Emerging Study Abroad Destinations
Updated on Sep 11, 2014 - 12:39 p.m. IST by Nimesh Chandra
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Emerging Study Abroad Destinations: In view of the rising cost of education and macro economic factors, the favourite places to study overseas have also given way to emerging Study Abroad Destinations. The best of the universities are competing globally to attract students. However, students are making their choices judiciously looking at critical aspects that matter to them. As the study destinations increase, the complexities too grow while deciding on private or public institutions; course offerings, cost of living, tuition fees, job prospects, culture, language and so on. But, by enriching oneself with information, one does manage to conquer the confusion. The result is that we have more nations in the consideration set of students.   

Below are few emerging study abroad destinations that you can explore:



A country with 9.7 million people and 95,700 lakes, Sweden is exemplary in research and innovation. While it has autonomous institutions such as Chalmers University of Technology and Stockholm School of Economics, there are 14 public universities and 20 university colleges funded by the government. Karolinska Institute is one among the top 50 institutes in the world. Studyinsweden.se is your one-stop information centre for higher education studies in Sweden. Swedish are known for their tremendous vitality in food production, which is reflected in their cuisine. In plenty are the berries and mushrooms – not to forget the mussels, farmed oysters, shellfish from the west coast and of course fresh fish, which are quite popular among students.


Programmes & fees

One may opt for Bachelor’s (3 years), Master’s (1 or 2 year) or doctoral programmes in business, humanities or in natural sciences. Most programmes conclude with a degree thesis or project. The academic year is divided into two semesters: Autumn (August to mid-January) and Spring which runs up to the beginning of June. Universities set their own tuition fees, and they range from SEK 80,000 to 140,000 per academic year for most subjects barring medicine that is on the higher side. But the scholarships covering living cost and tuition fee balance it out. The average living expenses amount to SEK 7,300 per month (Rs 65000).

If you will be studying in Sweden for more than three months and you are not an EU citizen, you need a residence permit (else you may need a visa). For a residence permit to study in Sweden, apply online @ www.migrationsverket.se/


Mandatory requirements

  • Admitted to a fulltime course (Statement of admission or letter of acceptance by the university)

  • Valid Passport

  • Means to support your stay and studies (Bank account statement or Scholarship evidence)

  • Part of course fee paid in advance

  • Residence Permit (Fee for studies - Adults: SEK 1,000 or INR 9,000)

Top Institutes

Karolinska Institute

Uppsala University

Lund University

Stockholm University


Switzerland is built on a complex interplay between the Confederation, the cantons and the communes. You can pursue higher education at 10 cantonal universities and 2 Federal Institutes of Technology, at the 8 practice-oriented universities of applied sciences and at the universities of teacher education.

Switzerland pays much attention to R&D, which is evident in being among the most competitive nations globally in INSEAD’s Global Innovation Index, Global Competitiveness Report and the Innovation Union Scoreboard. The quality of life is very high and so is the employment rate of university graduates. Multinational firms that have their origin here include Nestle, Novartis, Roche, and Swatch – the world’s largest watch-making company. Students prefer to eat variety of pasta, sandwiches, salads or a birchermüesli and love to hog on Swiss chocolates, cheese and cookies. 


Education system and programmes

Swiss institutes in higher education offer programmes as diverse as Engineering, Business Administration, Hotel Management, language etc. Attuned to the ‘Bologna system’; Swiss higher education comprises undergraduate (3 years) and postgraduate studies (1.5 to 2 years for a Master degree, and then PhD). The academic year is divided into two semesters: Autumn (mid September to end-December) and Spring which runs up to the beginning of June from mid-February.


Cost of education and living

Studying in Switzerland is not cheap, as one would need anywhere between CHF 19,000 and 29,000 per year (between around Rs 12.5 to 19.5 lakhs) depending on the location of the university and personal needs. This amount covers housing, food, clothing, health insurance etc. However, annual tuition fees at Swiss Universities (around CHF 1,200 or Rs 81,000) are low compared to living standards. Food is quite expensive and a burger, a soft drink and coffee combo at a fast food joint, could cost you CHF 10. The Swiss Government, through the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS), awards various postgraduate scholarships to foreign researchers from all fields. It has also set up an international scholarship programme called “ESKAS”.


Working part-time and extension

While in Switzerland, you will be able to apply for part-time working permit. The procedure generally needs the support of the university and you will need to get permission from the specific Swiss Canton. Also, as a general rule, if you receive support from a Swiss University for further studies, or from a private business for working in Switzerland, you are eligible for extending your stay. To get a visa, one must have a letter of acceptance from a Swiss university. Then one needs to request a visa through the Swiss representations with key documents.

Top Institutes

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

University of Zurich

University of Geneva

University of Basel


Republic of Korea is a perfect breeding ground for high-tech and creative fields. Globally, Korea is known for its supremacy in the IT sector and consumer electronics, which is evident by the presence of firms such as LG and Samsung. The country has a robust economy driven by manufacturing and exports and as such the job opportunities are also high. The recent Hallyu boom (popularity of Korean culture particularly pop music, movies and art) has also helped the youth to get familiar with Korea and its education system. Inspired by the traditional belief that the mind and body are one, Korean cuisine, especially bibimbap and kimchi, are fast becoming popular.


The Higher education system

The higher education system comprises universities, industrial and technological universities, open universities, universities of education, junior colleges and others both in the public and private domain. The duration of undergraduate (UG) courses is 4 to 6 years; with Medicine, Oriental Medicine And Dentistry each demanding 6 years of study. There are courses in 30 different majors, including Literature, Law, Theology, Political Science, Economics, Business Administration, Science, Engineering, Agriculture, Music, etc.  The Master’s course is 2 years or more, while a PhD can be completed in 3 years or more.


Low tuition fee & living cost

Korea has comparatively lower cost of education than the US, UK or Canada. The National Universities have a lower tuition fee component than private universities. A postgraduate course in Humanities in the former would range anywhere between US$ 2500 to 2700 (US$ 2000 to 2300 for UG) per semester but in a private university a similar course would cost US$ 3800 to 4000 per semester (US$ 3000 – 3500 for UG). The average living costs includes expenses on accommodation in a twin-sharing dormitory (US$ 800 for a semester or 5 months), meals (US$ 300 per month) and miscellaneous expenses amounting to US$ 100 a month on account of Internet usage, transportation and insurance.


Mandatory application requirements

  • Certificate of enrollment from the university you are enrolled

  • Valid passport and D-2 Student Visa

  • Means to support your stay and studies (Bank account statement or Scholarship evidence)

  • Application form for registration in person at the Immigration Office with jurisdiction over their place of residence in Korea (within 90 days of arrival)

Top Institutes

Seoul National University

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Pohang University of Science and Technology

Yonsei University


Known for their unique transnational bachelor's degree programmes such as ‘2+1’ twinning and ‘3+0’ degrees, Malaysia has a multiethnic environment with close to 1 lakh international students from 100 countries. The country has over 80 universities, including 20 public and 8 foreign university campuses. Further, there are around 500 institutes- 80% of them private, 75 public community colleges and around 30 polytechnics. Malaysia is considered as the gateway to Asia and it has one of the widest selections of cuisines. This ranges from Malay, Indian Chinese that are very popular to the flavour-rich and distinctive offerings from Peranakan and Eurasian cooking. 


Higher Education

The five public universities in Malaysia are Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia. Making the higher education sector go global is on high priority for Ministry of Higher Education. The qualifications awarded by universities registered under laws related to Malaysian education are governed by Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF). The MQF specifies the minimum credits required for a programme before an academic qualification can be awarded. For instance, for a bachelor degree one needs 120 credits but for a Master’s and PhD obtained by research, there are no given credit values.


Cost of education

On an average, the cost of living is as low as RM12,000 per annum (US$3,750). Owing to the three kinds of institutions, the fee varies substantially. A UG degree in Management costs US$ 8600 to 11,400 in a private Malaysian University while it would cost US$ 13,700 to 24,000 in a Foreign University Branch Campus for three years. Fees are lower in public universities. Similarly, one can get a UK engineering degree (3 years) in Malaysia through a 3+0 franchised degree programme at an estimated RM51,000 (US$ 16,000), whereas the tuition fee of the same 3-year degree programme at the host university in the UK is about RM144,000 (US$45,000). For most, a budget of RM1,200 (US$375) per month is sufficient for a rather comfortable living while studying.


Working part time and scholarships

All international students studying can work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours per week only during semester breaks or holidays of more than 7 days at restaurants, petrol kiosks, mini markets and hotels as long as their student passes remain valid. However, there are certain job positions that one can’t take up such as cashier, singers, masseurs, and musicians.Quite a few scholarships are available for international students. Visit www.studymalaysia.com for more details.


Mandatory application requirements

One needs to apply directly to the top universities in Malaysia in both public and private domain, considering one’s academic pursuit, career objective and budget. The following are needed:

  • International Student Application Form, including accommodation form (if required)

  • Certified copies of all relevant examination results and academic certificates

  • Copy of valid international passport - all pages; copy of identity card and photographs

  • Personal medical health report

  • Application fees (ranging from US$160 to US$250)

  • Visa and Student Pass

Top Institutes

Universiti Malaya

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Universiti Sains Malaysia

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia


After the establishment of the Federation in 1971 comprising 7 emirates namely- Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah; education in the UAE has expanded several fold. There are over 100 higher education institutes (HEI) in UAE in different categories: private, federal (government), for-profit and not-for-profit. Dubai among the six emirates has the largest number of HEIs and has now out-placed the UK in attracting students from the Arab States. It has become the third most popular destination followed by the US and France for students from the region. The maximum numbers of foreign students in UAE are from India followed by Oman and Jordan. With every type of food available in the UAE, inhabiting over 200 nationalities, students do not feel out of place at all. In fact, everyone looks forward to two unique festivals: the Taste of Dubai Festival at Media City and Gourmet Abu Dhabi every year.


Higher education System

The federal HEIs are in different locations for example, UAE University is in Al Ain, Zayed University has its presence in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) operate 16 campuses in six places. Each institution offers Foundation, Bachelor and Master Programmes. Some universities such as UAE University offer PhDs, while HCTs offer Diploma/Higher Diploma programs. The CAA-licensed institutions, which are on the rise, are private entities, regulated by standards of the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Non CAA-licensed free zone branch campuses are institutions operating under emirate legislation, but without a federal license.

A great majority of these institutions are branch campuses of international institutions, offering education toward degrees awarded by the home campus. The popular academic programmes among international students are: Business Administration followed by Engineering and Medicine including Health. Science is the least preferred among expatriates. Other programmes include Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Law, Fine Arts, Design, Communication, Pharmacy and Islamic Studies.   


Cost of education and living

Living in the UAE is pretty expensive especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi and the programme fees are also not very cheap. Courses in the UAE are assessed in semester credit hours with each course carrying a certain number of credits, as one completes the course. The cost of each credit hour varies depending on the course one takes up. However, on an average, the annual cost say for a programme in Engineering would cost AED 46,000 in University of Sharjah. An MBA in UAE University at Abu Dhabi that requires minimum 48 credits has a per credit hour rate of AED 2709 (INR 21.5 lakhs excluding Housing). Housing on a twin-sharing basis would cost anywhere between 6000 to 9000 AED annually.

Mandatory Application Requirements.

  • Valid passport

  • E-form application (fees paid - AED 1120 e-form fees)

  • Copy of the establishment card and travel insurance

  • Student visa is mandatory and one must be sponsored by a UAE institution as recognized by the UAE Ministry of Education (www.moe.gov.ae/english). Most student visas are valid for a year. One should apply through the immigration authorities. For details one may visit www.uaeinteract.com/travel/visas.

Top Institutes

United Arab Emirates University

American University of Sharjah

Abu Dhabi University

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