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Myths dispelled

Stephen Robinette |

Setting a foreign degree has always fascinated Indian students and their parents, who are committed to offer the best possible education to their children. Admission at an international university not just provides an opportunity to be trained at a globally-recognised university/college but also provides an opportunity to learn about new people and their culture.

A degree opens up innumerable opportunities too, helping fulfil dollar dreams of many Indians. As they say “no knowledge is better than knowing less about any subject,” the same can be said about studying abroad which comes with its fair share of myths. From choosing the right institute to selecting the city, even the thought of getting enrolled in a foreign university may seem like a mammoth task for many, till these myths are busted.

It costs a lot: General belief in India is that a foreign degree comes at an exorbitant cost. This is a generic view, which is contrary to the actual cost that varies depending on the type, duration, and location of the programme. A detailed analysis would show that foreign education could be within the reach of many Indians. To top it up, scholarships, financial aid and educational loans are some ways, which can ease the burden on students and their parents, respectively. Since the curriculum abroad allows flexibility in choosing a course of your interest, narrowing it down to the most suitable gets easy and helps save time and money.

Dearth of scholarships: A very common myth amongst students is that foreign universities do not provide enough financial help through scholarships. As a matter of fact, there are numerous scholarships that you can take advantage of either through merit or for financial need. Make sure, you do your research before-hand and make use of all the opportunities you have at hand to minimise your financial burden. Most colleges have a straight forward and clear scholarship application process — be sure to hand in all the materials before the due date.

It delays graduation: Many students who study abroad graduate in four years. With proper guidance or consulting with academic advisors students can study overseas for an academic year without affecting their graduation date. In fact, some students study abroad two or three times and still graduate on time. Like others this is also one of the most prevalent misconceptions in students. In depth search about a university and when the courses begin and end is needed before taking admission. Being in touch with the administrative staff and academic counselor from the beginning also helps. A degree from a good university gives students the opportunity to gain exposure in a world that requires international experience to succeed. Students learn a new language, see how business is conducted over international boundaries, and develop lifelong relationships around the world.

It is for non-serious students: A perception that students, who take admission overseas, are on a vacation is not based on facts. Fact is that the courses abroad are not based more on theories and less on practical courses but it gives equal importance to practical and theory. In fact, adjusting to a new kind of education system, away from their home country, would require a student to put in much more emphasis to education than other activities.

Not everyone gets accepted: Due to lack of knowledge, a large number of Indian students are not able to plan their studies abroad. The truth, however, is that most of them who meet the minimum qualification and successfully complete the application process, get accepted at foreign universities.

A lot of universities counsel students to increase the number from countries beyond their own country. These universities work closely to find a programme that meets their needs and qualifications.

The writer is Associate Vice-President for International Programmes, Missouri State University.