Category Study Abroad

What should students take heed when Abroad?

Money: Plan well. Save by using coupons, discounts, etc. Take advantage of ‘Sales’. Resist the urge to shop for unwanted items. Keep supplementing your income by hourly jobs.

Cultural shock: In some countries, students tend to be more boisterous than people from Indian culture. To remain unfazed, use the Reasonable Person Principle and do what a reasonable person would do in the same situation.

Study pressures: Take the right course, and manage your time well.

Food: The west was once non-vegetarians’  delight, and vegetarians’ hell. But today, there is a variety of juices, cheeses and fruits to be had. Learn to cook.

Friends: Choose your friends carefully. Some so-called friends could distract you from your goal.

Homesickness: You will miss your family, but if you use your e-mail effectively and pursue your hobby, it will surely cheer you up.

Insurance: Medical insurance can prove vital in countries where medical facilities cost a fortune. Take care of your health.


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Dilemma : Will my child be safe out there? When will send him abroad to higher studies?

“ We want to protect her for a long as we can,” says Dolly Malvai. “ But we realised that she would never be able to walk alone in life if we continued to shield her. We have to trust her and let her go.” Almost all Indian parents feel that their children severely lack the latest information, are ignorant of modern trends, and are immature and too inexperienced to take a rational career decision. They worry whether, once out of their reach, they will be able to guard themselves against everything that is “evil”. But Mrs Malvai felt that this was an occasion where she could show her daughter how much she trusted her, thus giving a tremendous boost to Rhea’s self-confidence.

 For Mrs Goel, the fear of racial discrimination was a very real deterrent. However, she felt that they had many relatives in the UK who could extend help if their child faced problems.

 A noted Delhi psychologist, Dr Shukla Shree Gupta says, “ Social and cultural differences can be the cause of depression, but this is a passing phase in every student’s life. A student from a small town can feel intimidated by the atmosphere of a metropolitan city, even in India. Parents can help by trusting their children to take the right decision at the right time.”


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Dilemma : Will my ward ever come back if I send him/her out of country for higher studies?

Once the child gets into the swing of leading an independent life, it becomes more and more difficult for him/her to consider returning to India. Lack of infrastructure and unstable political conditions in the country, which were once a part of their lives, become insurmountable problems for their future. Parents are well aware of these apprehensions in their children’s minds. Furthermore, the prospect of physical distancereinforces the fear they develop of not seeing the child for a long, long time.

 Take the case of Anirban, a commerce student of City College, Kolkata, His higher secondary results were abysmal by any standards and he faced a bleak future in his home state. He felt that even if he were to get a degree from an unknown college in the US, it would still promise a better life, if he worked hard enough. His parents were traumatised on the other hand  and even tried emotional blackmail by declaring, “Your father will suffer a heart attack if you go away.”

 Says Dr Achal Bhagat, MD, senior consultant psychiatrist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, “Parents are basically insecure about their own future when they try to impose such restrictions on their wards. They feel that their children’s support during their old age will crumble if they let go of them. But more and more middle class families in India are getting used to the concept of their children going abroad to further their dreams. The day of saat samundar paar are over and improved communication systems help remove the mental block against children travelling abroad.”


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Dilemma : Can we afford to send our child abroad for higher studies?

The first consideration is always that of being able to support the child in a foreign country for four years, or till such time that the child is able to secure some form of scholarship from the university where he or she is studying. Even if the family is from the upper middle-class, the cost of higher education abroad is forbidding. The parents have to educate themselves on the financial options available. Once they are able to work out the precise economics, they either become more open to the idea or it is a clear negative response. Then, of course, there are those who get scholarships from various universities and this considerably reduces parents’worries.


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The Big Dilemma

 When Anirban announced one fine day that he wanted to go abroad for higher studies, there was furore at the Dasgupta residence. His parents were dismayed and shocked and the immediate response was to disallow him to exercise this option. What followed were many days of coaxing by Anirban and many sleepless nights for his parents. Finally, Anirban flew off from Calcutta International Airport on a sultry August evening last year. His destination? The US of A. He has joined Austin College, Texas, for a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

 The Malvais from Gurgaon, on the other hand, found it easier to accept their daughter Rhea’s decision to go to the UK for a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. Although Rhea is still studying in class XI in Sriram School, her parents feel that she is a mature child and should be supported in her initiative to get admission at the Birmingham University. Their only concern is the financial fallout of this decision.

 Again, Sushma Goel from New Delhi found it difficult to accept her daughter Pankhuri leaving for Australia to get a bachelor’s degree in jewellery design and manufacture. She worried about her well-being, but was ultimately resigned to accept the inevitable.

 Commenting on his daughter Ayesha’s decision, Ajay Gopal says, “It wasn’t her or my decision. It was our joint decision while planning her career. We realised that in Bangalore or in India in general, entry into good colleges is virtually impossible. But once we decided to let her go abroad for further studies, we were in a dilemma. As a parent, my worry was that she would settle down there and get used to that lifestyle. But then, it’s her life. She wants to join a liberal arts college and major in economics, then work for two years after which she would do her MBA. Her admission is to be finalised in May and then she would leave by the end of August.”

 Reasons to go

In the present environment of rapid growth of technology and the ever increasing need for specialisation, a degree in higher education abroad has gained considerable significance. Students are finding it very difficult to obtain high quality education in India because of increasing competition and a limited number of good colleges. A stimulating educational environment and endless job opportunities, high standards of living exposure to a new world, a new culture, and the promise of good monetary returns have made higher education abroad an attractive proposition.

 But these are not the only reasons that lure a teenager towards the west. Impressionable minds are also influenced by social and peer pressure. Career choices are usually guided by friends’  choices or what is in vogue at that point of time. Very few actually think through the proposition in its totality.


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How can I ascertain the relative merit of a foreign university?

For every Harvard, there will be 10 universities with doubtful credentials. Students desperate for a foreign tag bare easy preys for them. Before investing your family fortune in a foreign education, ascertain the merit of that university in terms of faculty, facilities and its standing. Although ascertaining this is difficult, this is one exercise that you will have to undertake.

Contact the representative organisations like USEFI (for USA), IDP Australia or DAAD (for Germany) to inquire about the institution that you want to join. In fact, most of the reputed universities and institutes of higher learning are represented by representative organisations.

Course in Dairy Technology from New Zealand?


I want a science student from Ujjain. I want to specialise in dairy technology from New Zealand because I have heard that their courses are reputed. I have plans of setting up a unit close to Ujjain. Can you please give me the details about the course?

It’s good to know about your entrepreneurial zeal. New Zealand is a country where the population of cattle far exceeds the population of human beings. No wonder, dairy technology is a thriving business there. As a natural corollary, the dairy technology courses in this country are also amongst the most reputed and well-developed. Here is a list of universities:

  • Lincoln University,


     Offers a four-year degree programme.

  • Massey University 

      Palmerston North,

      International Students’Office

      Email: B.C.

      Offers a one-year graduate diploma;

      and one-year PG diploma

  • Waikato Polytechnic, Hamilton


      Offers a short-term course.


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Is the course curriculum and teaching pattern in foreign universities too tough to follow?

Indian students accustomed to mugging up textbooks and reproducing them in exams will have to gear up for new way of learning. Foreign universities expect students to be analytical in their approach. Instead of just applying formulas and information, they are expected to produce reasoning and theories of their own. Critical thinking and questioning is appreciated, unlike in India, where exact reproduction of classroom lectures fetches you marks.


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Why can’t I work more than 20 hours per week while studying abroad?

Representatives of foreign universities have one lament about Indian students: the moment they get out of the flight they announce, ‘I want a job.’ But the purpose of your going abroad is to study, not to earn. Keep it in mind that you cannot cover the cost of your studies by taking up work. That will only partially cover your extra expenses


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How can I get a visa if i wish to take admission in foreign universities ?

Even when students have got admission notice from a foreign university, their chances can be marred on account of denial of visa. This is perhaps the toughest stage to clear. The authorities are very strict in issuing visas and try to judge your attention of going abroad, do you have enough finances and are you proficient enough in English to understand the language as it is spoken in that country. Of these three criteria, the toughest part will be trying to convince the authorities that you intend to come back upon the completion of the course.


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