Survey: 75% of Indonesian Students Remain Interested in Studying Abroad Despite Pandemic

Jakarta, 11 October 2021 — Despite ongoing COVID-19 challenges, the appeal of international education stays strong, with 3 in 4 Indonesian students still eager to pursue studies abroad. That said, 32% of these prospective students had their plans affected by the pandemic, with the biggest impacts being postponing their study plans (68%), finding alternative financing options (41%), switching to remote online studies (24%) and studying in a different country (20%). 

These findings were from a new study released today by Wise, a global technology company building the best way to move money around the world. The study was conducted in collaboration with TransforMe, an education technology startup helping young Indonesians go global. Over 200 Indonesian students were surveyed in this study to understand how the pandemic has impacted Indonesians studying abroad as well as those who are looking to.

Challenges of international payments add to stress faced by international students.

When it comes to sending or receiving money from abroad, 58% of Indonesians studying overseas felt that the high cost of overseas transfers has negatively impacted their finances, and 36% agree that the long time spent waiting for overseas transfers to arrive affects their financial planning. 

Additionally, these factors are among the top six biggest challenges reported by students studying abroad — adapting to currency and exchange rate differences came in fourth, after language barrier (1st), homesickness (2nd) and cultural differences (3rd). 

The complexities of international money transfers, an essential service for most international students, piles on an additional layer of uncertainty for those who are already struggling with pandemic-related well-being challenges: 

  • For students who receive financial support from family back home, 57% of them report receiving money once a month
  • 52% of students on scholarship send money abroad at least once every three months
  • The well-being of international students has taken a hit during this period, with students being unable to fully enjoy the student experience (78%) and coping with feelings of isolation and loneliness (43%) and stress and anxiety over the health situation (40%) topping the list of pandemic-related impacts on their experience abroad

Better overseas money transfers can improve international students’ quality of life

With the global average cost of remittances remaining persistently high at 6.38%, it's no wonder that an overwhelming majority of international students studying abroad (84%) believe that fast  and transparently priced overseas money transfers would improve their quality of life when studying abroad. 

The conventional way of sending money abroad through traditional financial institutions typically involves high charges and hidden fees in the form of an often undisclosed exchange rate markup, so most people tend to unknowingly pay more than they should. Indeed, 22% of prospective students said they are either unsure of or believe there are no additional fees when sending money overseas. This points to a crucial need for overseas transfers to be cheaper, faster and more transparent to alleviate some of the stress these students would face when studying abroad. 

Elian Ciptono, Indonesia Country Manager, Wise, said: "This survey shows that high costs, slow transfers and non-transparency that come with foreign currency transactions have a significant impact on Indonesian students’ finances and their well-being overseas. At Wise, our goal is to provide a fast, low cost and transparent money transfer service so students can spend less time worrying about finances and focus on getting the best out of their study abroad experience.” 

Retno Lestari, CEO & Founder of TransforMe explains: "Despite pandemic-related challenges, we see that Indonesian students are still enthusiastic about studying abroad. In fact, TransforMe was established during the pandemic period where we have helped many students who want to continue their education abroad through our scholarship incubator program. We look forward to continuing to support even more students to pursue their study abroad dreams.”

TransforMe Webinar: Smart & Successful Strategies to Study Abroad — 16 & 17 October 2021

More insights from this survey will be discussed in this virtual workshop held by Transforme. A free-to-attend event, attendees will also hear from scholarship program representatives who will share information regarding Chevening, Fulbright, and LPDP scholarships, as well as life and financial management tips for international students from Nadhira Afifa, a Master’s degree holder and Harvard alumni, and Elian Ciptono, Wise Country Manager for Indonesia and HEC Paris and Wharton School alumni. Find out more HERE.

About Wise

Wise is a global technology company, building the best way to move and manage the world’s money.

With Wise Account and Wise Business, people and businesses can hold over 40 currencies, move money between countries and spend money abroad. Large companies and banks use Wise technology too; an entirely new network for the world’s money. Co-founded by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, Wise launched in 2011 under its original name TransferWise. It is one of the world’s fastest growing, profitable tech companies and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker, WISE.

10 million people and businesses use Wise. In fiscal year 2023, Wise processed approximately £105 billion in cross-border transactions, saving customers around £1.5 billion.

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