As the world is constantly developing, students also find ways to upgrade their careers by taking postgraduate studies abroad. In 2017, the population of international students in the world reached more than 5.3 million, which is a big jump from 2 million in the year 2000. Most of the students were enrolled in major destination countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, Germany and Russia. These international students were mostly from India, China, Korea, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and other Asian countries.
In a 2020 Statista report, Australia had the largest population of international students pursuing higher education at 31.3%, with Canada coming in second with 23.7%, the United Kingdom in third with 22.3%, New Zealand in fourth place with 13.5%, and France in fifth place with 13.4%. This is based on the total population of international students focusing on postgraduate studies.
Factors that International Students Consider When Choosing a Program
Even before a student sets foot in another country, everything has to be settled first—the higher educational institution, visa, accommodation and most importantly, the program to study. There are certain factors that students must bear in mind while choosing the best program to pursue abroad.
Leads to Field of Study
Postgraduate studies are meant to create a clear path for a student’s dream career in life. New skills are learned, and students can specialize or train under a particular subject, with the intention of gaining employment upon graduation. Students will also be able to create a professional network with experts in the particular field of study, which comes in handy in the near future.
Quality of Education
The rankings of a college or university matter a lot for international students. By checking each preferred institution’s quality of education, a student can compare and decide among the different higher education institutions. Other sub-factors with regards to the quality of education are the size of classes, teaching staff, type, and schedule of instruction.
Cost of Program
One of the major factors that students consider in looking for a school or program is the cost. This is usually the deal-breaker as it can be expensive to fully finance studies abroad. What most international students do is look into bursaries, scholarships, and grants to make their study dreams come true.
High Graduate Employment Rate
Of course, the main reason why students opt to engage in further studies is to have a better career with a competitive salary. In companies and organizations, employers always choose applicants who have completed postgraduate studies. More skills are developed and learning is highly specialized compared to those who only finish a degree.
Leading Courses Through the Years
As many students venture abroad to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees, there are programs commonly taken by foreign students. Business and Management tops the list, with international students usually enrolling in the best institutions such as Harvard University, INSEAD and London Business School. Leadership and Administration is a second choice, while Computer Sciences lands on the third spot. Completing the list are postgraduate programs specializing in Economics, International Relations, Psychology and Engineering.
Top Programs During the Pandemic
With the pandemic still in tow, there is a major decline in the number of international students enrolling at present. There are still travel restrictions and financial burdens due to the economic instability brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over a million international students, who were already enrolled in the US during the spring semester, have gone home and are uncertain when they will go back to the US. The scenario is also the same for top study destinations such as Australia, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.
With several factors considered during the COVID-19 crisis, there is also a shift in the programs that international students partake in. Being practical entails enrolling in a program that has a clear and profitable pathway in the end. Degrees focusing on the performing arts may be less chosen than postgraduate studies specializing in professional and skills-related programs. The popular postgraduate courses international students choose at present are Business, Computer Science, Healthcare, Psychology and Counseling, and Education.
The pandemic has changed a lot of things where learning is concerned. MOOC, or massive open online courses, have emerged making students take micromasters (set of graduate courses) online for their convenience and safety. Blended learning is the new normal. Institutions and education partners are in this together to provide quality education for international students to still pursue their dreams.
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