indian international student in foreign university

Applying For A Foreign University As An Indian International Student

Studying overseas is not as uncommon as it used to be. In fact, almost everyone has come across an international student or knows someone who chose to study overseas for their tertiary education. If you’re looking to become an international Indian student, here’s what you need to know before applying to your dream university overseas.

The number of international students increases each year, with a variety of destinations. From 2000 to 2019, the number of international students increased from 2 million to a whopping 6 million. The table below illustrates the most popular countries and destinations for international students. The US is the most popular of all destinations, usually receiving over 30 percent of international students globally.

RankCountryInternational student population

Choosing your length of study

Students in a campus library
Students Library Campus Education Knowledge Concept

There are two kinds of international students. A full-time international student, also known as an internationally mobile student, usually requires a non-resident visa. This can also be a student visa, that allows the student to pursue a degree in the destination country. These students are granted a foreign degree and study in the destination country for all semesters.

There are also international students that stay for a shorter time, usually on exchange programmes or a study-abroad trip. This can be in the form of summer or winter programmes, or cultural exchanges. If you’re an exchange student, you would be expected to stay in your destination country for 6 to 12 months. Summer programmes are usually 4 to 6 months, while winter programmes are for a month or more. Some exchange programs also offer academic credit, which can be then transferred to your university back home.

If you wish to get the full experience of a different culture, or the full international student experience, choosing to do your degree in another country would be your choice. This decision requires careful thought and preparation, as a lot has to be done in order to study overseas. You would also need to mentally prepare yourself to spend years away from your home country. Those who wish to fully immerse in a different culture as well as make lifelong friends usually study full time internationally. Spending a few years in a different country can really give you a better perspective of the world, help you become more culturally aware, improve your language skills as well as confidence. It’ll be a scary yet rewarding step for many.

Students who wish to experience studying overseas for a short term without having to fully commit should choose to do either an exchange programme or study-abroad trip. This is also especially useful for those who worry about the fees that need to be paid as an international student. Before making your decision, speak to other international Indian students to get a better perspective of what you’re going into.

Choosing a college for international Indian student

As mentioned above, the US and the UK are the top two most popular destinations for international students looking for a university overseas. Some other popular destinations include Canada, Australia and even Singapore. There are many reputable universities all across the globe. If there’s a particular university you’ve been looking at, it’s time to check out the country. So, check out articles describing the best universities in each country, so that you know where you want to go:

When choosing your university in another country, it’s important to take the country and environment into account. Places like the US, UK and Canada are known for their colder climates, while Australia and Singapore will definitely show you some heat. Taking the country’s culture into account is also important. Some countries also have pricer universities or education fees or are just more expensive to live in overall. In fact, Singapore is considered the most expensive place to live in Asia, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Different countries also have different levels of safety, so it’s important to read up on the crime levels or terrorism threat levels in each country. At The Finder Global, we have done our own research and compiled the safety levels of Australia, Canada, the UK, the US and Singapore. So once you’ve decided on a country, it’s time to read up!

Just to give you an idea of the different universities available, here are the top universities in the world for international students:

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has played a huge role in the development of modern technology and science and cultivates a strong entrepreneurial culture. It is not only ranked 1 in Universities in The United States but is also ranked 1 for Universities in the whole world. MIT boasts having the position of the best university in the globe.

It has a highly competitive undergraduate program, accepting only an average of 8 percent of the total applicants who get to choose and study from as many as 44 programs. MIT constitutes the General Institute Requirements (GIRs) as the core curriculum and foundation for the educational program.

As far as diversity is concerned, MIT recruits a diverse population of students comprising of Asians, Hispanics, Black or African Americans, American Indians, and others. In addition, their international student body population for the year 2020 to 2021 came to a whopping 3,580 – which is nearly 30 percent of the entire undergraduate population!

International Indian students should also be aware of the high costs of attending such a University, especially as a foreign student. The annual cost of attendance is estimated to be around $77,020. This estimation, based on the 2021 to 2022 academic year, includes costs that are billed by MIT (tuition, housing and dining) as well as estimates for other expenses (such as books, supplies and personal expenses). As with most universities, MIT does offer a comprehensive need-based financial aid programme. In fact, over 85 percent of MIT students receive some type of financial aid, including scholarships and work – reducing their annual fee to around $17,986.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Address: 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, United States
Tel: +1 617-253-1000

 2. University of Oxford

The reputation of this university precedes itself – and for good reason! As of 2022, Oxford is ranked 2nd in the whole world. Whilst its foundation date remains unclear, it is known that teaching at Oxford existed in some form as early as 1096, making The University of Oxford the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation.

This prestigious university has groomed over 28 prime ministers of the UK, 72 Nobel Prize laureates and 6 Turing Award winners, amongst a host of political leaders, artists and business leaders. The university itself is made up of 39 semi-autonomous constituent colleges, six permanent private halls, and a range of academic departments. In particular, the University of Oxford often ranks as number one in the world for four humanities disciplines: English Language and Literature, Modern Languages, Geography and History.

International students make up 45 percent of the total student body at Oxford – that’s almost 11 thousand students! The University of Oxford has a student population coming from over 160 countries, the largest groups of international students at Oxford come from the US, China, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. With such a diverse student population, you will surely be able to find your community at Oxford.

University of Oxford
Address: Oxford OX1 2JD, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1865 270000
Opening hours: Varies depending on college, check website for more information

 3. Stanford University

Located in the technological hub of the United States is Stanford University, a university situated right beside Silicon Valley in California. It spans one of the largest campuses amongst universities in the USA and is home to various maestros who have graduated from this top-ranked university to launch mega-tech companies like Google and Snapchat. It enrolls around 17,000 students yearly, which makes up an admission rate of 5 percent.

Extremely competitive and highly ranked across various university rankings, students at Stanford University earn their undergraduate degrees from three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level. In addition, graduate students are given the option to further their studies in four professional schools that have programmes in law, medicine, education and business.

There is approximately 13 percent of international students making up the student population at Stanford – with 25 percent of the undergraduate population being Asian, 7 percent being African American and 17 percent being Hispanic. It is also worth noting that Stanford is one of the elite-level universities in USA with a disproportionately high Asian demographic, with the number of Asian students being near equivalent to their white counterparts (29 percent of the population).

All undergraduate programs cost $55,473 for domestic and international students, exclusive of other charges, including boarding and housing. Roughly, students are estimated to pay $78,898 annually given the charges for course books, supplies, and living expenses. Approximately 70 percent of Stanford students receive some form of aid to attend school. About 58 percent receive aid directly from Stanford, including athletic scholarships and various grants. In 2020, over 47 percent of students received need-based financial aid from Stanford and paid an average of $13,600 towards their total bill.

Stanford University
Address: 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, United States
Tel: +1 650-723-2300

Admission criterias

Bachelors Degree Admission School Education
Bachelors Degree Admission School Education Concept

If you choose to become an international student in an English speaking country, expect your university classes to be taught in English. You would have to prove your English proficiency if you’re a non-native English speaker, or if you’re not used to having classes taught in English. You might need to sit for an English proficiency test such as TOEFL or IELTS or check if you meet the university’s English language requirement with your secondary English study.

Admission is usually based on academic marks made in general education or high school national examinations. Each university may also differ slightly in admission requirements, and so does each program accepting students. Different universities have different criteria, but generally accept school-leaving results such as GCSE A-Levels or SAT. The ACT, International Baccalaureate Diploma are also usually accepted by various universities. Depending on the school you are applying for and the number of applicants you are up against, a pre-admission test or interview can also be administered.

Aside from your academic transcript, universities might also require you to submit any relevant testimonials or recommendation letters you possess, or any supporting documents of past experiences in co-curricular activities (for instance, sports or relevant internships) that can be taken into consideration for admission.

Besides this, having a resume or testimonial may also come in handy. Here are some common admission requirements:

  • Filled-in admission application form
  • Academic transcripts
  • English proficiency test
  • Testimonial or Resume

Application period and semester dates

Application periods differ from country to country, and university to university. It’s important to check the website of the university you’re interested in, to ensure you meet the deadline. This timeframe differs depending on your university of choice. As a general worldwide trend, applications tend to open in October and then again in January till March. However, it’s best to check your chosen university’s website individually and take notes for the latest updates regarding the application timeline.

Preparing as an international Indian student

Before you head to your new University, it’s important to get some things sorted out first, such as your student visa and accommodation.

Most students live in university halls of residence in their first years before moving into rented private accommodation in the following years. In fact, most universities in offer halls of residences or university dormitories, with meal plan prices being included in the rental for the latter. Generally, most students choose to live in university halls due to several factors: cheaper rental prices as opposed to a flatshare, ease of travel to campus and proximity to university friends.

As for your student visa, you will need to apply for it while still in India, once you’ve gotten an acceptance letter to a university. You can visit an application center and submit your application paperwork as required. Other things to take in mind would be university fees, your plane ticket, and just knowing your way around the country. It’s important to be prepared before stepping foot into your new home – at least for the next few years.

Feeling ready to make the big move?

Head over here to begin your journey
Or start ticking off your relocation checklist here

Still unsure?

Explore more destinations here 

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