Education is the cornerstone of success of an individual, a community and a nation. No one disputes the importance of a strong academic foundation, and today, with increased awareness and access, aspirants travel many miles to acquire the best education. Options too abound, and it is certainly a consumer’s (or in this case – the prospective student’s) market.
But with greater choice comes greater difficulty in decision making, even anxiety. With a lot of choices at hand, one often tends to not be able to carry out the necessary due diligence around every available option. That can be counterproductive; and one should not make that mistake while investing in something as critical as a foreign education.
Today, we look at the UK as an education destination (for Indian students) and try to address some of the myths that surround studying in the UK:
1. It is Expensive!
The biggest and the most common myth surrounding the UK as a study destination is that it is expensive! Yes, the UK currency is much stronger than the Indian rupee, but the exchange rate alone does not determine the overall cost of education. The UK offers hundreds of scholarships each year to Indian and international students – some to the tune of 100% tuition fee waiver and even ‘all inclusive’ scholarships – that reduce the financial outflow considerably.
Costs in the UK are lower than in both the USA and Australia. According to research by HSBC, the average annual costs for international students were $30,325 in the UK, $35,705 in the USA and $38,516 in Australia.
In addition, the UK offers a host of short, diverse and flexible courses, resulting in a much lower overall cost of living.
2. No job certainty
No college degree comes with the guarantee of a job! However, the UK offers great support to its alumni on this front. It ranks among the world’s top five countries for industry-university collaboration, thus offering access to practical work-placements designed to help students gain invaluable relevant experience preparing them for the real-world. According to a QS global survey, UK universities produce some of the most employable applicants in Europe.
The UK itself invites thousands of Indian professionals to work each year. According to the Government of UK immigration statistics, more than 55,000 skilled work visas were granted to Indian nationals to work in the UK in 2018 – more than the rest of the world combined.
There’s more. The UK government has introduced a route to allow graduates with a business idea to set up their businesses in the UK via the graduate entrepreneurship route. There are 2,000 places available each year.
3. It is difficult to get a visa!
Did you know, the UK has 18 visa application centres in India, more than in any other country? The UK offers the 24-hour Super-Priority Visa and 5 working day Priority Visa services to visitors, students and those applying for most work visas, allowing more customers the opportunity to get a visa decision faster.
Last year (2018), almost 19,500 Indian nationals were granted a Tier 4 student visa – a 35% increase on 2017 and the highest total since 2011. This equates to an increase of over 70% in two years – from around 11,300 in 2016 to 19,500 in 2018. The best part, if you’re circumspect about getting a visa – 96% of Indian nationals who applied for a UK Tier 4 student visa last year were successful.
4. Impact of Brexit
It is established that far from having a negative impact, Brexit will benefit Indian students. India already benefits greatly from the UK visa system and the growing number of visas to Indian students over the years reflects UK’s welcoming policies.
This track record is set to benefit further from multiple proposals under the new White Paper – including, but not limited to greater access for skilled workers to come to the UK, longer time for students after graduation to find work in the UK, and a quicker and more efficient process for businesses and individuals who apply under the new system. A future system will be designed to ensure UK welcomes international students.
Go through your Facebook and Instagram feeds and you are almost certain to find some of your friends posting photos from the UK. Their reasons may differ but whether it is studying in the UK, working there, settling down or just taking a vacation, the common denominator across their social posts will be their love for the UK!
Need more reasons to study in the UK? Click here