Why do Nepalese students choose to study abroad

Why do Nepalese students choose to study abroad

Why do Nepalese students choose to study abroad
Ashma Shrestha

Studying abroad has become increasingly popular among Nepalese students in recent years. This trend can be attributed to several reasons, including the desire for higher-quality education, greater employment opportunities, and exposure to different cultures. 

Nepal, a small South Asian country, is still in its developmental stage and lacks adequate resources to offer quality education to its students. This has resulted in a large number of Nepalese students seeking education abroad. Furthermore, studying abroad offers greater opportunities for personal and professional growth. It allows students to learn about different cultures, improve communication skills, and establish international networks. 

Nepalis have been spending billions to go to foreign countries on student visas. The amount students spent on foreign education increased by 171.2 per cent to Rs 67.7 billion in the last fiscal year compared to 2020-2021, according to the Nepal Rastra Bank data.

In this article, we will explore why Nepalese students choose to study abroad and the challenges they face.

Challenges of the Nepalese Education System

  • Although Nepal has several reputed institutions, the seats available are limited, and competition is high. This means that many deserving students need help to secure admission. 
  • Nepal has experienced political instability, which has led to disruptions in the education system.
  • The job market in Nepal is highly competitive, and Nepalese students face significant challenges in securing suitable employment opportunities. There is a significant gap between the skills required by employers and the skills possessed by Nepalese students. 
  • The delay in publishing results by the Education Board increases the chances of students losing a year as they might not be able to pursue higher education in their own country.


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Reasons for choosing abroad for higher education

Limited Access to Quality Education

The first reason is Nepal's limited access to quality education. Although Nepal has several reputed institutions, the number of seats available is limited, and competition is high. This means that many deserving students need help to secure admission. Studying abroad gives Nepalese students access to top-ranked universities and colleges worldwide, with better facilities and experienced faculty members.

Studying abroad can provide Nepalese students with a wealth of opportunities and advantages. It allows them to gain exposure to a broader range of academic and cultural perspectives, which can broaden their horizons and enhance their education. Nepalese students can access the latest academic research and knowledge and benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and technologies by studying at top-ranked universities and colleges worldwide.

Availability of specialised programs

Studying abroad allows Nepalese students to pursue specialised programs unavailable in Nepal. For example, many foreign universities offer programs in fields like environmental science, renewable energy, and public health. This allows students to gain a competitive edge in their field of study and expand their knowledge and skills.

Personal Growth Development

Studying abroad exposes students to different cultures and ways of life, which can broaden their perspectives and understanding of the world. It provides opportunities for cultural exchange, learning new languages, and making international connections. This can foster greater empathy, tolerance, and appreciation for diversity.

Living in a foreign country can also test one's character and resilience. Students may face challenges such as language barriers, cultural differences, homesickness, and adapting to a new academic and social environment. Overcoming these challenges can help build self-confidence, independence, and the ability to persevere in adversity.

Furthermore, studying abroad can provide opportunities for personal exploration and self-discovery. It can be a time for students to reflect on their values, beliefs, and goals and to develop a greater sense of identity and purpose. Students may also have the chance to try new activities, hobbies, and experiences that they may have yet to be exposed to in their home country.

Better Career Opportunities

Studying abroad also allows students to learn about different industries, business practices, and technologies, which can be helpful in various fields.

Furthermore, studying abroad can help Nepalese students build valuable networks and connections in their fields of interest. Students have the chance to connect with peers, professors, and professionals in their industry, which can lead to valuable internships, job opportunities, and mentorship relationships. Many universities also have strong alumni networks, which can provide students with additional resources and support as they begin their careers.

Studying abroad also allows students to improve their language skills, which is increasingly essential in today's globalised economy. Many multinational companies and organisations require employees who can speak multiple languages and deeply understand different cultures.

Access to Research and Development Activities

Access to research and development opportunities is crucial for students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). International universities prioritising research and development often provide students with the latest equipment, technologies, and resources to conduct high-quality research.

Studying abroad can also give students access to cutting-edge research facilities and laboratories unavailable in their home countries. This can enable students to learn new techniques, conduct previously impossible experiments, and collaborate with fellow researchers worldwide.

Furthermore, working with renowned professors and researchers in their fields of interest can help students build professional networks and gain valuable industry connections. These connections can open up opportunities for internships, research collaborations, and even employment after graduation.

Availability of Scholarship 

Many scholarships and financial aid programs are available for Nepalese students who wish to study abroad. This financial assistance makes it easier for students to pursue their education abroad without worrying about the high costs of tuition, accommodation, and living expenses. Universities, government, and private organisations offer these scholarships, which are awarded based on merit, need, and other criteria.

Some of the most popular international scholarships for Nepalese students include the Fulbright Scholarship, the Chevening Scholarship, the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, and the Commonwealth Scholarship. These scholarships cover a range of expenses, including tuition, accommodation, and living expenses, and are highly competitive, with many applicants vying for a limited number of awards.

There are also many other financial aid programs available for Nepalese students, including grants, loans, and work-study programs. These programs are designed to help students cover the costs of their education and living expenses. They can be an excellent option for students not qualifying for traditional scholarships.

Nepal - Australia Visa Trend

Based on official data from mid-February to mid-June of this year, 43,537 Nepali students were granted No Objection Certificates (NOC) by the Nepalese government to pursue higher education in Australia. According to government records, Australia has become the top choice for Nepali students in recent years, as over 57% of the 116,595 NOCs issued to Nepali students in the last fiscal year were for studying in Australia.

Interestingly, of the total student visas granted to Nepali students in 2021/22, almost 65% were granted between January and April 2022, after the Australian borders were reopened. Moreover, the grant rate for offshore Nepali students has consistently increased over the last three years.

Nepal's contribution to the Australian international student population is significant and continues to multiply.

Top Study Abroad Destination for Nepalese Students

Here are popular study-abroad destinations for Nepalese students:

  • Australia - With its welcoming environment, quality education, and post-study work opportunities, Australia is a popular choice among Nepalese students.
  • United Kingdom - The UK has a rich history and tradition of higher education, and many Nepalese students are attracted to its universities' prestigious reputation.
  • Canada - Canada is known for its high-quality education, multicultural society, and post-graduation work opportunities, making it an attractive destination for Nepalese students.
  • United States - The US is a top destination for Nepalese students, with many universities and colleges offering various courses.
  • New Zealand - New Zealand's universities offer a range of courses, and its stunning natural scenery and welcoming atmosphere make it a popular destination for Nepalese students.
  • Germany - Germany is renowned for its excellence in engineering, technology, and research, and many Nepalese students choose to study at its top-ranked universities.
  • Japan - Japan is known for its technological advancement, and Nepalese students often choose to study there to gain expertise in fields like robotics and artificial intelligence.

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