FPJ Rewind 2022: Not US, UK, Canada, these non English speaking countries are now popular among Indian students

European and Asian countries, which are cheaper and offer good quality education, are increasingly turning out to be alternatives to Anglosphere among Indian students.

Abhishek NairUpdated: Thursday, December 29, 2022, 11:45 AM IST
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Five non-English speaking countries that have stood out for Indian students |

With major English-speaking countries, including the US, UK, Australia, and Canada, maintaining their standings as popular study destinations for Indians' post-pandemic, many other nations have joined the ranks but with a catch that they don’t speak English as their first language.

European and Asian countries, which are cheaper and offer good quality education, are increasingly turning out to be alternatives to Anglosphere among Indian students.

Here are the five countries:

Italy: An advanced economy with a decreasing birth rate, Indian students are key in Italy’s plans to sustain their workforce.

More than 6,000 students are currently studying in Italian universities with the country’s first exclusive ‘Study In Italy’ fair conducted in Mumbai having the presence of 15 institutions from the Southern European powerhouse.

Italy has also set up its educational and cultural arm in the form of Uni-Italia, which aims to promote Italian higher education programmes and assist students, and researchers in their academic journey to the country’s universities. Uni-Italia has an office not only in India, China, Indonesia, Iran, and Vietnam.

Italy boasts of a large number of English-taught courses, scholarships, and affordable tuition fees with almost 60% of its international students benefiting from Italian scholarships and grants.

Tuition fees for public universities in Italian universities range anywhere between 0 € to 4.000 € (3.5 Lakhs INR approx), per year based on the family income of students.

France: It’s not just the streets of Paris that fascinate Indian students, France’s academic potential has garnered a lot of interest in the past few years, especially in 2022.

France, which plans to invite 20,000 Indian students to the country by 2025, might seem far-fetched due to the French language being a medium of instruction in universities but if students want to enrol in a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. programme they might not need to take the French language tests - TCF (Test de Connaissance du français) and the TEF (Test dâ Evaluation de français). 

The country has become popular for Management programmes with six French universities glued to their spot in the top 25% of the total 100 Masters in Management Studies, according to Financial Times annual Universities rankings.

Charpak Master's Scholarship, Raman Charpak Fellowship (Ph.D.), Eiffel Scholarship Program of Excellence, and the Legrand Scholarship Program are some of the most popular scholarships that Indian students can avail of.

France has a 10,000-strong alumni network, according to Campus France India.

Ukraine: The war-hit Eastern European country emerged as the dark horse in 2022 as more than 22,500 Indian medical students were required to be evacuated from the country amid the country’s clashes with Russia.

The number of Indian students in the country signified how many of them leave India’s shores each year to pursue medicine in Ukraine due to it being affordable and high quality.

More than 1,100 Indian students have returned to Ukraine despite the war, according to a written reply in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi.

With NMC and the Centre denying admissions to the students in Indian universities upon their return, many have returned and are planning to return to Ukraine to continue with offline education, a requirement by NMC to consider a foreign medical degree legitimate.

It is to be noted that Ukrainian universities have cancelled the temporary residence permits of many Indian students over late payment of fees which has forced them to reapply for the same again once they are back in India.

China: India’s Eastern neighbour had more than 23,000 Indian students, mainly pursuing medicine, according to numbers highlighted before the pandemic.

China, which has been one of the worst affected countries in the world due to Covid-19, saw many of its Indian student cohort leaving the country due to the country’s pandemic policies which required strict enforcement of lockdown rules.

China had granted more than 1,300 Indian students visas in October, according to reports but long quarantine periods and lack of direct flights between the country and India have still denied China an opportunity to regain its position.

The high ticket prices have forced Indian students to choose Hong Kong and other alternative routes to get to China.

NMC recognises medical degrees from China but requires Indian students to obtain a licence to practise as a medical doctor in the country failing which they will be rendered ineligible to appear for Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE).

Netherlands: India is one of the top five non-EU countries to have a significant number of students in the Netherlands.

Around 3,363 Indian students were reported to be studying in Dutch universities, with the Netherlands government setting up Nuffic’s global network of education support offices in various countries, including India for support regarding student enrollment.

A total of 10,000 international students collected their Dutch residence permits from The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND) until September 2022, according to IND’s official website with many of them hailing from India, China, Indonesia, and the US.

An increasing housing crisis has affected international students in the Netherlands, with the government planning on initiating a National Student Housing Action Plan by building 60,000 student homes in the country in 8 years.

Though the Netherlands has been under the radar for Indian students, Dutch Minister of Education, Culture, and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf has sent a letter to universities in the country, asking them to stop enrolling more international students, according to local media reports.

The diktat comes as the Netherlands Parliament called on the government to reduce international students, which has been leading to ‘crowded lecture halls, and difficulties in finding accommodation.’ 

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