Different countries in the European Union are trying to pitch themselves to Indian students.
For instance, Alexandre Ziegler, French Ambassador to India, said that their country is looking to welcome 10,000 Indian students by 2020, and adds that it can be achieved. The first half of 2017 saw the number of Indian students heading to France increase by 40 percent when compared to the same period last year. In the corresponding period of 2016, 4,500 students from India entered France.
The EU’s estimates reveal that there are about 45,000 Indian students in Europe currently. Although the US retains its spot as a favourite study destination, as around 165,918 students were residing that country in 2015-16, countries in the EU are steadily gaining in popularity with students from India.
On the other hand, the UK was home to 11,300 Indian tier-IV student visa holders, two percent higher than the previous year. In all, there are about 20,000 students pursuing their education in Britain.
Around 14,000 Indian students were enrolled in Germany in fiscal 2015-16. Estimates state that the number of Indian students heading to Germany has been rising by 15-20 percent every year, and it is likely to be maintained this year as well.
Ziegler was quoted by The Economic Times as saying that increasing number of students from India are opting for France, a non-traditional destination, as it is home to some top colleges/universities in disciplines of engineering and business. France also offers international students’ education subsidies.
He said that they offer more than 1,400 courses in English at one of the lowest costs globally. In addition, there are about 400 French companies that have Indian operations, which translates into jobs in those companies. Zeigler added that they eased their visa rules to allow students work part-time for 20 hours a week and is letting those who have completed graduates and masters to stay back in their country for two years in order that they can scout for jobs. Indian students who pass out of French universities and are returning to France are being issued resident permits of five years.
Vignesh Narasimhan Janakiraman, a PhD scholar from the Universite de Bordeaux, a chief technology officer of a young startup by the name Algobiotech, said getting a French doctoral degree added value by advancing his career.
He said that he was impressed by the culture of France and its top-drawer scientific expertise. In turn, the professor overseeing his internship admired his aptitude and potential. Janakiraman said that besides the quality of education, the French quality of life in too floored him.
The other countries of the EU that are vying for the attention of Indian students are Denmark, Italy, Poland and Spain. Thibault Devanlay, counsellor, political affairs at the EU delegation in India, said that the Erasmus scholarship programme granted for higher education in their bloc was attractive for students from India.
Devanlay adds that there were diverse institutions for higher education and costs are competitive in different parts of Europe. With the Erasmus scholarships, options are provided in joint masters’ degrees, which are fully-funded, in different EU member states and other partner countries, he adds.
Apart from Ireland and Malta, nations whose native language is English, other European countries also offer courses in English, said Devanlay
Attracting Indian students in a big way also are Scandinavian countries. Sanjoo Malhotra, who did his masters in international business at Stockholm University 20 years ago, said Sweden was luring many Indian students who want to pursue niche specialisations in technology, medical fields and medic technology. He adds that the methodology was not at all hierarchical and allows students to think in different ways.
Malhotra said that since everyone communicates in English in Sweden, Indians would not face any language problems. He believes that as it is becoming the Silicon Valley of Europe, technology companies are looking to woo Indian IT talent.
It is said that Germany has already become the second-most sought-after destination for Indian students, and is expected to become more popular with them than the UK in few more years.
A spokesperson for The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) said that Germany’s lure as a destination of study got a leg up in recent years owing to its inexpensive tuition rates, masters programmes being taught in English, liberal scholarships and so on for Indian students.
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