The Rise of the Next Leading Study Destinations for Indian Students in 2024

Key takeaways:

  • Traditional study destinations for Indian students are expanding beyond the US, Canada, UK, and Australia in 2024.
  • Reasons for Indian students looking beyond the traditional destinations include streamlined visa processes, diverse program offerings, rising income opportunities, and the prospect of gaining international work experience.
  • Emerging study destinations such as Dubai, Spain, France, Germany, and Ireland offer unique opportunities for academic excellence, cultural immersion, streamlined visa processes, and career prospects.

For decades, the well-trodden path for ambitious Indian students seeking a global education led to established powerhouses like the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia. However, times are changing.

However, the landscape is shifting. In 2024, a growing number of Indian students are venturing beyond these familiar shores, driven by a confluence of economic realities, policy shifts, visa challenges, accommodation crunch,  expanding horizons, and new perspectives.

Which countries could be the next top study destination among Indian students this 2024?

Beyond the Big 4

This year, destinations like Dubai, Spain, France, Germany, and Ireland are emerging as hidden gems, offering not just academic excellence but also unique cultural experiences, streamlined visa processes, and exciting career opportunities.

Dubai, the jewel of the Middle East, beckons Indian students with its vibrant cosmopolitan environment and a job market that’s expanding at an unprecedented rate. In recent years, Dubai has quietly transformed into a major educational hub, attracting a surge of Indian students. Between 2021 and 2022 alone, over 164,000 Indians flocked to the city to pursue their academic dreams. The allure doesn’t just end there; the streamlined visa process, taking a mere 15-20 days, is a game-changer. With accommodation options ranging from on-campus facilities to shared apartments, Dubai provides a dynamic setting for academic pursuit. Meanwhile, Spain, with its rich history and lively culture, emerges as a top choice for those seeking a holistic academic experience. The cultural immersion is particularly enticing for students interested in tourism, architecture, and international business. With a manageable visa processing time of 30-60 days and a reasonable cost of living, cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville offer a diverse array of programs, from law and arts to STEM fields and Spanish language courses.

France has been gaining more attention recently with its policy changes aiming to welcome more international students into the country. Currently, there are approximately 10,000 Indian students in the country. France, with its streamlined visa process, unveils a spectrum of opportunities. Postgraduates enjoy the privilege of a 5-year short-stay Schengen visa, and short-term visas take a mere 6 days. Paris, a hub of innovation, beckons with programs in engineering, fashion, hospitality, dessert making, MBA, data analytics, marketing, and a range of English-taught postgraduate courses.

Another country that can be the next leading study destination for Indian students is Germany. Germany offers tuition-free education at many public universities. Beyond affordability, Germany boasts world-class research opportunities, making it a magnet for those delving into engineering, science, and technology. The cost of living, notably, remains reasonable compared to other European counterparts. The latest data from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany for the Winter Semester 2022-23: Total Indian Students revealed that the total number of Indian students hit 42,997, a 26% growth in the past year.

Joining the list of the next study destinations is Ireland. The country, with its inviting atmosphere and straightforward visa process, emerges as a tech hub with a heart. Focusing on technology and innovation, Ireland offers stellar programs in engineering, computer science, and business. The English language of instruction adds a layer of comfort, making Ireland a welcoming destination for Indian students. This is evident in the recorded 4,735 Indian students currently studying in the country, marking a 17.8% increase from the academic year 2021/22.

Reasons for Looking Beyond

In the pursuit of knowledge and personal growth, Indian students are increasingly turning their gaze beyond the Big 4 and their homeland. The reasons for this shift are compelling and multifaceted. Streamlined visa processes play a pivotal role by simplifying procedures, removing unnecessary barriers, and ensuring a smoother transition for students venturing abroad. 

The allure of studying abroad extends beyond the academic realm with the diverse range of programs available. It’s not just about the degrees conferred but the plethora of academic offerings catering to various interests that other countries offer as well. This diversity empowers students to pursue their passions, fostering a well-rounded education that goes beyond traditional boundaries. Rising income opportunities, including part-time work during studies and lucrative post-graduation employment options, add to the appeal. Moreover, the allure of gaining international work experience post-studies enhances the global employability of Indian students, making studying abroad an investment in a future brimming with possibilities.

Moving Forward

While choosing a study abroad destination is a personal decision, these five options offer compelling reasons for Indian students to consider them in 2024. From streamlined visa processes to diverse program offerings and post-study work opportunities, these destinations promise an enriching experience.

These are just a taste of the exciting possibilities that await Indian students venturing beyond the traditional study abroad paths. So, embrace the spirit of adventure, research these hidden gems, and embark on a journey that will shape your future, both academically and culturally. Remember, the world is your oyster, and sometimes, the most unexpected destinations hold the greatest treasures. (RAGHWA GOPAL)


Raghwa Gopal is a serial entrepreneur, academic, and software engineer by profession. Drawing from extensive business experience, Raghwa joined MSM from British Columbia’s Innovate BC, serving as president and CEO and helping companies start and scale to fuel technology development, commercialization, and adoption. As Accelerate Okanagan’s (AO) former CEO, he was a driving force in development of the tech sector, with a CA$1.6-billion economic contribution.


Raghwa studied at New Zealand’s Central Institute of Technology, Australia’s Collier MacMillan School, and the University of the South Pacific. He has strong ties to higher education as a former lecturer of business at UBC Okanagan, computer science at the School of Arts and Sciences, and entrepreneur-in-residence at Okanagan College School of Business.

His board memberships span across multiple organizations, such as the University of British Columbia, the India Canada Innovation Council, the Women’s Enterprise Centre, and the Province of British Columbia’s Emerging Economy Task Force.



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