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Russia-Ukraine war may push Indian medical students to Nepal

The Russia-Ukraine war is likely to push Indian students to explore other options for MBBS abroad. The two countries attract a large chunk of students from India for the course. But according to half a dozen admission consultants like Leverage Edu, CollegeDekho, Edurizon, Edunom, Wonk and Lilac Buds, parents have already started conversations for other options other than Ukraine. This could be a temporary trend lasting a year though, say executives at these platforms who see destinations like Bangladesh, Nepal, Spain, Germany, Kyrgyzstan and the UK, among others, gaining popularity.

While for the current batch of Indian students enrolled in Ukraine, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Germany can turn out to be the next best options as admissions in these countries take place from March to September, according to Rohin Kapoor, co-founder, Wonk. More than 1,800 students from Wonk platform have so far gone to foreign campuses for MBBS and about 30% of them have opted for Ukraine and Russia, said Kapoor.

The cost of pursuing MBBS at a college in Ukraine, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan is around Rs 30-35 lakh, according to experts. “With the conflict going on between Ukraine and Russia, we think that countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Germany, Spain and Italy will see an increase in demand,” said Tarun Aggarwal, CBO & head — StudyAbroad at CollegeDekho.

Pursuing MBBS in Bangladesh and Nepal costs a tad higher at around Rs 40-50 lakh for the entire duration, while it is Rs 55-60 lakh in Spain, Italy and Germany, according to Aggarwal. CollegeDekho helps students get admissions in foreign colleges round the year.

Lambodar Rout, director at Edunom, said his firm has already started talks with parents of Indian students who have just returned from Ukraine for alternate destinations including Bangladesh.

Majority of the Indian students who went through these six platforms have been evacuated or are in the process of evacuation, their executives said.

Last year, over 1.6 million students registered for NEET and over 800,000 of them cleared the examination. However, the seats available were around 90,000.

MBBS destinations such as Bangladesh have always ranked on the lower end of the Top 10 countries to study at for Indian students, according to Akshay Chaturvedi, founder, Leverage Edu. “However, considering the current situation, we see Bangladesh and neighbouring countries taking a steep growth in student numbers and a big reason obviously being the ongoing crisis in Europe,” he said. Chaturvedi also sees Ukraine taking a hit, temporarily, at least in case of current and upcoming batches.

Studying medicine from neighbouring countries also gives them access to studying diseases and treatments that are similar to that of India and its geography, said experts. ET

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