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Germany overtakes Canada as premier study abroad destination: upGrad report

The 2024 Study Abroad Trends Report 3.0 find that study-abroad aspirants prefer countries in the European Union, prioritising education quality, affordability, and job opportunities


Vasudha Mukherjee New Delhi

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Germany has surpassed Canada as the preferred study-abroad destination, according to upGrad's Study Abroad Trends Report 3.0. This annual study, conducted by the integrated learning, skilling, and workforce development company, found an overall shift towards countries in the European Union (EU) among Indian study abroad aspirants, as compared to more traditional destinations such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.

Destination Preferences

The report found a decline in Canada's popularity, with only 9.3 per cent of respondents expressing interest in the country. Instead, EU countries have emerged as favoured destinations, capturing 48.8 per cent of respondents' preferences, followed by the US (27.6 per cent) and the UK (9.5 per cent).

The declining interest in the UK, down by 11.34 per cent from the previous survey, may be attributed to policy changes such as the withdrawal of the dependent visa policy. Additionally, not being the most preferred study abroad destination, the US Embassy in India had recently reported that Indian students made up the highest number of its international student body, surpassing China in 2023.

Rising interest in EU driven by affordability, quality education and job opportunities

Within the EU, destinations like Germany (32.6 per cent), Ireland (3.9 per cent), France (3.3 per cent), and others (9 per cent) are gaining traction among Indian students. This shift shows a growing preference for Europe, driven by its reputation for affordable, high-quality education and more industrial opportunities post-study.

'Better Jobs' emerged as the top motivator for studying abroad, followed by 'Quality Education' and 'Permanent Residency.' Around 45.7 per cent of respondents felt that studying abroad would improve their employability, bring better exposure to global job markets, and provide opportunities for professional growth and development.

Most study abroad aspirants are fresh graduates and engineers

The report highlighted that the majority of study abroad aspirants hold engineering degrees, with BTech graduates (44 per cent) being the largest cohort, followed by BCom (19 per cent), BSc (15 per cent), and BA (10 per cent) graduates.

In terms of work experience, the majority of study abroad aspirants (44 per cent) were fresh graduates, 23 per cent had 0-2 years of experience, 19 per cent had 2-6 years of experience, while only 14 per cent had more than six years of work experience.

Management degrees most sought-after programmes abroad

Around 55.6 per cent of the respondents aimed to study management, expressing their aim to bolster leadership capabilities and aim for the C-suite. Computer Science and IT was the second most popular (28.7 per cent), followed by more traditional options of engineering and medical science degrees.

Financial considerations

Middle-class families, comprising 41.1 per cent of respondents, formed a significant portion of aspirants, with an education budget ranging from Rs 16 to 25 lakhs. The second-largest group of 40.4 per cent were those with a budget between Rs 26 to 50 lakh. This showed a preference towards more affordable destinations that come with blended learning options.

The report also found that even with budget constraints, education loans remained the preferred financing option for 66.5 per cent of respondents, while 33.5 per cent said they had access to self-funding.

Ankur Nyati, President of Study Abroad at upGrad, viewed the report as indicative of the increasing acceptance of overseas education in India. Nyati said, "Fueled by economic proliferation and unprecedented blended learning models, this is an opportune time for our nation to become the largest talent economy and mobilise a hyper-skilled workforce for the global jobs of tomorrow."

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First Published: Feb 14 2024 | 5:06 PM IST

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