live and work in the U.K. for two years – an opportunity to put your degree into practice and gain international work experience which Study Group has long supported.

Once you reach your designated country, you will need to get a few important things done first. At this challenging time, those countries which still have open borders are typically asking travellers to quarantine and to be tested for Covid.
But even once this requirement is no longer needed, students still need to register their arrival with the relevant authorities and the Indian embassy, which can provide advice and support in a new country if required. But most of all talk to the international student advisors at your new education provider who will guide you through the early days of induction into a new country and culture.
Follow this advice and ask questions – your teachers and fellow students will point you in the right direction.

When travelling abroad for a considerable duration, pack carefully. Keep accessible all the necessary things you might require while staying abroad including all the necessary documents like your passport and visa.
If you need medicines, keep these safe and clearly labelled. And remember adapters for any electrical devices. And last, of all, think of the climate. Have you packed enough winter clothes? Again international students who have made this journey before you can be a wonderful source of advice.
Eventually, the day will come again when Indian students will embark on journeys to new study destinations around the world, ready to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate degrees which will prepare them for successful careers in the future.
Those who are well-prepared will have a better landing, confident in the knowledge that many others have made this journey before them and that their teachers and fellow students will be ready to answer questions and to help them also fulfill their ambitions.
Article by Dr Mark Cunnington, Director for Study Group U.K. and E.U.
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