Indian students constitute the second largest group of international students in the western world. Between 2000 and 2016, there was a 22% increase in student immigration from India, and the number continues to grow. There are several factors that propel student movement, including the perceived value of better education and rewards, lower competition levels, lack of domestic opportunities, better quality of life, practical learning, and more.
With a wide range of career opportunities and housing some of the world’s best universities, Europe is now in the run for being the most sought-after destination for international students. As diplomatic relations between India and the European Union flourish, this trend has seen an upward trajectory over the past few years. Country-wise statistics highlight that, in the last five years, the Indian student population in Ireland has grown from 3,000 to over 10,000. Similarly, Cyprus has over 8,000 residing Indians and 2,500 Indian students.
A substantial number prefer to invest in a Golden Visa programme, which gives students the opportunity to become residents of an EU country. For example, if an international student avails the Golden Visa programme and acquires legal citizenship of Portugal, he/she would be eligible to study in any EU nation on the same terms as the locals.
Another challenge is the right to work after graduation. A large section of international students have to head back home due to lack of sponsorship from employers. Therefore, investment vehicles like Alternate Investment Funds or Real Estate purchases are often used to avail the Golden Visa programme. This yields a lifelong ROI and enables students to freely live and work anywhere in the European Union. Apart from this, there are other advantages to studying in the EU:
Cultural diversity: Backed by a rich history and vibrant culture, Europe is invigorating in every sense. The countries in the EU are host to some of the world’s best philosophers, economists, scientists and more. Housing a wealth of knowledge, universities in the region, believe in learning beyond the confines of the classroom.
Lower tuition fee: Compared to more conventionally popular study destinations such as the U.S. or Canada, the tuition fees here are significantly lower. Those who have acquired a residency are also eligible to access some public universities free of cost like their EU peers. EU also offers a plethora of scholarships and financial aid that can assist students access the highest quality of education.
Exceptional education system: The educational system in Europe is monitored consistently and improved to ensure quality. Modern facilities, the best subject experts, access to the best edutech tools and more define the opportunities that the system has offer.
Right to work: International students who secure EU citizenship can live and work anywhere in Europe. The opportunity to be able to pursue a dream career is unparalleled.
The writer is Founder and CEO, Aretha Capital Partners