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### Is Studying Overseas Becoming More of a Liability Than an Asset?

In the past year, the job market has been challenging for graduates from the US and Canada. A recent study by Randstad US revealed that job seekers in the US typically spend around five months on average before securing a position. Kartik Talreja, after nearly a year of searching, finally landed a contract job in February through a friend’s relative. Despite facing obstacles due to a lack of job openings and experience, Talreja persevered in his job hunt. Many students like him have encountered similar struggles in their pursuit of employment opportunities in the US.

The allure of pursuing higher education abroad, particularly in the US, has always been strong among Indian students. The prospects of professional growth, global career opportunities, higher salaries, and an improved quality of life are key driving factors for Indian students seeking education overseas. The number of Indian students enrolled in foreign higher education institutions is projected to reach 20 lakh by 2025, a significant increase from the 7.7 lakh students studying abroad in 2023.

The job market for recent graduates in the US and Canada has been challenging, with factors such as a potential global economic slowdown, cautious hiring practices by companies, and increased competition from experienced workers re-entering the workforce post-pandemic contributing to the difficulties faced by job seekers. The tech sector, which experienced a hiring boom in 2021-22, has now become more competitive, with reduced salary offerings and limited entry-level positions available.

Students graduating from prestigious universities are also facing job market uncertainties, with fewer job placements and increased competition for limited opportunities. The stringent requirements for H-1B visa sponsorship further complicate job searches for international students, leading many to consider unpaid internships or alternative job options to maintain their visa status.

As the job market in the US and Canada faces challenges, Indian students are exploring alternative study-abroad destinations such as European Union countries, including Germany, Ireland, and France. These countries are gaining popularity among Indian students for their affordable education and promising job markets. Additionally, students are considering opportunities in emerging job sectors like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and healthcare, which continue to experience growth and demand for skilled professionals.

Despite the current job market difficulties, studying abroad offers unique advantages, particularly for students in specialized fields seeking access to cutting-edge research facilities and expert faculty. While the job market may be tough for recent graduates overall, sectors like technology, healthcare, and digital services are still actively hiring, providing opportunities for skilled professionals to thrive in these fields.

Despite the challenges, Indian students remain optimistic about their prospects in the US job market, holding on to their aspirations of building successful careers abroad.