Diwakar Chandiok, Recruitment Director, South Asia, INTO University Partnerships

As the Recruitment Director, Diwakar’s role is focused on leading and overseeing all student recruitment activity in South Asia. Working in conjunction with the global recruitment team & university partners, his responsibilities include ensuring that students and their advisors receive outstanding service supported by customer-focused processes. Diwakar brings to INTO a wealth of regional expertise and global mindset. With 1.5 decade long experience in the higher education sector, he currently develops and maintains partnerships with key stakeholders in India along with building preference for university partners in US, UK, and China.



The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant changes to the education system across the world. Schools and universities have all resorted to online education, disrupting the academic cycle for Indian students aspiring to study abroad. However, in record time, technology and science are bailing us out, whether in terms of digitizing training processes or vaccine availability to get the world on track and open.

In India, we have also seen universities adapt and provide high-quality education in a digital transformation scenario. As far as foreign education is concerned, many had predicted that the onset of the pandemic would hamper the ambitions of students to study abroad. However, the reality is poles apart. Despite the risks involved, over 88% of Indian millennials have expressed a strong urge to study abroad as soon as they can and strongly prefer education from countries such as the US and UK to compete on a global stage. In fact, according to a recent survey by INTO University Partnerships, a significant section of the Indian ‘Gen Z’ generation believes that an international degree is vital for acquiring skills and knowledge to succeed in life.

Why are Indian students keen on going abroad to pursue their studies?

When it comes to competing globally, India does not lack prestigious colleges, such as the IITs and the IIMs, amongst others. However, international exposure, a platform to acquire a practical skill set, options other than traditional courses and better career growth are the reasons that still persuade Indian students to study abroad. Interestingly, a diverse curriculum and flexibility in the choice of subjects remain one of the top attractions for students selecting international universities. For example, universities in the US provide education in both conventional and unconventional fields such as designing, gaming, and photography. Another reason behind this preference is research opportunities. Research is one significant career path that most Indian students pursue abroad.

INTO University Partnership’s recent survey suggests that the pandemic has turned many students into aspiring entrepreneurs. Amongst the surveyed students, over 45% aim to start their businesses one day. Along with acquiring the required skill set, students get an opportunity to experience and understand the workings of a company from start to finish (in many cases), all while completing their education on a post-study work visa. Many also work in MNCs or startups post completing their education which tends to open their minds and help them figure opportunities that they can bring to India and build a startup. The Government of India is also supporting the idea of starting up and solving for India. Additionally, diverse cultures and exposure guide the students to become their bosses and run their own companies.

Mobility in Covid-19 times: Where are the students moving and why?

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has disrupted our lives in multiple ways, restricted movements and halted international mobility. Yet, as per UNESCO, 91% of Indian students have showed interest in pursuing their studies abroad. 71% of these students have stated that better healthcare and infrastructure are the primary reasons for studying overseas.

Countries such as the US and UK are also welcoming of Indian students, which is evident from the fact the US government has granted over 55,000 student visas in 2021. While these nations continue to dominate the arena of international academia, destinations such as New Zealand and Canada have also seen a rise in the last decade. The primary reason being the assistance and incentives offered by the local governments of these countries to their student population, irrespective of their nationality. Despite the restrictions and the changes brought about by the pandemic, Indian students will continue to go abroad to pursue their studies.

In conclusion, while many professional fields may have changed their nature due to this pandemic, the mighty chain of international academics built over the decades stands unaffected but only somewhat disrupted by COVID-19. INTO University Partnerships has proactively set up a structure that can help aspiring international students with quality assistance to pursue their dreams!

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