MUMBAI: The number of Indian students choosing Wales to further their education has risen for the fourth year running, the latest figures reveal.
The small UK nation, known for its rich heritage, low living costs and outstanding natural beauty, has seen a 37 per cent increase in the number of students from India enrolling on an undergraduate or postgraduate course at one of Wales' eight leading universities.
And with London recently voted the fourth most expensive city in the world to live, Study in Wales hopes that more talented students from India looking to study abroad will join those already taking full advantage of the opportunities that Wales has to offer.
Market Development Manager Harish Lokhun, from Study in Wales, explained, "The reintroduction of the Graduate Immigration Route (GIR) has presented fruitful opportunities for Indian students to study in Wales, with applications from India continuing to rise across all our universities. The GIR permits students to remain in the UK to look for work and continue to experience life in the UK for two years after completion of their studies and graduation, which is a highly attractive proposition for international students."
"Regular feedback from our Indian student community in Wales tells us that the cost of living and affordable tuition fee rates, as well the warm welcome they receive from Welsh people, distinct cultural offering and strong employability prospects, collectively position Wales as a desirable destination for study," he added.
The increase in Indian students choosing to study in Wales has also been driven by the Global Wales Postgraduate Scholarship programme, which offers scholarships worth up to £10,000 (approx. Rs 9,56,800) to study a full-time master's programme.
The scheme is the first scholarship of its kind in Wales and is funded by the Global Wales Programme-a partnership between the Welsh Government, Universities Wales, The British Council and HEFCW.
Harish further added, "For Indian students looking to gain a postgraduate degree, the Global Wales Scholarship programme is a huge opportunity, and emphasises Wales' commitment to helping international students succeed."
"Wales is a unique place to study and we look forward to welcoming more international students this year."
One student who jumped at the chance to further her education in Wales was Anisha Hegde. After her cousin told her how beautiful the city was, Anisha, from Mumbai, enrolled on an MA in International Public Relations and Global Communications at Cardiff University.
Anisha explained, "Everyone here has been so friendly and welcoming, and the approach to lessons in Wales is very different to my education back home."
"In India, I had lots of exams and practical lectures-five, or sometimes six, days a week. But here I'm encouraged to have discussions, read and carry out independent research for my assignments which is much more enjoyable."
Anisha added, "The best thing about Cardiff University is the feeling of warmth the community of students have created here."
To anyone thinking of applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Wales, Anisha advises them to come prepared. "Studying in Wales is not just about work and attending classes-it's about embracing a new culture, meeting new people and exploring new places."