• The country of highest demand right now is Germany. At the same time, universities in South Korea have been gaining unexpected popularity over the past year.

Dubai : A recent study, published by Univibes, shows that the demand for foreign educational programs among both UAE nationals and expats continues  to grow.

According to Univibes, a service that helps students get into overseas universities and which recently opened a branch in the MENA region, the country of highest demand right now is Germany. At the same time, universities in South Korea have been gaining unexpected popularity over the past year. The company has shared recent insights into the most popular educational fields and common difficulties students studying abroad usually face.

According to statistics, the UAE sends approximately 15,000 students abroad per year, a number that has been increasing at around 3-4% yearly. However, in reality, these figures are even higher, as studying abroad is often chosen by expats who live in the United Arab Emirates on a permanent basis but are not taken into account in the official statistics of local students.

Covid restrictions are easing and a growing number of students from the UAE are rushing abroad. Here are the countries that are of most interest to those who decide to “leave the nest” in pursuit of knowledge:

Germany attracts students for a number of reasons: a large number of English-language programs for both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, tuition fees starting from 300 euros per year, universities and programs in the top world rankings. Germany is also a world center for business, biotechnology, engineering, and the automotive industry. Therefore, students prefer to study these specialties here.

On the contrary, South Korea attracts students with its K-pop culture, traditions and hospitality. The average cost of education here is cheaper than in the UAE - 4000-8000 USD per year. And at the same time students get the experience of living in another country. In parallel with studying in English they also learn Korean. Immigration policies in both Germany and South Korea favor talented university graduates, and it's easy to stay in the country and find a job after completing your degree.

Also in high demand are countries such as Italy, Japan, the Netherlands. And it seems that the US and UK are recently losing their relevance due to the cost of education.

Students' interests are very diverse, as is their choice of study programs. The number of courses in art, medicine and some other specialties at the institutes of the UAE is currently scarce - so students are looking for them abroad. The most popular programs are related to business and art:

Of course, such a flow of students attracts the attention of organizations that help them choose the right program and university and advise them in all matters relating to admission. The UAE government generously distributes grants among promising native students. But their duties do not include assistance on some important issues:

  • How to choose a university and a program that is right for me and take my plans into account?
  • How to fill out the documents for admission? There are certainly many important nuances.
  • How to write a proper motivational letter?
  • How to get insurance and find a safe and comfortable place to live abroad?

Usually, government agencies do not advise students on these issues but according to Univibes, these questions are the most popular among those who have chosen to study abroad. Not surprisingly, assistant services, including Univibes itself, are increasingly growing in demand among applicants.

The requirement for their services is especially high among young professionals who are seeking to obtain an international master's degree or MBA - they make up to 70% of all applications to the service. For them, this format of work is especially convenient: the service supervises them every step of the way, and they do not need to be distracted from current tasks or worry about the outcome of the whole case.

It is expected that the demand from natives and expats in the United Arab Emirates for foreign educational programs will continue to grow further. This means that the issues of obtaining grants and comfortable studying abroad will be even more acute for local students. Univibes expects this segment of the market to develop rapidly.


Elina Zubova
Head of Marketing
Admitad MENA