Once you have made the big decision of studying abroad, you are bound to be inundated with a host of queries and doubts regarding the course, university and most importantly whether your foreign degree will have any impact in your career or not and if so, how?

Here we have Karan Gupta, education consultant, who demystifies studying abroad for you in a range of questions. For an aspirant who aims to get the best global education, Gupta offers solutions to common queries like how to choose the right university, the skills required to be accepted at a foreign university and also whether your foreign degree gives you an edge in the Indian job market.

Below are the edited excerpts:

Careers360:  What are the most common queries from students wanting to study abroad?
Karan Gupta: Students are often confused about the course of study and what subjects they can choose. They are also concerned about the scholarships and loan options, as well as job opportunities after graduation. Most students today take loans to study abroad in the hope that they can stay back and work in a foreign country after graduation. 

Careers360:   How does an aspirant choose a university?
Karan Gupta: Students should choose a university based on their interests and career aspirations. You can use several factors while finalising universities and these factors include location of the university, tuition fees and scholarship options, job placements and so on. Students should always speak to alumni and current students before making a final decision. 

Careers360:   What kind of skills other than academic do universities abroad expect from an applicant?
Karan Gupta: Universities abroad prefer students who have several extra-curricular activities, which include participation in sports, elocution, debates, drama, leadership activities and so on.

Careers360Does a student have an edge in the job sector in India if he gets a degree from a foreign university?
Karan Gupta: In some cases, yes. Many companies in India prefer students who have studied abroad and have excellent communication skills. However, students may not get higher salaries than their counterparts in India.

Careers360:  How do you get in touch with the Indian students studying abroad?

Best way is to send a mail to your university of choice and ask them to put you in touch with current students. Alternatively, you can contact the India club or International student clubs on campus and ask the presidents to put you in touch with the current students.
Careers360:  Is it possible to work while studying? How feasible is that?

Karan Gupta:In the US, students can work 20 hours per week on campus. In most other countries, students can also work 20 hours per week without any on-campus restrictions. It is generally not difficult to find part-time jobs and students can earn enough money to pay for their personal expenses and sometimes even living expenses. However,  you cannot pay your tuition fees with that income.

Careers360Is a three-year Bachelors degree enough to pursue Masters from a foreign university?
Karan Gupta: In the US and Canada, most universities need 16 years of education while universities in the UK and Australia generally accept a three-year Indian degree.


Careers360: What is the maximum one should spend in getting a degree from a foreign university?
Karan Gupta
: Generally you can expect to spend around Rs.20 lakhs per year for pursuing your education abroad. 

Careers360: When should an apirant start applying?
Karan Gupta: At least 1 year prior to your intended start date. 

Careers360:  How important is an SOP in the selection process?
Karan Gupta: The statement of purpose (SOP) is a very important document that allows the student to talk directly to the admissions committee. Universities give a lot of importance to SOP as through this document the admission committee learns about your career goals, aspirations, reasons for studying in that university, and so on. 

Careers360:  Where do we get guidance to write an SOP?
Karan Gupta: Several Internet websites and search engines will show you sample SOPs. However, be sure NEVER to copy any of these documents but instead use them for guidelines and examples. 

Careers360: Is it true that foreign universities provide more flexibility than their Indian counterparts? How so?
Karan Gupta
: Universities in the US allow students to take courses in different disciplines (mainly at the undergraduate level) and then decide on their final major. Students can sample several courses before actually choosing one and in most cases students are allowed to major in up to three different degrees at the same time. 

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