Feb 1, 2016 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

India’s Prime Minister’s office recently asked the country’s human resource development ministry to accelerate plans for setting up 10 new private universities aimed at offering students new options for research and innovation across disciplines including information and technology, medicine, agriculture and biotechnology, according to a recent report from the Hindustan Times.  Based on leading US institutions like Stanford and Princeton, the proposed universities will be modern in infrastructure with the potential to further establish India as a world leader in the arena of international education.

With so much progress underway in the world’s most populous democracy, you may be wondering whether studying in India can help you reach your own academic goals. Let’s count down the top six reasons to choose India as your international study destination.

Read more about studying in India.

1. Its Universities Are Well-Ranked...and Climbing

If you’re considering studies in engineering and technology,  in particular, the quality of India’s offerings in these areas are particularly impressive  -- known for their constant pursuit of teaching excellence and boundary-pushing research.

But India’s offerings are far from limited to these fields of studies. From politics to philosophy and biology to business there’s something for everyone in India’s massive higher education system. Which brings us to our next point.

 

2. It’s Home to the World’s Second-Largest Higher Education System

What do you get when you combine 343 universities and 17,000 colleges? The second-largest education system on the planet. Comprising bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, the vastness of the Indian higher education system and its global network of students and faculty directly translates to increased diversity and enhanced opportunities for both academic and personal enrichment.

 

3. Unique Courses Abound

India’s higher education system isn’t just vast in size; it’s also vast in academic offerings. The country’s rich past and vibrant future mean a breadth and depth of courses are available -- from the classic to the cutting edge. In addition to being exposed to the latest frontiers of science and technology, students also have access to traditional subjects, such as Ayurveda, Sanskrit and Hindi.

 4. It’s Affordable

Compared to many of the world’s finest institutions, India’s low cost of education is a bargain. Additionally, various scholarship, loan, and financial schemes are available to offset the cost. But it’s not just less expensive tuition fees which make studying in English a smart financial choice. The cost of living in India is also budget-friendly. How much so? According to Numbeo, rents in the US and UK are 509 percent and 456 percent higher, respectively, than in India.

 

 5. It’s Diversity Extends Beyond Academia

If your goal is to see the world, a visit to India is an amazing start. This large country offers incredible things to see and do -- from the mountains of the Himalayas to remarkable scenic -- and often undiscovered -- beaches like Goa, Lakshadweep and Andamans.

When it comes to hospitality, meanwhile, Indians can’t be beat. Where else can you find a popular saying insisting "Athithi Devo Bhava" or “the guest is God.” Factor in opportunities to explore your spirituality, magnificent history and architecture, mouthwatering cuisine and extraordinary shopping, and the list of reasons to visit India continues to grow.

Woried about culture shock? Indeed, it’s a fact of life when traveling to a new country. However, the benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone are far outweighed by the temporary period of adjustment.

 

6. It’s Economy Is On the Rise

India’s economy continues to surge. Not only do experts predict that it will be the world’s third largest economy by 2030, but is also expected to grow at the fastest rate in the decade ahead.

What does this mean for students who choose to study there? A front row seat during a particularly exciting time in history, global connections, and an inside edge toward understanding the dynamic global business landscape. 

While India may not currently be the first country that comes to mind when you consider international studies, its star is clearly on the rise. Choosing India as your study abroad destination not only means terrific opportunities in the here and now, but also an invaluable perspective on and understanding of the forces likely to fuel progress as we move into the future.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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