I live in a university town, and as the summer wanes and the cooler climes set in, the students are back, both old and new, like pigeons coming home to roost. There are many desi faces among the crowd, signifying both our country’s new and emerging economic strength and our old traditional respect for education. But with the rupee struggling against the dollar, and the new RBI rules restricting the dollar amount that Indians can send abroad per year, many students and their parents are exploring other countries to gain a world-class education.
Have you thought of Europe? Many Indian students are, according to a recent study from the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore. The study states that there has been a steady annual rise of 7% in Indians traveling overseas for a degree. The main fields of study are engineering, mathematics and computer science – subjects that are most ‘international’ (more on this later). While Oxbridge still remains the highest academic aspiration among Indian youth, “Indian students are now also exploring other countries such as Sweden, Italy and Ireland, where education is considerably cheaper and part-time jobs are easier to secure,” said the researchers.
There are many advantages to studying in Europe.The higher education systems of many continental European countries are heavily subsidized by their national governments. The tuition fees of the top universities of continental Europe are on average 75% less compared to the top universities in the USA. In Germany, for example, only four out of the 16 federal states charge tuition fees of upto 500 Euros per semester, while the others only request a certain amount of money as a semester contribution (about 50 euros) but charge no tuition fees. In addition, universities in Europe are highly ranked. There are three German universities, three Dutch universities and four Swiss universities in the list of the top universities in the world.
What about the language problem? European universities offer quite a few courses taught in English, and let international students answer their exams in English (the number of such courses vary according to university and demand, so do check with the university). In addition, some countries like Germany and Switzerland require that students take a year’s course in German to better understand technical terms etc, after which they are well able to complete their studies in these languages. Indian students who have taken courses in Max Mueller and Alliance Francaise, or who have studied these languages in school, have an easier time. Also, as mentioned earlier, subjects like engineering, mathematics and computer science are more ‘universal,’ and students face lower language barriers in these subjects as compared to humanities like history, law etc. Lastly, many Europeans familiar with English; hence Indian students report few language barriers in supermarkets, banks, etc.
I hope I have piqued your interest in European universities. For more details, do check out the article ‘Education across the Seas’ in our latest issue (Issue 14) of ParentEdge.