TOPICS: Nepali students and foreign allure

According to a recent report of the Institute of International Education (IIE), the total enrolment of Nepali students in the United States, which was 6,061 in 2005/06, has increased by 27.9 per cent to 7,754 in the American academic year 2006/07. Nepal’s position as the 13th leading country for foreign students in the US indicates an impressive growth among Nepali students to study abroad, especially in the US, in the last few years. And this trend will surely continue in the years to come, since everyone has a dream of international standard master’s or doctorate degrees.

In many ways, international education is a necessity as the educational standards in universities and colleges at home are hardly at par with foreign educational institutes. Along with bright academic prospects, opportunities for research, teaching, assistantships, practical training and work experience increased the chances of being a global citizen. This made the choice of studying abroad all the more alluring. Nevertheless, not all students get a chance to pursue advanced academic degrees in the developed nations.

One can see countless ads in the newspapers and the electronic media extolling the virtues of advanced studies in foreign countries. Institutes under ECAN (Educational Consultants Association of Nepal) umbrella or representative bodies of other universities in foreign countries, as shown by the increase in advertising, counsel students who wish to go abroad for further studies. They help students meet pre-enrolment and other academic requirements. Seminars, interactions, and various spot counselling have been enormously helpful in preparing students for overseas study, and in selecting best options for them. There is no doubt that such events have helped both the institutes and aspiring students to achieve their desired goals.

Equally, one cannot deny the existence of numerous mediocre institutes coming up with beguiling ads just to make a quick buck and there have been many instances

of students being cheated by unauthorised agents. This may not always be the case, but such incidents cannot be overlooked either. Many of such educational consultancies are good, but not all are reliable. Above all, some of these institutes not only fleece students by charging exorbitant counselling fees but also lack skilled counsellors to guide the students to find the right kind of institutions.

Therefore, the students before taking any leap of faith should scrupulously choose the right kind of counselling agent — especially before applying for further studies abroad. Good educational guidance can help students enrol in the right institute and have a promising career ahead. Moreover, counselling agents also lessen the burden of rigorous documentation process that is part and parcel of applying for foreign studies. Proper educational counselling is just the right door that opens up countless possibilities — acting as a bridge between the existing opportunities and students’ aspirations.