Study Abroad 2024
3rd Oct 2023
Manisha Sharma

Emerging Trends in International Education 2024: India's Surge in Study Abroad Aspirations

Discover how tier-two and tier-three cities in India are driving the global education trend. Dive into the rise of hybrid learning, changing social media preferences in shaping the future of international education.

Tier-two and tier-three towns in India are reshaping international education emerging trends and opportunities amid a virtual revolution. These cities, driven by upgraded infrastructure and digital access, are witnessing a surge in aspirations for study abroad programs. In 2022, over seven lakh Indian college students pursued overseas education, a 68% growth from 2021, positioning India as the second biggest source of global students enrolled in study abroad programs.

Prodigy Finance reports a vast increase in student loan applications from those cities, with rates of 53% and 109% in tier-two and tier-three cities in 2022. Notably, 80% of respondents in a survey exploring study abroad possibilities hailed from these towns.

The Rise of the Study Abroad Aspirations

India's burgeoning middle class has transformed these slower cities into booming education hubs. The middle-class populace surged from 78 million in 2000 to 604 million in 2020 due to rising incomes and progressing job prospects. Accessible satisfactory schooling equips individuals with specialised competencies, fuelling their international schooling aspirations.

Hybrid studying, a blend of online and on-campus learning, makes foreign degrees affordable and is reshaping higher education. Non-traditional destinations like Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, along with the US, UK, and Canada, appeal to Indian college students for study abroad aspirations.

India's Rise as a GCC Hub and Resurgence in Study Abroad Education

India's emergence as a commercial hotspot in the pandemic has made it an attractive spot for organising Global Capability Centres (GCCs), centres of excellence that function globally and serve parent organisations. According to NASSCOM, India is ready to feature over 500 new GCCs to its current 1,500 by 2026, producing more than $35 billion in annual revenue with over 1.3 million personnel.

While the bulk of GCCs have been traditionally positioned in metro cities, the influx of new centres is predicted to favour tier-two cities. This boom in GCCs requires an incredibly skilled group of workers, and Indian college students with study abroad aspirations play a pivotal position in this regard. Many students return to India, bringing vast talents and expertise that contribute to the country's economy and worldwide stature.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted worldwide schooling, causing uncertainty for students who were making plans to study abroad in 2020-2021. However, Indian college students are actually displaying renewed interest in overseas universities, and establishments worldwide have tailored to streamline the admission process.

In 2023, a resurgence can be seen in study abroad applications, with over 13 lakh Indian students projected to study abroad by the end of this year, with a sizable number pursuing overseas education in the United States.

Study abroad programs have long been a transformative experience for Indian college students, presenting a personal and educational enhancement. While full-time enrolment at overseas universities is one direction to gain exposure, India also offers numerous student exchange packages, permitting college students to live and study abroad for various durations that contribute to their typical personality development.

The post-COVID-19 time has ushered in huge adjustments in better schooling, with a continued focus on digitalisation. Universities and colleges have adapted their approaches, redesigning educational courses to align with students' choices and preferences, marking a transformative shift within the educational panorama.

Several emerging trends and opportunities are shaping overseas education and study abroad landscape in 2023-2024:

1. The Permanence of Hybrid Learning: Research suggests that students continue to favour blended studying, which combines online and on-campus elements, for a degree course abroad. This approach not only proves cost-effective but additionally aligns with the evolving landscape of higher schooling.

2. Growing Interest in Non-Traditional Study Destinations: While America, the UK and Canada remain popular choices by Indian students, other international locations like Germany, France, Poland, Belarus, Japan and South Korea are gaining traction too. These destinations offer numerous possibilities for Indian students seeking international education.

3. Demand for Tech and STEM Courses: Despite concerns about job stability, there may be a growing demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education courses. Students recognise the capability of those fields, thereby readying themselves for future job marketplace restoration. The flexibility of curriculum aligned with international standards and the improvement of recent overseas education courses have additionally boosted interest in STEM and technical programs.

4. Undergraduates Pursuing International Education: Rising income levels, increased awareness, easy access to financial resources, and the convenience of staying closer to home have led a great range of undergraduate aspirants to consider international universities. Multicultural exposure and professional opportunities in early stages — appeal to undergraduate candidates to study abroad.

The global landscape may evolve, but the range with which Indian students are choosing to study abroad is developing fast, making this cohort one of the world's largest international student communities. According to a record by consulting company Redseer, the number of Indian college students pursuing overseas education overseas improved from 440,000 in 2016 to 770,000 in 2019 and is anticipated to reach about 1.8 million by 2024. Given the post-pandemic rush, it's highly probable that the figures will keep increasing.

Trends Inside the Overseas Education Market

  1. While the United Kingdom has traditionally been a famous destination for international college students, its popularity has waned lately.

  2. In assessment, the USA has maintained constant enrolment at around 14% of all students. However, Canada has seen sizable profits, with a 10% increase in student interest in study abroad programs compared to the preceding year and a 14% growth from 2019.

  3. South Korea has experienced a dramatic surge in global interest in study abroad education programs because of the South Korean government's Study in Korea initiative. More than double the percentage of potential worldwide college students now express an interest in studying in South Korea as compared to the last 12 months, and this trend has quadrupled in Asia. South Korea's recognition has soared within the United States, rising twofold since 2019 and around fourfold in Asia.

  4. In comparison, Australia has faced demanding situations because of border closures during the pandemic, resulting in a 35% drop in Asian students since 2019. Japan has also witnessed a huge boom in Asian students, with a 71% increase from 2019.

Addressing Safety Concerns and Anxiety

In the midst of heightened safety worries all during and post the pandemic, it's critical to create safe spaces and strong guide structures for international college students. A survey revealed that 85% of prospective students are concerned about their safety while choosing to study abroad, with 15% indicating no safety concerns. Safety worries are specifically established in Asia and Africa.

Mental health concerns have become a paramount challenge, specifically in the context of protection apprehensions and anxieties about future job possibilities. International students are increasingly prioritising their mental health and well-being reflecting the worldwide adjustment to new realities.

Changing Social Media Preferences

Social media preferences for researching study abroad alternatives have evolved. While YouTube used to be the preferred platform, Instagram has now claimed the pinnacle spot as the most helpful social media platform for amassing information about overseas education universities. Facebook stays popular among college students in North America and TikTok is gaining traction among a small but growing range of students in North America and Oceania.

Additionally, there's a growing interest amongst college students in exploring establishments themselves. The share of students thinking about college as their topmost priority has multiplied drastically in African, European and Asian countries, with Oceania being the exception. In contrast, the significance of the host country as a first choice has faded in several regions.

The Role of Blended Learning and Flexibility-blended Learning

A mixture of online and in-person classes has won favour among college students. Approximately 43% of college students pick this technique, which provides stability among online and offline learning reviews. Flexibility in course delivery, both on-campus and online, has come to be more and more crucial for students.

The Influence of Peer Recommendations and Student Stories

Peer guidelines and scholarly tales play a giant role in influencing students' decisions. Nearly 63% of prospective students need to engage with international students prior to applying to a university for a study abroad course, highlighting the significance of student ambassadors. These ambassadors can offer authentic insights into the worldwide student experience.

Planning Ahead in an Uncertain World

Students, these days, are planning their study abroad journeys in advance. In Southeast Asia, there has been an 80% growth in college students making plans to study abroad four or more years in advance as compared to 2020. Similarly, there has been a considerable increase in college students from Latin America, the Middle East, Caucasia and Central Asia making plans 12 months in advance.

The prolonged planning durations reflect the uncertainty surrounding student mobility, with college students aiming to be steady in their future in advance.

Emerging Concerns in a Post-Pandemic Landscape

International schooling keeps thriving despite worldwide uncertainties. With access to correct information and sturdy assistance systems, students can pursue their desires of having study abroad degrees. The evolving developments in overseas education underscore the resilience and flexibility of both college students and institutions in a fast-evolving education scenario.

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