StudyLink logoHome
Students on a university campus

A guide to studying abroad for students in India

Busy university library

This article is a guide for students currently in India looking to study abroad. Please see our India directory if you are interested in studying in India.

Universities across the world have seen a constant rise in Indian students applying for degrees. The main reason behind this trend is that an international degree and experience that comes with that will be more respected and valued in India and abroad than someone who has only studied at an Indian university. Additionally, international universities can provide top-quality education, better facilities, and most importantly they focus on research more than India does. 

Whilst recent events including Brexit and America’s 2016 Presidential elections have led several countries to enact more restrictive immigration and visa policies, studying abroad as an Indian student is still very much a realistic option. If you choose to study abroad as an Indian student, you will just need to be prepared to apply and meet the requirements expected of you, and the process may be slightly longer.

Why Study Abroad?

Here are the key differences between studying in India and studying abroad:

  1. Independence: Living abroad will give you the opportunity to learn how to handle living independently. You will be solely responsible for doing things like making your bed and cleaning your home, cooking, and paying bills. When it comes to handling finances, you will learn how to manage and plan them effectively.
  2. Diversity: One of the main reasons why you should look to study abroad. As an international student, you will be able to interact with students from across countries and cultures that you may never have been otherwise exposed to. The multi-cultural experience will help you learn about different traditions and lifestyles, and encourage you to make an effort to connect with people from all walks of life and backgrounds as an adult.
  3. Academic Variety: Your university journey abroad is quite unlike your experience at an Indian university. At an undergraduate level in the US, you can team Anthropology with Music to gain deeper insight into an indigenous community or choose an elective unrelated to your major to tap into newer fields of research. You can take greater initiative to design your course based on your learning objectives. Additionally, you can double major and complete two degrees in two separate academic areas.
  4. Self-Motivated Learning: Many universities have a holistic curriculum designed to let students learn continuously and collaborate with other students. Some universities also focus on independent research, as well as classroom presentations and engagement programs. The curriculum aims for students to take more responsibility for their own learning through active participation, as professors allow students to take charge of their own study.

Where can I Study Abroad in English? 

Aside from major English-speaking countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, Europe is quickly becoming a top region for studying in English, even in countries where English is not the local language. Bachelor’s degrees taught in English have increased since 2010 in Europe. East Asia is also becoming a popular destination for international English-speaking students. English is the common language of instruction at private colleges and many government universities in popular countries for study abroad, for example Singapore and Malaysia.

If you do choose to study in English but it isn’t your first language, you may be asked to provide evidence of your language proficiency. To do this, you will normally be asked to take an English language test. For more information about the different types of English language tests and what they can contain, see our English Language Testing for International Students article.

Study Abroad Scholarships for Indian Students

If you are considering studying abroad, you will need to think about how you are planning to fund your studies. One option available is scholarships. There are three common types of scholarships offered by universities to international students:

  1. Need-based Scholarships – Scholarships given to high-achieving international students who want to study abroad but do not have the money to fund their education. Some US colleges offer a program called “need-blind admissions” that promises fully funded education for students from poor socio-economic backgrounds.
  2. Merit-based Scholarships – Students are awarded these scholarships based on their academic records, including athletic and artistic talents and extra-curricular activity records.
  3. Specific Scholarships – There are many scholarships available for international students in countries abroad which are specific to certain programmes and courses.

Researching and applying for funding and scholarships as an international student can be confusing if you don’t have any previous experience. If you would like to learn more about the process, our funding and scholarships for international students article can provide more information and help to make the procedure less daunting.

Which Country is Best for Study Abroad for Indian Students?

The number of Indian students opting for study abroad grew from 440,000 in 2016 to 770,000 in 2019. By 2024, the number is forecast to grow to roughly 1.8 million. Below are three of the best countries to study abroad for Indian students:

United States of America

Why Study Abroad in the USA: Universities in the United States have been ranked as some of the best in the world. They combine academics with research and extracurricular activities, preparing students for professional life. International students have a high satisfaction rate because universities provide numerous student support services. Completing your degree in the United States will impress potential employers; you are seen as a problem solver with high technical knowledge. Indian students planning to study in the United States can apply for many scholarships.

Tuition Fees: Rs 25–30 lakh in a private college, Rs 15–23 lakh in a public college per year

Cost of Living: Rs 9 Lakh on average per year

United Kingdom

Why Study Abroad in the UK: For Indian students, studying abroad in the United Kingdom will feel like home – British Indians are the single largest ethnic minority in the UK with a population of 1.4 million. The United Kingdom is also home to some of the best universities in the world. In terms of career prospects, you can reside in the United Kingdom for up to two years after graduation with a graduate route visa. Unlike in the United States, you will not require a sponsor to get this visa, meaning you can apply before even receiving a job offer after graduation.

Tuition Fees: Rs 4 Lakh-25 Lakh per year

Cost of Living: Rs 12 Lakh on average per year


Why Study Abroad in Canada: English is the most commonly spoken language in the vast majority of Canada, so you will be able to easily communicate with people. Canada is also one of the safest countries in the world, and has a diverse student population from all across the globe, so you can easily make new friends. Generally, studying in Canada is cheaper than in the United States and United Kingdom.

Tuition Fees: Rs 10-15 lakh for undergraduate course, Rs 8-20 lakh for postgraduate course per year

Cost of Living: Rs 7 Lakh on average per year

Which is the Cheapest Country to Study Abroad for Indian Students?

Higher education can be an expensive undertaking, especially if you are going to study abroad. In addition to tuition fees, you will also need to calculate the cost of living. These differ from country to country and even city to city. It is important that you calculate all possible expenses while thinking about your budget.


Tuition cost for study abroad in Germany is free in public universities, especially for master’s degrees. Germany offers many opportunities for students to do high-quality research. The country has partnerships with local and international research institutes, and provides modern facilities for its researchers. Many institutions offer scholarships and financial support for talented international students, and some special programs are dedicated to Indian students only. Students studying in Germany usually have only a minor semester fee of approximately Rs 40,000 to pay as tuition cost.


Italy is a great option for Indian students to study abroad because it offers low tuition fees of Rs 1.5-2 Lakh per year and low living cost of only Rs 60,000 per month. Italy offers some of the world’s best education-work programs in culturally related fields including Fashion, Art and Architecture. Italy, in the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, is a popular tourist destination and has many World Heritage Sites. Italian cities are full of history, so studying here would be an enjoyable cultural journey. Italy offers many opportunities for fun nights out and local travel on weekends, as well as an easy commute to most other European countries.


International students can study for free at public universities in Norway. Norway offers international students a high quality of life. The stunning natural beauty and the fact that most Norwegians are fluent in English make it easy for Indian students to live comfortably in Norway. But you must keep in mind that although public education in Norway is free, the cost of accommodation and other living expenses are quite high in Norway.

Still not sure where to study abroad? We have extensive advice and guidance on every major study abroad destination so you can research your options carefully.

Most Popular Courses for Indian International Students

If you are interested in studying abroad, you will need to consider what subject you want to study. There are many options available to you, but a few countries do have specialisms and are more popular for certain subject areas than others. This will vary from country to country, and even from university to university. For example, Italy is very popular for fashion, whereas USA and UK are popular for science, engineering and nursing. These are some of the most popular courses for Indian students to study abroad:

You will also find there is a broad selection of course subjects for international students wishing to study abroad.

Remember to prepare yourself for life in your chosen study abroad country. Research and identify utilities which you can’t find in that country so that you can take them from home. When you study abroad, you’ll be surprised by the differences in culture. At first, it may feel strange but you will settle into your new life soon. Try to engage with campus life regularly. Living in a student residence hall, for example, allows you to meet people from other countries and learn about their lifestyles. This is how lifelong friendships are formed and you can find comfort in support from friends while studying abroad.

When selecting study abroad destinations, keep in mind that studying abroad will affect you differently from studying at a local university. Analyse your needs and reflect thoroughly; you’ll be able to make the right choice for yourself. No matter how you look at it, studying abroad will be the experience of a lifetime!

If you are nervous about studying abroad and the potential homesickness that it might bring, have a look at our article about what is culture shock and how to cope when studying abroad.

Related topics

Search for courses now

International study advice

Read our key advice article to help you make the best decision for your education and start your International study adventure.

Person holding a compass
How to choose the ideal study destination for you

In this article we look at how to approach choosing where in the world you would like to study.

World map on a blackboard
Deciding to study abroad: The first steps

Read StudyLink's suggestions on your first steps when deciding where to study abroad, with helpful tips to make your decision easier.

Students reading a book
English Language Testing for International Students

Find out more about English language tests, your options and what is required as an overseas student.

Lady holding bank notes
How much does it really cost to study abroad in 2024? take a detailed look into the costs of studying abroad and all the aspects that you should budget for when embarking on your studies.

A visa document
10 Common Student Visa Question

We answer 10 common questions about applying for a student visa to help make your visa application quick and easy.

A visa document and a world map
International Study Visas

Find out more about international student visas for studying abroad, as well as how, where and when to apply for yours.

A piggy bank with coins
Funding and Scholarships for International Students

Find out more about funding and scholarships for international students, and what financial assistance might be available to you.

Person selecting a book from a shelf
How to choose the right course for you

How to choose a course that fits you? Check our top tips on choosing which course is best for you to help you make an informed decision.

See more international study advice

Sign up to

Sign up to, the home of quality study abroad advice.

Sign up now
Students with books and test tubes
Search for courses