Youngsters are open to looking beyond U.S. and U.K. as preferred education hubs

As the seventh edition of The Hindu Education Plus International Education Fair made its stop here on Tuesday, smaller or lesser known foreign destinations appeared to be vying for the Indian student’s attention as much as the popular ones. While stalls and seminars featuring the U.S. and the U.K. drew huge crowds, establishing yet again that they continue to hold sway over Indian students, Eastern European countries such as Latvia, Poland and Russia too attracted many a visitor.

The annual fair stopped at several South Indian cities, including Chennai, Coimbatore, Kochi, Hyderabad and Vizag, before coming to Bangalore. The fair brought students and international education providers face-to-face, creating the ideal platform for interchange of information and queries.

Imants Bergs, vice-rector, Study Development and International Relations, Turiba University, Latvia, said the country had been witnessing a steady increase in the number of enrolments by Indian students. “In 2012-13, which was the first time we started publicising actively in India, we had 100 Indian students in all universities put together. Last year, we had 200 Indian students. This year, we hope to get the number up to 300,” he said.

Mr. Bergs said while postgraduate technical and management courses were popular choices, it was the “competitive prices” of courses and “easy opportunities” to set up start-ups that attracted students the most.

Sakthi Venkatesh, marketing director, ‘Think Poland’, which represents 21 universities, also said the country was attracting a larger number of Indian students owing to “economical fees” as many Polish varsities were State-owned and passing the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) was not required for admissions.

Students, too, appeared to be open to studying in lesser-known countries, though they had their set of apprehensions. Gayatri Devadasan, pursuing her B.A. in psychologywas seen asking a lot of questions at the Russia stall. “But I figured that I will have to spend a year learning Russian before getting admitted to a Master’s in psychology. So I may not consider it,” she said later.

Similarly, environment engineering graduate Ruchika Satish said she would rather pursue a Master’s course in a developed country as the job opportunities would be better there.

But Manjunath R., another engineering graduate, said he would rather study in a lesser known destination as the cost of living and tuition fee would be much more economical.

Indian Overseas Bank was the official education loan partner for the event while Thomas Cook was the official forex and travel partner. British Airways was the official airline partner.

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