Students from India choose United States as top education destination

Large group of students in graduation garments (© Nicolaus Czarnecki/ Live News)
Syracuse attracts many international students each year, including students from India. (© Nicolaus Czarnecki/ Live News)

Indian students continue to choose the United States as their top destination for study, strengthening decades of cultural and educational ties between India and the U.S.

The United States attracts the greatest number of Indian students studying abroad, and Indian students constitute the second-largest group of foreign students at U.S. colleges and universities.

Nittika Mehra came to the United States from Delhi because her uncle, a UCLA alum, encouraged it.

Since 2010, the number of Indian students in the United States has roughly doubled.
— Institute of International Education

“He said it was the best U.S. undergrad experience,” she says. “There are so many opportunities and it’s up to you to make use of those opportunities.”

After graduating with an undergraduate degree in communications and psychology from Syracuse University in 2017, Mehra attended Parsons School of Design in New York City, from 2019 to 2020.

“Anything was acceptable at Parsons,” she said. “You’re encouraged to be innovative and you’re encouraged to be yourself.”

A November 2020 Open Doors report [PDF, 334 KB], published by the Institute of International Education, shows that since 2010, the number of Indian students in the United States has roughly doubled, reaching 193,124 in the 2019–2020 academic year. The number of Indian students pursuing undergraduate degrees continues to increase each year.

After researching options and seeking advice from an EducationUSA adviser, Aishwarya Kumar left Chennai in 2015 to attend graduate school at Northwestern University in Illinois. She earned a degree from the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

Kumar now works in Connecticut as a reporter at sports network ESPN. She says the connections she made through professors at Northwestern launched her career.

Kumar also clicked with her graduate school cohort and with American culture more broadly. “For me, it was a very positive, life-changing experience because I immediately felt like I belonged for the first time,” she says. “I made friends instantly, people got my humor, people understood my quirkiness.”

Mehra’s advice to students thinking about studying in the United States is to be open to the experience. “Don’t be afraid to be yourself,” she says. “Think outside the box and get outside your comfort zone. It might be scary at first, but you’ll be glad you did!”

For more information on studying in the United States, please visit EducationUSA , follow @EducationUSAIndia on Facebook and Instagram, and download the EducationUSA India mobile app on iOS or Android.