In the past few years, the number of Indian students going abroad has gone up significantly. This growing trend is attributed to several factors — rising aspirations among the youth, especially millennials, increase in parental incomes, easy overseas education loans, broader global outlook, a desire to experience different cultures and, above all, to start a new and exciting life.
According to the recent QS World University Rankings, India is second only to China in terms of international student enrollment. As per data from ministry of external affairs, 7.5 lac students go overseas every year. Reserve Bank of India statistics reveal that spending on tuition and hostel fees by Indians studying overseas has gone up by 44 per cent. The top overseas destinations for Indian students are USA, Canada and Australia, with non-traditional choices such as UAE and China also catching up.
While the above statistics indicate a robust increase in the number of students travelling abroad, it’s not all smooth sailing. They face many challenges including arranging funds for their foreign education and the prospect of living alone in an ‘alien’ country. Students going abroad for the first time are especially apprehensive as to what awaits them on the other side.
To make the international transition easier for these first-timers, here are five tips that will help them negotiate the initial hurdles and enjoy their stay in a new country.
Talk to someone
If you are not sure what to expect on your first trip, talk to someone, ideally a student, who has the experience of studying and living abroad. Get in touch with family and friends who may have made the journey or seek the help of the university you are going to. Most foreign varsities have dedicated counsellors who will help you overcome the jitters.
The first thing you can do is to make friends among both local and foreign students. While native students will introduce you to their culture and help you acclimatise in a new environment, foreign students will ease your apprehensions as you are in the same boat as they are. There are a host of online and offline networking platforms to help with it.
Carry a travel card
It is often difficult to handle finances and expenses in a new country. This is where a prepaid travel card comes in handy. The cards are most convenient and secure option to load money online and use it for all payments during your stay both in the overseas location and your vacations in India.
Get an ID
While your passport will get you to your international destination and serve as your primary ID, you would do well to also carry an International Student Identity Card with you. Thus is because not all countries will recognise your university card as your official ID. Besides, the IDs will help you avail of discounts and other offers.
Some insurance companies offer insurance cover for extended travel. Before you buy the cover, however, check out what your cover entails; for instance, the number of destinations covered. You can buy travel insurance as soon as you finalise your trip so as to cover cancellation or pre-trip sickness. Ask for gadget insurance as you will stay connected with your family back home.
Start your first solo overseas trip as a student with these basics and, rest assured, your transition will be a smooth one.
Vineet Sethi, CMO,
Finnew Solutions – NiYO