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Why Indian Students Are Choosing to Study Abroad

Why Indian Students Are Choosing to Study Abroad main image

By Josephine West

Indian students are choosing to apply for universities abroad due to concerns about the level of academic freedom in their own country, according to a new QS report.

The report, which is available to download here, shows numerous prospective Indian students feel that studying internationally will allow them to benefit from greater academic freedom in their subject area than they can access at home.

Ram Mohan, in Hyderabad, said: “There’s not as much academic freedom [in India] as there is outside, although there are similar topics, there’s not much freedom as to the choice of your research. I think research freedom is the most important aspect of a university.”

This view is shared by Pritha, in Chennai, who is looking to study a robotics master’s in the US. She said: “The marking system in India has some limitations and it doesn’t allow students to think outside the box. I’m interested in a particular area of robotics, but if I study here, I will be pushed to do something else. In the US we don’t have such limitations.”

For Indian students, academic freedom means access to modern teaching methods and equipment and the ability to pursue their own research interests and switch disciplines as they mature. For some Indian applicants, academic freedom means being at the vanguard of their research fields.

Gaurav in Mumbai said: “I would like to pursue research at the frontier of my field. India is actually ahead in lot of areas but not exactly in my field. So, I would like to see the best in the world before I come back to serve my own country.”

Indian applicants also suggest that international study can provide a route away from studying in an oppressive or challenging environment. Even just discovering a like-minded supervisor can provide the stimulating learning environment an international student seeks. Prospective master’s student Bijoy, in Delhi, considers teaching the most important factor when choosing a course. He said he values “who the professors are, what kind of experience they have and how they’re going to help me in the long run.”

Find out more about the motives of Indian applicants and what we can learn about STEM applicants in particular by downloading the full report.

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