“Hong Kong is home to great institutions with a rich history and a touch of modernity. It is one of the few Asian universities which rank among the best globally,” said Bhattacharyya, an undergraduate student of business and management.
Like Bhattacharyya, several Indian students are opting for destinations such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Georgia, Armenia, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Malaysia, proving that Indian study abroad aspirants like globe-trotting and are willing to look beyond the more popular destinations.
This is reflected by latest data from the ministry of external affairs, government of India. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Singapore and Malaysia were among the top countries from Asia and the Middle-East Africa region to host Indian students in 2021/22.
UAE, Saudi Arabia, Georgia soar in popularity
As many as 219,000 Indian students were enrolled in UAE higher education institutions as of July 2021, making it even more popular than the US, the UK and other countries.
While there were 8,000 Indian students in Saudi Arabia universities in 2021, Oman had 43,600 students in 2021. Singapore had just 1,500 Indian students as of July 2021, which increased to 10,000 by March 2022.
Other countries that have seen applications from Indian students in the last one year include Georgia with 7,500 students in 2021 and 14,000 until March 2022. Armenia, on the other hand, hosted 3,000 Indian students in 2021 which increased to 8,015 by March 2022.
Other European nations such as Italy had 5,897 Indian students, Switzerland and Sweden had 3,980 and 2,500 students respectively until March 2022.
“The UAE is a growing market and there are opportunities”
Poland hosted 5,000 Indian students and The Netherlands 3,200 in 2022. Indian students are also going to Finland, Ireland, Spain and Japan.
What attracts Indian students
International education experts say that Indian students explore aspects such as a university’s world ranking, the post study work opportunities, infrastructure and quality of education when choosing a university or country. However, factors like low tuition fees, low cost of living, strong presence of public universities, full scholarships and easy visa process are some of the reasons that make these destinations more attractive.