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Top study abroad countries for Indian students | Emerging destinations

Boom or recession, with scholarship or with a loan, USA continues to be the El Dorado for Indian students dreaming of studying abroad and starting an international career. But it can’t afford to be too complacent: Australia and other countries are gradually catching up.

In 2014 and 2015, Australia aggressively campaigned to attract Indian students who had been turned away by the UK’s stricter immigration laws and turned off by attacks on Indians. The numbers say that it has succeeded: by early 2015, 48,000 Indian students were attending universities Down Under. As of 2017, it is estimated that Australia houses nearly 70,000 Indian students (Read Is studying abroad worth it? Pros and Cons).

Earlier, when Australia was struggling to remain a favored destination for Indian students (2009-13), Canada was not exactly hibernating. Most of the Indian students who dropped Australia may have been won over by Canada. As of 2017, there are nearly 100,000 Indian students in the “Land of the Maple Leaf.”

Apart from these top destinations, other countries are also trying to charm Indian students. Among them are Germany, Singapore, Russia, and New Zealand, mainly, but France, Italy, and the Netherlands, too. Here’s a quick glance. Also read How to get into the top universities in the world for an undergraduate degree and What are the top Universities in the world – Trivia and more 

Best study abroad places for Indian students



Germany is a “Land of Ideas” that encourages research, but it’s facing a shortage of skilled personnel. It has therefore fine-tuned its immigration policy to increase the availability of expert professionals. “Deutschland” welcomes talented students to join its universities, most of them government-funded.

German institutions now host more than 14,000 student from India, according to the German Missions in India website. Apart from its 1,000 international degree programs in the English medium, international students are drawn by its tuition-fee-waiver schemes, scholarships, and job opportunities.

Top courses: Engineering and Technology; Energy; Biological and Life Sciences; Natural Sciences; Business, Economics, and Administration; Art; Humanities and Social Sciences; Sport; and Law.

Tuition fee: As most German universities are government-funded, the tuition fee for many postgraduate (PG) courses is low in public universities. Moreover, scholarships are available.

Cost of living: Berlin, which has three of the top German universities, is a student-budget-friendly city with lower rentals and lower cost of living than US or UK cities. Munich, where two top universities are located, is not only a student center but also a fun city that hosts Oktoberfest.

Job opportunities: Once students complete their PG, they can apply for a visa that allows them to stay on for 18 months and search for a job. Knowledge of German is not a prerequisite for applying for visa, though it is necessary for better job opportunities (and quality social life). Practical classes make students eminently employable by industries. However, as elsewhere, a degree doesn’t guarantee you a job; it only equips you for it.

Advantages: Student jobs are quite easily available. Knowledge of English comes in handy for learning German.

Disadvantages: The winters are cold, dark, and rainy. You need to know German to get a regular job and build a career.


In some ways, going east rather than west is a better idea for Indian students. Singapore has emerged as a top education destination, offering lower tuition fees compared with the West, good job opportunities, and excellent quality of life. Over 3,000 Indian students leave for Singapore every year.

Top courses: Business, Economics, and Administration; Engineering and Technology; and Humanities and Social Sciences.

Tuition fee: Tuition fees for many courses are much lower than they are in US and UK universities. Many reputed universities from the West have opened campuses from where Indian students can earn their degrees at subsidized fees.

Cost of living: If you live on campus, you won’t have to worry too much about the rent. Indian food is cheap and available. Transport is cheap and convenient.

Job opportunities: The city-state accommodates nearly 8,000 MNCs, although at 720 it’s only half the size of Delhi. As an international degree student, you can work part-time for 16 hours a week. After your studies, you start an internship with a company and get trained, and you may be absorbed. If you aren’t, you can remain in Singapore for a year to find a job.

Advantages: Singapore is safe and secure. It is also much nearer home than other destinations. There is also a sizeable Indian community. The tropical climate also helps.

Disadvantages: Singapore is a concrete jungle, though a beautiful one at that. It is difficult to socialize as people have little time to spare after work.


About 5,000 Indian students now study in Russia; most are pursuing their medical degrees. Courses in business management, IT, aircraft engineering, and oil and gas exploration also beckon Indian students. “Good value for money spent” is a mantra for Indians, and that is what Russian courses offer.

Top courses: Biological and Life Sciences; Natural Sciences; Engineering and Technology; Business, Economics, and Administration; Humanities and Social Sciences; Arts; Energy; Law; and Sport.

Tuition fee: The Russian government subsidizes the tuition fee of foreign students in state universities by up to 80 percent. The fees at private institutions are between $2,500 and $8,500 per year. Medical colleges collect fees between $20,000 and $35,000.

Cost of living: Moscow has high rentals, but students beat this problem by staying on campus. Public transport is cheap and reliable. Indian messes are an option.

Job opportunities: After amendments to the law, international students can now work legally in Russia. Foreign students can find legal employment on the strength of their student visas, but it is important to know Russian. The wages are low.

Advantages: Russians are warm toward Indians. But the extremely cold winters are barely manageable. Women are treated with respect and they feel safe. Generally, safety and security have improved over the years.

Disadvantages: You can’t get by knowing only English, and you need to pick up Russian. This is not the best place for vegetarians. Beware of smooth operators offering admissions to “English-medium courses” and inexpensive accommodation.

New Zealand

Like Australia, New Zealand has revved up its drive to attract more international students, particularly Indians. The result is that the number of Indian students touched 20,000 in 2014 and in subsequent years. The numbers drastically reduced in 2017 to only about 9,500 Indian student visa applicants, due to a fraudulent visa controversy that devastatingly affected a number of students earlier that year. Hoping that this was a temporary setback, a revival of the previous statistics are particularly impressive, considering that the numbers are competitive to UK’s stats.

Top courses: Engineering and Technology; Tourism; Hospitality; Business Management; Aviation; Life Sciences; Health Studies; Humanities; and Arts.

Tuition fee: Tuition fees can vary widely between universities. Generally, PG studies can cost between $7,000 and $21,000 depending on the course. However, scholarships are available.

Cost of living: A student should be ready to spend $4,500 to $8,000 annually depending on the location and the individual’s lifestyle. The cheapest accommodation comes at about $320 per month.

Job opportunities: Students can work for a maximum of 20 hours a week during semesters and full time during holidays. A student visa can be extended by a year for a job search after studies. However, some job-seekers have found that local candidates are preferred for well-paying jobs.

Advantages: New Zealand is a tourists’ paradise that provides various opportunities for outdoor activities. English is spoken in most parts of the country.

Disadvantages: Extremely cold winters, the 17-hour flight to/from India, and expensive essentials.

Why study in New Zealand

Other popular destinations

Italy, France, and the Netherlands are also among nations gaining popularity among Indian students.

As many as 5,000 Indian students are enrolled at universities in France. About 700 courses are now taught in English, and 300 scholarships are available to the best students from India. The India-France Job Opportunities Board assists Indians with degrees from France in matching their qualifications with vacancies at French companies operating in India.

Italy, which has a hoary tradition of university education, is also wooing Indian students with scholarships. Although many courses are taught in English, the medium for most programs is Italian.

The Netherlands offers 1,900 courses at 60 institutions. Since the 1990s, many premier colleges have started courses in English. Opportunities for high-end research in computer science and electronics are available. However, the cost of living and the weather are challenges for Indian students.

Read this related post:
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Best MBA abroad countries for Indian students
Best Business Schools in Europe – France, Germany, UK, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy and Denmark
Good college vs Bad college: Differences
How to settle abroad after MBA from India
Resources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

13 thoughts on “Top study abroad countries for Indian students | Emerging destinations”

  1. Hey am doing graduation in bba Itm and I m in second year now . planning to go after completion of graduation

    . I want to do MBA in industrial management or marketing aand fiance or multimedia aand aanimation .I live in india . and want to study abroad . and I have to earn my living along with it. So which country is suitable

    • Hy,Am sujil. Now in Qatar as a sales executive. I would like to study MBA marketing in foreign countries(Marketing management). and I have to earn my living along with it. So which country is suitable?

  2. hy,
    i did my btech in 2012.i did work in bpo but currently i am working in IT project.but i am not satisfied with my career grouth.kindly suggest me what should i do..should i go for mba from abroad and what are the chances for career groth after mba.and which stream i shuold go.

  3. Hi Sameer
    Thank u for sharing useful information.
    Btech 2009
    Worked in pvt company for 1.5 year(4 LPA)
    6 month prepared for gate
    Mtech 2012-14 from NIT
    Now working as a faculty in a pvt University 2014 july onward(5 LPA).
    Not interested in going for PhD.trying to get into mba as future financial scope is please guide whether i go for mba abroad or in india. i want to improve my financial package.

  4. Hi Sameer,
    I have been working with a reputed IT firm (which provides solutions to Telecom companies in India and abroad) from last 9 yrs;currently working as Project Manager(with 5 yrs exp in Project Management and telecom domain expert) ,Prior to that I have 2.5 yrs exp as Assitamt Manager – Commercial in India’s leading Power Discom (in which I got selected through Campus placement – MBA from IIT) and after my BE, I have 4 yrs experience in Sales and Marketing of Industrial Products.I am Mech Engg from Pune University and have an MBA degree.I have around 15 yrs of total exp in different industries.
    I want to do one year MBA for fast track growth either in current industry either to progress into senior role or move into management consulting profile.
    Please suggest where I need to focus my efforts and how will one yr MBA will help me.

  5. @Priya: I’d suggest not rushing into a foreign degree. Finish your graduation and spend time gaining some good work experience first. you’ll value the MBA journey better after that.

    @Jassprit: You can start preparing for the GMAT (or GRE) and see what score you get. If you can get an admit into some good university, it can open up opportunities in various industries and roles.

    @Biswal: For someone with your qualifications and experience, the salary is quite low. I guess that’s what the academic world does to compensation. An MBA won’t automatically raise the financial potential, since corporate recruiters will also look for the (non-teaching) skills you bring to the table.

    @Sudhir That’s a lot of experience, even for one year MBA courses where the average experience is high. You could try for programs like IIMA PGPX in India or IMD in Switzerland. Vertical growth plans will be easier to achieve than a career shift into industries like consulting.

  6. How is Ireland??? If you are intimated to any knowledge, regarding colleges, living cost, part-time jobs, status of Indian students and also the placement, please let me know.

  7. Samir Sir,
    I have just cleared my 12th , i plan to do civil engineering in india followed my mba in usa. i wanted to ask
    1) which entrances shall i prepare for and how ?
    2)Do i study on my own or do i join classes for mba entrances.
    3) Will studying for these entrances along with engineering a good option or do i only start preparing after the 2nd year.
    4) Do i need work experience after my degree to get admission for mba in usa?
    5) How tough are the mba interviews ? How can one best prepare for them?
    6) what is the minimum score required in entrances to get a full scholarship?
    7) where can i get counsellors for abroad studies ?
    Is it possible to be in contact with you in person?

    Thank you !!

  8. Hello
    I just completed my btech from jaypee university of information technology with 59% in CSE. I want to pursue MBA in Australia. Should i give gmat and how much of a score will i require to overcome my low percentage in btech. Also i have been a lot in extra curricular activities.
    Also if an indian mba or australian with such low scores would be suitable.

  9. i have done graduation in hotel management & i have 2 years of expereince .but now i want to do mba or msc in hospitality from abroad.
    please suggest me …..?

  10. Hello Sir,
    this is a wonderful post. I did my diploma in electrical engineering and then did my graduation on the same in 2015. I worked with a MNC but was not satisfied. I want to study abroad but not sure if I should go for a MBA or MS. Also i belong from a family who are not so stable economically. Please suggest me a place and university where I can not only study cheap but also the cost of living will be low and I will be able to work and earn my living while Studying.
    Thank you.

  11. Hi samir i am 38yrs old hotel mgmt graduate with 15 yrs exp in sales my ILETS score is 7.5looking stydy MBA please suggest can i eligeble and which university

  12. Dear I am B.E civil engineer pass out in 2010 and 8 years of work experience out 4 years gulf experience I am planning to do MS in Abroad is it good option and also want to settle in abroad only please suggest me what to do.


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