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### Exploring the Motivations of Indian Women Pursuing Education Overseas

In 1883, Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi, a resident of Maharashtra, became one of the pioneering Indian women to pursue her education overseas when she enrolled in medicine at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, now known as Drexel University College of Medicine. Fast forward to the present day, precisely 141 years later, and nearly half (49 per cent) of Indian students studying abroad are women.

A recent survey conducted by MSM Unify, a study-abroad platform, revealed that 49 per cent of the participants identified enhanced employment prospects as the primary motivation for considering overseas education. The respondents believed that studying abroad would provide them with superior job opportunities compared to receiving a similar education in India. Among the women surveyed, 71 per cent expressed interest in studying abroad, with the top five areas of focus being Science (21 per cent), Management (17 per cent), Arts (12 per cent), Technology (7 per cent), and Languages (5 per cent).

MSM Unify conducted this survey involving 1,256 students and over 250 education consultants, with 65 per cent of the participants being women and 35 per cent men. The report highlights the main factors driving women’s interest in international education, as well as their objectives and pressing challenges.

Financial constraints were cited by 67 per cent of female respondents as a potential hindrance to planning for study abroad, including a lack of information on scholarships, grants, and other financial aids. The second most significant concern, mentioned by 17 per cent of participants, was the prolonged visa application process and waiting period.

Interestingly, 18 per cent of respondents prioritized financial considerations, while 15 per cent viewed studying abroad as a means to advance academically. The aspiration for global education to enhance career prospects reflects a strategic approach to career advancement. Many participants highlighted that international work experience could lead to permanent residency, further underscoring the benefits of studying abroad.

A noteworthy discovery was that 11 per cent of female respondents expressed apprehensions about personal safety while preparing to study abroad. This concern is significant, especially considering that one would expect reduced worries about personal safety in 2024, a time when most developed nations emphasize diversity and inclusion. Education consultants should proactively offer safety-related guidance to prospective students and their parents.

Education experts surveyed by MSM Unify noted a significant rise in the number of Indian women applying for study abroad programs, attributing this trend to a growing awareness of global educational opportunities. The United States emerged as the top choice for Indian women, followed by the United Kingdom and Canada, showcasing diverse educational aspirations.

Image source: NBC News, Daily Excelsior