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Study Abroad: Find Program, Colleges, Costs, Scholarship, Visa Details, For International Students

Study Abroad Guide

Study Abroad: Find Program, Colleges, Costs, Scholarship, Visa details for International Students up

updated As per the reports (July 2021) of the Ministry of External Affairs India, over 11,33,749 Indian students are currently studying abroad. Statistics represented in the report clearly indicated that Indian students opted USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, UK, UAE to pursue their higher education. An estimation for the given number revealed that roughly three in four students opt the top three leading study abroad destinations- USA (211,930), Canada (215,720), and UAE (219,000). Apart from some conventional study abroad destinations like Germany, UK, etc, countries like the New Zeland (30,000), Saudi Arabia (80,800), France (10,000) have also seen a drastic rise in the number of Indian students enrolling in these countries. 

Out of the total number of Indian students studying abroad (2021), a whopping 67.6% decided to choose among the nations mentioned above. Despite the world tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, it is found out that over 91% of Indian students still want to pursue or continue their education abroad. According to RBI data, Indian students have spent over $3 billion, on tuition and hostel fees, in the first 10 months of FY21 itself. One of the contributing factors to these statistics in the post-COVID world is the trusted international healthcare systems. Countries like Canada offer students free healthcare at mere health Insurance charges.  

Why Study Abroad?

According to the Economic Times, since 2005, the total number of international students opting to study abroad has globally risen from 28,00,000 to over 50,00,000. The desire to travel and study in the top universities of the world has only grown over the years. 

There are innumerable reasons which encourage both students and their parents to opt for global education. Some of them are discussed below:-

  • Globally-Renowned Education:- The most significant reason for international students to study abroad is the first-class quality of education. No matter which field students decide to pursue, studying in a foreign country offers them a large number of outstanding opportunities in terms of learning, skill-building, and professional knowledge.
  • Great Career Opportunities:- From a wide range of internships to working part-time, international students are exposed to unlimited opportunities and experiences which are valuable for their careers and growth. After the completion of their studies abroad, students possess a high chance of securing better and more fulfilling working opportunities.
  • Cultural Exposure:- Studying overseas offers international students a lifetime opportunity to live in an entirely new country and familiarise themselves with its culture, traditions, people, lifestyles, etc.
  • Discover Yourself:- For many students, studying abroad might be the first time when they will be living on their own. This could be their only chance to re-discover their interests and passions. Also, it involves a lot of responsibilities which can make them into a more independent and self-sufficient individual.
  • Linguistics:- Students studying in foreign countries like the USA, UK, France, Sweden, and Germany need to be fluent in their native languages. Knowing a foreign language is always an added benefit in resumes as well as in personal lives.

What to Study Abroad?

International students can decide to study abroad at any level of their education, from a few weeks long summer programs to full-fledged degree courses. Some of the most commonly-opted academic programs are:-

Foundation and Pathways Programs: These are the post-secondary academic programs students choose to fill the gap between the current level of their education and knowledge & skills required to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree at an international university. These programs assist in language proficiency and familiarize students with the education system of a particular country. Foundation Programs generally target both domestic as well as international students.

Associate Degrees: Associate Degrees are the academic programs chosen by students at the undergraduate level. These programs provide a foundation of technical and academic knowledge necessary to go further in a particular choice of study. The duration of these programs is usually two years.

Associate degrees are most commonly offered by US universities, however, students can also find them in several other countries such as Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, and the Netherlands.

Bachelor’s Degrees: Pursuing a bachelor’s degree is one of the most common reasons why international students study abroad. These degrees are standard programs that are recognized globally as ‘undergraduate programs’ and usually spans for 3-4 years. Students are advised to consider this option when a particular program is not offered in their home country. This is as the cost of pursuing a bachelor’s degree is extremely high when considering foreign universities as compared to the home country. Additionally, a master's degree from international universities has better weightage as compared to a bachelor’s from international universities

Master’s Degrees: Even if one has completed a bachelor’s degree in their home country, they can always explore master’s degree programs around the world. Depending on their field of study, pursuing postgraduate studies from abroad could be highly beneficial for students’ career and growth. A master’s from abroad colleges will help you get a salary hike of around 29% on your previous salary. Not only does an international masters improve your job prospects it also gives you an ace if you wish to pursue doctorate courses abroad. 

Certificates and Diplomas: Certificate courses and diploma programs are short-term pathways to pursue a career or a passion. Students who are looking to gain a very specific skill within a short period of time must consider this option. There is an abundance of such short-term courses in Canada, which makes Canada the leading country to pursue short-term courses among Indian students.  

Doctoral Programs (Ph.D.): Doctoral programs are considered the highest level of education. Since getting admission into Ph.D. programs are quite competitive and selective, pursuing doctoral programs from foreign countries can open various doors for students.

Language Courses: Knowing a foreign language is always an added advantage for students’ resumes and careers. Therefore, it is always a better option to master a new language by interacting with locals instead of self-teaching at home. Also, most universities from the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia make it compulsory for their international students to be proficient in the native languages.

Where to Study Abroad?

After deciding the study, the next step is to figure out where. Traditionally, the USA dominates this chart with over one lakh Indian students studying in US universities. However, as of August 2018, Australia is also emerging as one of the favorite educational destinations with over 68,000 Indian students studying in renowned Australian universities.

The QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings highlights the countries with the world’s strongest higher education systems. The rankings tabulated below are based on four main criteria, system strength, access, flagship institution performance, and economic context.

Top Countries Rankings to Study Abroad (QS Rankings)

Ranks Countries Overall Scores No. of Top Ranking Universities* No. of Indian Students (as per MoEA 2021) 
1 United States 100 151 211,930
2 United Kingdom 98.6 84 55,453
3 Australia 93.8 36 87,115
4 Germany 93.4 45 92,383
5 Canada 90.4 26 215,720
6 France 86.8 28 10,000
7 Netherlands 84.9 13 1,469
14 Sweden 74.8 8 2,000
16 New Zealand 73.7 8 30,000
18 Hong Kong 71.2 4 916
24 Ireland 58.9 8 5,000
25 Malaysia 58.6 20 2,000

*The number of top universities in the respective country is given as per QS World University 2021 Rankings

Top Universities at Popular Study Abroad Destinations

Country Top Three Universities
USA Harvard, MIT, Stanford
Canada University of Toronto, McGill University, University of British Columbia
Australia ANU, University of Sydney, University of Melbourne
UK University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London
Germany TU Munich, Ludwig Maximillian University, University of Heidelberg
Singapore NUS, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University
Netherlands DelftUniversity of Technology, University of Amsterdam, Wageningen University & Research

How to Study Abroad?

The decision to study in a foreign country may appear a bit overwhelming. However, if planned accordingly, this process can be simplified into the following steps:-

Choose a Program to Study

Before we begin, the first main step is to finalize the choice of study students want to pursue for their future. There are a lot of programs offered at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate levels in a wide variety of professional fields such as Business & Finance, Medicine, Engineering & Technology, Education, History, Literature, Visual & Performing Arts, Politics, etc. Detailed below are some of the most opted programs among Indian students studying abroad. 

Most-Coveted Programs Offered in Germany

Programs Offered in Germany

Most-Coveted Programs Offered in U.S.A

Programs offered in USA

Most-Coveted Programs offered in United Kingdom

Programs offered in UK

Most-Coveted Programs Offered in Australia

Programs offered in Australia

Choose the University/ College

After deciding which program to study, the next step is to target the prospective universities. There is a huge number of universities to study abroad and to choose from the lot can be tedious. This decision should be based on various factors like costs & expenses, academic quality, and structure, faculty, admission requirements, deadlines, post-degree career opportunities, etc.

Tests to Take

There are two types of tests international students must take before starting with the application process. These are Language Proficiency Tests (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc) and Standardized Tests (SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE, etc). Different countries have different preferences for one test over another. For instance:-

  • IELTS and PTE (Pearson Tests of English) exams are the most preferred language exams in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is widely accepted by the USA and Canadian universities.
  • Cambridge English Proficiency Tests (CAE & CPE) are given a huge preference by British universities.
  • SAT and/or ACT scores are widely accepted by countries for undergraduate programs.
  • GMAT/ GRE scores are globally accepted by the universities for graduate programs.


Every university has its own application process and its guidelines. For instance, many US universities accept applications via Common Application Portal whereas universities based in the United Kingdom invites applications via UCASAdmission to Canadian Universities is invited through some provincial application portals like ApplyAlberta or OUAC. Usually, there is also a non-refundable application fee to be paid.

Necessary Documents

To be considered for admission at a university, international students must submit all the necessary documents along with a completed online/ offline application. These documents play an important role in the evaluation process and the admission decision. Here’s a list of the general documents required to complete an admission application:-

  • Official Transcripts of all the colleges and universities previously attended.
  • Copies of the transcripts translated in the native language
  • Standardized Test Scores (SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc)
  • Proof of Language Proficiency
  • Letters of Recommendation/ References
  • Letters of Motivation/ Personal Statement
  • Resume/ Curriculum Vitae (Updated Version)
  • Samples of Written Work
  • Interview

Student Visa for Study Abroad

International students who are enrolled in qualified educational institutions in foreign countries must obtain a student visa. A student visa is an official travel document issued by the government of a particular country. Students must have a thorough knowledge of all the aspects related to the visa application process and its requirements. Some of them are discussed below:-

When should one apply for a student visa?

The most important factor in studying abroad is to plan efficiently. International students are always advised to begin with their preparation according to the university’s deadlines. Generally, they need to wait for the confirmation letter sent from the university before they apply for a student visa. For smooth application processing without any hassle, students should apply at least 3-4 months in advance.

What type of visa is required?

Different countries have different visa requirements. For instance, students choosing to study in the U.S universities will need to obtain an F-1 Student Visa, whereas, for universities based in the United Kingdom, students must apply for TIer-4 Visa. Given below are the details of how can you get a student visa to study abroad for various countries. 

Countries Visas Visa Application Fees Cost in INR (approx.)
United States F-1, J-1 Sevis Fee: F-1: $350 J-1: $180 25,400
United Kingdom Tier-4 £348 33,900
Canada Candian Study Permit CAD 160 8,900
Germany Residence Permit €110 9,500
Australia Student Visa AUD 575 30,900

Note: The INR cost approximations are given as per the exchange rate on Sept 1, 2020. 

How to Apply for Student Visa?

Generally, the process of applying for a student visa begins with the university offering a letter of acceptance to the admitted international students. Every country is governed by its own immigration laws and regulations. Therefore, the visa process and its requirements may vary.

However, the general visa process applicable to all study abroad aspirants is given below:-

  • Choose the Visa Type: As mentioned above, international students studying in different countries will require different types of visas. Hence, it is important to have sufficient knowledge about the type of visa which is suitable for a particular student.
  • Apply: International students can apply for their visa via two methods, Online and Offline. Online Visa Application Process is considered far more convenient and requires applicants to create a student profile and attach all the necessary forms. Applicants opting for Offline Visa Application Process need to download the application form, fill all the necessary details and submit it to the official authorities.
  • Visa Application Fee: The next crucial step is to pay the required visa application fee. Students must note that this fee is non-refundable if they decide to cancel the interview appointment or their application gets rejected.
  • Schedule the Visa Interview: International students are advised to schedule an interview appointment with the concerned consulate/ embassy as soon as possible. This is a cautionary step as there is a high chance that the authorities might have a high workload and the waiting time might range from days to weeks.
  • Attend the Interview: The last and the final step is to appear for the interview. Students must show up on time along with all the supporting documents. The official interviewer will ask questions about students’ backgrounds, goals and achievements and students must answer the same in a well-behaved manner.

After attending the visa interview, all that is left is to wait for the application to be processed. After some time, students will be notified about the decision if their applications have been approved or rejected. It is highly recommended to make travel arrangements only after receiving the final confirmation from the visa authorities to avoid the loss of money.

What are the documents required to obtain a student visa?

Every country has its own specific list of documents international students must submit. However, there are a few documents that are generic and applicable to almost all the countries’ requirements.

  • Valid Passport: This is the primary requirement of the visa process. International students must secure their passport with a minimum validity of six months after the end of the studies abroad. Also, students must ensure that they have at least two blank pages in their passports for stamping for a visa.
  • Proof of Funding: Almost all countries require evidence to ensure that their prospective students are financially capable of funding their education in a particular university. The amount includes tuition fees, college expenses, living costs, room & board, electricity, transport, etc. Financial lucidity can be proved by submitting the necessary documents such as Bank Account Statements, Loan Approval/ Disbursement Letter, Scholarships Letters, Affidavit of Support, Loan Capability Certificate etc.
  • Proof of Language Proficiency: Another important criterion of the visa process is to ensure that international students are well capable of communicating in the native language. For English speaking countries, students must be well-versed in the English language and submit the test scores of TOEFL, IELTS or PTE. Students opting for German universities must prove their proficiency in German language by providing TestDaF, DSH, telc, or Goethe Certificate.
  • Proof of Acceptance: While applying for a student visa, international students may be asked to submit a letter of acceptance from the university they have secured admission to.
  • Medical Examination Report: Many countries such as Canada and Australia require international students to undergo a thorough medical examination and submit the reports along with other documents.

How much does it cost to Study Abroad?

Every parent dreams of providing their children with the best-quality education and resources in the world. As a result, many of them start planning and saving for it since the day their children are born. Unfortunately, higher education is a costly affair, especially in a foreign country.

Therefore, it is one of the most important factors to keep in mind while deciding to study abroad. Apart from tuition fees, the cost of living also plays an important role. Since these costs vary from country to country, we have provided a tabular representation of the tuition fees as well as the average cost of living of the most-coveted countries.

Countries Tuition fees (UG) Tuition fees (PG) Living Costs
USA $26,290 $16,757 $11,140- $12,680
United Kingdom £10,000- £38,000 £11,000- £32,000  £12,180- £15,180
Canada CA$27,159 CA$16,497  CA$15,000 
Australia AU$30,840 AU$20,000- AU$37,000 AU$20,290
Germany Nil €20,000- €30,000 €10,200

Study Abroad with Scholarships

The enormous costs of living aboard and ever-increasing fees for international students are good enough reasons to scare anyone. Especially when there is always a common misconception among students that there are no scholarships available for international students.

However, students are duly informed that governments and universities all around the world offer an unlimited number of financial opportunities in the form of grants and scholarships. These are designed to attract the brightest minds in their country.

Few of the astounding study abroad scholarships for Indian students are given below:-

Countries Scholarships Award Cover/Amount
United States

Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships

Cover tuition fees and basic living expenses

Tata Scholarship-Cornell University

Covers tuition and fees

Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships for Indian Students


Chicago Booth School of Business

Three different scholarships for Indian students covering variable amounts starting from $25,000
United Kingdom British Council GREAT scholarships for Indian Students $12,500
Sir Ratan Tata Post-Doctoral Fellowship for South Asian students $2,377
University of Oxford Felix Scholarships for Indian Students $37,000-42,000
UWE International Scholarships Multiple scholarships covering up to 100% tuition fees.
Canada Queen’s University International Scholarships Multiple scholarships offering awards of $1,500-20,000
Quest University Canada Up to $10,000
University of Calgary International Scholarships Up to $8,000
York University International Student Program Up to 12,000
Australia Australia Awards Scholarships (AAS)  Variable amounts covering 
Destination Australia Awards Up to 15,000
Research Training Program (RTP) Aid grants up to 75% of total RTP stipend
Germany DAAD Scholarships $824-1,319
Erasmus+ $5,900-17,900

The world of international education is rapidly expanding with millions of students coming together and creating an atmosphere of learning with a global perspective. International students are exposed to different cultures, ethnic groups, religions & languages, and enriching societies which broadens the academic experience for everyone.

Comparing Immigration Policies of Popular Study Abroad Destinations

Factors USA Canada UK Australia New Zealand Germany
Cost Highest High High Moderate Moderate Low
Path to immigration No Yes
Extra points for applicants with Canadian credentials
No Yes
Extra points for applicants with Australian credentials
Extra points for applicants with New Zealand credentials
Work-Study Permit Work up to 20 hr/week Work permit not required during study for 20 hr/week employment 20 hr/week, if you are enrolled in degree programs 20hr/week during semesters, unlimited hours during vacations 20 hr/week during study work for 90/year on student visa
Post-study Work Visa H1B post study visa is currently on hold. 
It usually permits STEM students to stay in US for 12 months after studies
Allow students to stay back for 3 years Post Study work visa for all students (expect PhD) will be offered for 2 years from 2021 2-year post study work visa after completion of at least 2 years of higher education in Australia 1-year post study work visa 18-months post study visa extension
National Marketing Strategy No Yes, International Education Strategy Yes, International Education, Global Growth & Prosperity  Yes, National Strategy for Education Strategy Yes, Draft International Education Strategy for NZ 2025 Yes, Strategy DAAD

Points to Ponder

Am I Eligible to Study Abroad?

  • Entry requirements vary greatly between universities and countries.
  • Generally, international students need to submit Passport-photos for identification, Statement of Purpose, CV/ Resume, LORs, Official transcripts, Standardized Tests (SAT, GRE, ACT, GMAT) and Language Proficiency Tests (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE)
  • SAT/ACT scores are mainly accepted to get admission into undergraduate programs.
  • International students need to submit GRE/GMAT test scores to get admission into postgraduate degree programs.

How much does it cost to study abroad?

  • In the USA, the average tuition fees at public and private universities are $25,620 and $34,740 respectively. The estimated amount of living costs is $10,800.
  • The average cost of attendance for international students studying in the UK is £22,180 per year. (More if you study in London).
  • For some countries like Germany, there are no tuition fees at all.
  • To study in Australia, the estimated amount of the average tuition fee ranges from AU$30,840 to AU$31,596. The amount can vary depending upon the programs students choose to study.

Visa-Related Questions

  • For a US Student Visa, international students must provide proof of liquid assets to cover the cost of first-year study and living expenses and proof of readily available funds to cover the remaining years of study
  • International students applying for a Tier-4 Student Visa must have enough funds to cover the course fee for the first year of study, along with £5,400 (£7,200 inner London) to cover living costs for nine months.
  • Generally, students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week on a student visa. However, it may vary from country to country, the type of visa students applying for and the particular university's regulations.

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