This is the year 2013 and day by day study abroad is getting popular. Countries like India and China are the major exports of human resources in and around the world for countries like USA, UK, AUS, CANADA etc.
But after the recession and few visa changes is it really worth it to go for higher education and if the answer is "YES" then where exactly should one go.
Almost instantly when someone thinks to study for his masters or bachelors abroad the first country which someone thinks of is USA. The land of opportunities.
I will even go on to say that if someone has decided to go to USA for studies then his choice won't go wrong most of the time. After all this country is the land of origin for companies such as google,intel,microsoft to name a few hardware and software giants. I named these companies since they are related to my field of bachelors but if you take any kind of major including bio-tech,chemical,mechanical,economics,business,marketing etc the companies originating from USA are one of the best. USA is one of the few countries which gets millions of dollars for doing research and granting research fellowships to students. Students are involved in projects directly in conjunction with industries and thus they are job ready while graduating from college. And if they drop out then they end up as billionaires changing the face of the technology we see today.
Apart from that, most of the students get scholarships in the form of TA,RA or even based on academic merit, a waiver in tuition fee(but only if you are quite strong in academics). And there is still that 2 years of post graduate work visa (PGWP) which allows you to stay in USA after graduating and search for a job.
But this is just the one side of the picture and only applies to universities which really are currently at the top in terms of rankings, research, and faculty quality. There are about 4500+ universities in USA and if you are not making it to the top hundred or 150 then the whole study business might turn out to be nightmare for you.
The first problem one faces in case he gets a low GRE is that he/she can apply to only low ranked universities. While you end up spending 50$k-80$k for doing a degree in USA being an international student, the job guarantee is not there since USA is currently under recession with unemployment rate of 8% in many provinces and most of the students are selected from top tanked universities for filling up the human resources required by the company. And even if you are able to get a offer letter from a university, the chance of getting a F1 visa goes down due to your low GRE and low ranked university offer. I have seen students applying 3-4 times and then making it, like the few who get their visa. Overall in India the success rate of visa in India is just 60% and this is based on the data which I collected from many consultancies.
That can be quite frustrating and you really don’t deserve that, just to study abroad in a reputed university and to secure a job.
The other important factor many students consider while going for higher studies abroad is to settle down there i.e. get permanent residence and enjoy the benefits a citizen of that country gets. Do you know that getting a green card in USA is almost impossible and the whole process takes 10+ years. Also, after completion of your 2 years PGWP if you want to work in USA then you should have an H1B visa. Getting an H1B visa is not difficult if you are talented enough and a company is ready to sponsor you but it can be quite nerve wrecking in case nobody is ready to sponsor you and you either have to leave the country or end up marrying an American green card holder.
I have raised these concerns not to make students feel that, going to USA is waste of time and money, but to really project the scenario currently over there. Considering USA is really good and that everyone dreams of living the american dollar life but is it really worth it !!! Are there any other countries which can give you a much better chance or reduce the amount of education loan you might be taking up but at the same time provide you awesome education experience and job opportunities??? Find out in my next blog post.