Mumbai: Three countries in Western Europe, Italy, France, and Germany, have been making efforts for the past few years to attract more Indian students to their countries. With the three nations having their own educational and cultural arms to cater to students from across the globe, India’s presence as one of the biggest markets for international education is not going unnoticed.
Italy turns history into opportunity to attract Indian students
Italy has some of the top universities in the world for classical studies and history, while also imparting quality education in the fields of business, management, engineering, and technology.
Uni-Italia, which aims to promote Italian higher education programmes and assist students, researchers in their academic journey to Italian universities, has its presence in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Iran, and Vietnam.
The Consulate General of Italy in Mumbai issued approximately 2000 study visas in 2022 with the Uni-Italia centre in the city guiding around 500 students in that process alone, according to Federica Maria Giove, Director, Uni-Italia India.
“A large number of English-taught courses, scholarships, affordable tuition fees, and the overall quality of life, make Italy a great option for many international students. Almost 60% of international students benefit from Italian scholarships and grants,” said Federica, who also highlighted the increasing collaboration between Uni-Italia and India’s top universities through the form of meets, masterclasses, workshops, and sessions.
Uni-Italia, India Director Federica Maria Giove interacts with parents and students/ Un-Italia, India
Though certain public universities in the UK, US, and Canada, charge higher fees from international students for the degrees they pursue, Italy has maintained an equity in fees for the latter and national students.
“The tuition fees for degree programs at government universities are based on the family income of the students, ranging from 0 € to 4.000 € (3.5 Lakhs INR approx), per year,” added Federica.
Consultants for Italian universities interact with Indian students/ Uni-Italia, India
French B-schools, organisations, excited to see growth among Indian students
At a visit to Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Delhi, France’s minister for digital transition and telecommunications, Jean-Noël Barrot announced the country’s aim to host and train 5 lakh international students by 2025.
“4,00,000 are already there and the number of Indian students would then be, according to President Emmanuel Macron’s vision, 20,000,” Barot told reporters.
The efforts, to help build that number, are not lagging as French universities have set up shop in India and plan to challenge the academic hegemony of the US, UK, and Canada.
“Over the past decade factors like Brexit & an uncertain US immigration policy have led Indian students to search for alternative destinations. France has always been at the forefront of delivering positive change within the field of academics,” said Nilesh Gaikwad, Country Manager, India, Edhec Business School.
With French business schools often figuring in the world’s best, the excitement among some of the country’s top institutes is palpable.
“The cost of living in France is lower compared to countries such as the US or the UK. The programme fee is also lower. Besides, the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, French companies, as well as some French business schools provide various need-based grants and scholarships for which Indian students can apply. This includes the Charpak Master's Scholarship, Raman Charpak Fellowship (Ph.D.), Eiffel Scholarship Program of Excellence, and the Legrand Scholarship Program, among others,” said Patrice Houdayer, Programmes, International and Student Life Director, SKEMA Business School.
Indian students at France's SKEMA Business School/ SKEMA Business School
Apart from most business schools being multi-accredited, France also enables Indian students to avail of a job seeker visa for up to two years with a residency permit, which is usually valid for a year, and extended to another.
Indian students, who would find the experience of studying in France nerve-racking also can avail services of Campus France, a public institution in charge of promoting French higher education abroad and welcoming foreign students and researchers to the country.
“We have a 10,000-strong alumni network of students who have studied in France across Bachelor’s, Masters and doctoral programmes. Masters in Management has been one of the most popular programmes for most students,” said Aayushi Nagpal, Manager, Campus France, Embassy of France in India.
Germany's growth only set to rise as a study-abroad destination
Germany, a more traditional and known option for Indian students from the three countries, is probably the biggest competitor to Anglosphere countries in attracting Indian students. With 34,134 Indian students in 2022 from a mere 17,570, the rate of growth is close to five times that of the global average, with Indians forming the 2nd largest group of international students enrolled at German universities.
“A large number of German universities charge no or low tuition fees and welcome as well as support international students even with administrative formalities and chores. After completing the degree, students can move on to a higher degree or stay in Germany for 18 months to look for a job. Even during studies, they can do part-time jobs to earn pocket money,” Aditi Gosavi, Senior Advisor – Communication and PR, DAAD India, also known as German Academic Exchange Service.
DAAD, which helps German academic cooperation worldwide, offers several scholarships for Masters in select subject fields such as Public Policy and Good Governance (PPGG), sustainability and development (EPOS), architecture, fine and performing arts, film, design, etc. through its regional office in New Delhi.
DAAD India organises sessions for students who want to pursue higher education in Germany/ DAAD India
Rohit Iyer, an Engineering student in Hamburg who is studying embedded systems in the Automation industry, finds the country to be cheaper than other options such as the US and Canada. “Being one of the main hubs for automation, Germany gives a lot of opportunities while also being light on the pockets as I am paying 5,000 Euros at a private university,” added Iyer, who is still looking for accommodation in the country.
Other countries' loss, Europe's gain
With an ever-increasing tuition cost in the US, accommodation crisis in the UK, and visa backlogs in Canada, the rise of European countries in attracting Indian students is a development that could make an impact for years to come.