American dreams take Aussie, UK turn

American dreams take Aussie, UK turn

New Delhi: After graduating from the United States, the most sought after destination for students, Tarun Pal decided to say goodbye to the land of opportunities. He chose to move to Australia, an emerging hub of education. He says the cost of studying in Australia is about the same as some MBA schools in India. An MBA course at the Melbourne Business School costs about A$50,000. Converted to rupees, this is about Rs15 lakhs, the amount you pay for an MBA at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, he explains.

“Looking at the cost factor it was definitely cheaper than America, which runs into $100,000 a year," Tarun says. He adds, “They have a good relationship with countries in Asia. And they have a cultural transfer happening between Australia and South East Asia — Singapore and Hong Kong for example."

Like Tarun, there are many others who see merit in an Australian education. In the last three years, about 20,000 Indian students have chosen the island nation over other destinations for higher studies.

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e9f0c99c-84c4-11dd-9c66-000b5dabf613.flvLower fees and easier immigration rules are prominent among the factors drawing Indian students to Australia.

Racial discrimination in the US and UK is more pronounced than in Australia, says Aditya Wadhwa, a student.

“Students often appreciate the enormous business possibilities in Australia. As a growing economy and one with enormous growth recently there are many vacancies in those areas of business profession. This gives them a real opportunity to start their careers there," adds Tanya Castleman, Head, Deakin Business School, Australia.

Indians are the second largest group at Deakin, comprising 25 percent of all international students. MBA, Business, Commerce, Hospitality, Engineering and Information Technology are the courses that are popular among Indian students.

The falling rupee, the downturn in the US economy and high tuition fees in the US have prompted Indian students to look aggressively for options. Pradeep Karki, an undergraduate student from Delhi, plans to go to Australia for further studies. “…the market in the US is shrinking, the job opportunities are not there. In Australia I think I got a good future," he says.

The number of students going to the UK for higher studies has also been going up consistently. While 16,200 students went to the UK in 2005 for higher studies, the number rose to 19,000 in 2006 and 21,200 in 2007.

Although cost is a big factor when it comes to studying in the UK, it doesn’t seem to be deterring Indian students.

But Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, director Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University, UK says, “Look at what’s happening in the US now. It’s very difficult to get in now. UK, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity, the pound is going down, it’s becoming economical."

In order to attract more students, the UK has recently extended the period during which students are allowed to work in the country after completing their education to two years. But does that mean there be a dip in the number of students going to America? “America, all said and done, that’s where the action is. So at the end of the day it’s more dynamic with more opportunities" says Tarun. That’s corroborated by the figures. No less than 50 thousand student visas were issued in the last one-year for the US. It continues to be head and shoulders above others with a 38% increase in the number of candidates going there in the last seven months. Australia and UK have a lot of catching up to do.