Of the 1,044 students taking part in the study, only 20% plan to return to India immediately after studying abroad.
“India is witnessing a generational change where young people are more ambitious than ever to realise their full potential,” said Diwakar Chandiok, INTO’s recruitment director for South Asia.
“Many more want to study and live abroad, and see their place as global citizens ready to contribute and lead in diverse fields from advanced technology to research and innovation.”
A third of participants indicated they would choose their study abroad destination based on post-study work opportunities and quality of education, with 33% saying they are looking to permanently settle abroad or migrate to their study abroad country.
“Quality of education and opportunities to live and work abroad are defining the choices Indian students make in selecting their study abroad universities,” Chandiok added.
The survey found that experience of living in another country, higher quality education and better job prospects at home and overseas with an international degree were the top three motivations to study abroad.
“Improving affordability coupled with a highly competitive educational environment locally, especially for in-demand subjects, is also tempting Indian students to look overseas for quality education and associated benefits,” Chandiok said.
A further 41% said they would still prefer to study overseas, even if the same quality education was offered by Indian universities.
Eight in 10 (84%) respondents said the pandemic had changed the study abroad process for them in some way, with 40% indicating it had made travelling “too difficult” and 31% saying student visas to many study destinations had become “much harder to obtain”.
“Universities and governments in destination countries must work together to ensure all qualifying international students experience a smooth transition from enrolment to relocation to their campuses,” Olivia Streatfeild, CEO of INTO, noted.
“It is important institutions are prepared to meet the changed expectations of students looking for greater returns on their investment”
“It is equally important that institutions are prepared to meet the changed expectations of international students who are looking for greater returns on their investment in the form of employability and skills to succeed.”
INTO CareerFirst programs – the company’s employability scheme launched in 2021 – aim to give students access to expert support, training and work experience, so “they get the head start they need in today’s competitive job market”, Michael Lynas, vice president of INTO CareerFirst, added.
“At INTO, we are fully geared up to support students not just to achieve their academic ambitions, but also to help them go further and faster with their career goals,” Lynas suggested.
The US was the top destination for 31% of respondents, followed by Canada (23%) and the UK (17%). INTO also noted a “sizeable proportion” – 12% – was considering institutions in Asia.