The Sudden Shift in Students’ Preferences For Masters Abroad

While the Covid-19 outbreak severely affected India’s education system, it had also put Indian students’ plans to study abroad on hold. However, despite the challenges, they still want to pursue their MBA i.e. Masters abroad. But this time, to different countries. As the Covid-19 eases again, students are reevaluating their destination preferences.

Students wanting to go abroad are preparing to apply to foreign universities with bated breath. A survey from IC3 Institute reported, nearly 33% of the students plan to study abroad in the immediate or near future. They are preparing for the GMAT and the GRE while keeping an eye on the new strain’s measures. 

How COVID-19 Impacted Students’ Country Preferences?

Indian students have previously favoured nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. However, as COVID-19 continues to impact the world, students are rethinking their options and focusing on other countries.

Before COVID-19, most students were concerned about ease of admissions, educational quality, immigration policies, fees, etc. Since the global pandemic, health safety and minimal risk are two of the most significant aspects students consider when deciding where to study abroad.

Students who want to study abroad will naturally favour nations that have done a better job of containing the pandemic. Predictions and surveys suggest Germany, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand, will be the new preferred destinations over countries such as the United States or the United Kingdom.

1. Students prefer the United Kingdom to Australia.

Australia’s strict border controls have worked against the country’s education. Australia wanted to build a COVID-free atmosphere rather than learning how to deal with COVID like Europe. Many students relocated to the UK since the nation was quick to welcome Indian students and prompt in providing vaccines.

Pranavi Jamwal, a 19-year-old student who got admission at Australia’s top university, said – 

“COVID has disrupted my plans, and the Australian government is unable to give any clear timeline when I will be allowed to enter the country, and it now looks that at least half my course will be online.”

According to Australian government data, the number of Indian students given an Australian visa decreased from 21,433 in 2019-20 to 11,200 in 2020-21. 

However, the new UK Graduate Route paved the way, influencing students in their decision to study in the United Kingdom. The vast majority of Indian students who aspire to do their MBA abroad in the United Kingdom are allowed to do so since 96% of all Indian visa applications are approved. 

The below graph shows sponsored study visa applications in the UK rose 13% to 258,787. 

Image Source – GOV.UK

2. Aspirants want to Study Abroad but also be Closer to their Families

Since many students were stranded abroad due to travel restrictions, they are now preferring destinations closer to India. Dubai is one such destination gaining popularity amongst Indian students. Due to its proximity to India, many students choose to study at American, Canadian, and British colleges with campuses in Dubai. 

Singapore is also an ideal option for international students seeking a unique and contemporary higher education experience. It was also the latest country to allow air travel from India to resume, as variation Omicron reared its head. For the same reason, Singapore is now seeing more interest from students. 

3. Many Students are moving to Canada for their Masters Abroad

While the pandemic destroyed most countries, including the United States, Canada seemed to handle the situation better. As a result, a large number of students have relocated to Canada.

The below data shows about 63% of the students prefer studying internationally in a country other than the US. 

Image Source – WES

Furthermore, Canada boasts one of the top-ranked colleges globally, providing the highest-quality education. In fact, the education provided by these universities is significantly less expensive than that offered by universities in the United States.

Another reason students choose to study in Canada is the country’s significantly easier immigration policies. In addition, many Canadian provinces offer eligible international graduates of their universities the chance to live permanently in the country. 

The below graph shows insights on a Canadian student visa approval for 2019-2021.

Image source – Applyboard

4. Twinning Programmes are Attracting more Students

Twinning programmes work by having students complete part of their courses in India and the remainder in a foreign college with which their college has a partnership. Many students are now deciding to pursue their education abroad through twinning programmes due to several pandemic-related restrictions.

Universities providing twinning programmes are seeing increased student enrollment as foreign currency becomes more expensive. Although the wealthy are never affected by high foreign exchange rates, middle-class students’ dreams of studying abroad are hindered. 

Students gain from twinning courses since they require less time away from home and lower tuition and living expenses. 

Planning to Study Abroad?

Certainly, ambitious Indian students who have desired to study abroad for a long time are not letting the pandemic deter them. Instead, they are reassessing their options to forge ahead into a bright future.


If your MBA abroad plans are dwindling too, reach out to India’s top study abroad consultants – Endeavor Careers. We have helped thousands of students accomplish their dreams of pursuing their masters abroad. Whether it is GMAT, GRE, or study abroad visa counselling, we do it all.  


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