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### Offbeat Destinations Gaining Popularity Among Indian Students

Young Indians are exploring unconventional paths for education abroad. While many of their peers traditionally opt for countries like the US, Australia, and Canada, there has been a noticeable increase in enrollment at schools in lesser-known destinations such as Turkey, Malta, Taiwan, and South Korea, among others.

Executives from various study abroad platforms and the strategy consultant Redseer have confirmed this shift in trend to ET.

The shift can be attributed to various factors. The UK, post-Brexit, is facing economic challenges and a less welcoming attitude towards migrants. Canada is experiencing an accommodation shortage, restrictions on international student numbers, and strained diplomatic relations with certain countries.

The US, known for its high costs, offers limited employment opportunities for many international students.

The appeal of these alternative destinations lies in their lower expenses, supportive policies for international students, and promising job prospects. Additionally, South Korea’s K-pop culture adds to its allure.

Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) indicates a decline in Indian students pursuing undergraduate courses in the UK. Redseer’s research shows that a significant percentage of students who previously chose the Big 4 destinations are now considering alternative options like Germany, Singapore, Ireland, the Netherlands, and South Korea.

Chile is emerging as a popular choice for international students, including Indians, due to attractive incentives like scholarships and a streamlined visa process. Similarly, Malta and Taiwan are preferred for their affordability compared to other international study destinations.

While these new destinations are gaining traction, they will need time to establish themselves as viable options for students. Countries like Germany, Finland, the UAE, Japan, Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Spain are also witnessing increased interest from students.

The cost of education in the US, ranging from \(20,000 to \)100,000, is significantly higher than that of emerging student destinations, where tuition fees range from \(3,500 to \)15,000 per year. Moreover, these countries offer opportunities for skilled professionals, with qualifications recognized in India.

Notably, former Soviet nations like Estonia and Lithuania are attracting students with their safety, technological advancement, and scholarships for international students. The competitive fees and low cost of living in these countries make them appealing options for Indian students.

In 2023, over 20,000 Indian students utilized iSchoolConnect’s platform to explore international college opportunities.