After Graduation, Stay Back or Go Home?

I recently found this video on a friend’s Facebook wall. Hakeem Bello-Osagie is currently the Chairman of the board of directors of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Ltd (‘EMTS’), a rapidly growing mobile telephone operator which operates in Nigeria under the ‘Etisalat’ brand. He spoke about a couple of things, but I’d like to draw your attention to his thoughts on courage.

A lot of international students who pursue graduate degrees in developed nations like the US and UK have 3 key characteristics: intelligence, ambition, and white-hot passion to succeed. These traits are also critical for driving the process of nation building through innovation in the private and public sectors of the economy.

Citizens of developing nations, with advanced foreign degrees, have the potential to create opportunities for development and self expression for their country’s youth. Failure to do so will most likely result in sustainable levels of poverty and insecurity within their respective countries, as they continue to be drained of their top talent.

On the other hand, these group of individuals – who can create positive change – also have the potential to access and exploit opportunities in developed nations, which promise a higher standard of living within a much shorter time frame.

Which to choose? Your thoughts are welcome.


5 thoughts on “After Graduation, Stay Back or Go Home?

  1. This is a topical issue, I must confess. The situation many international students face is that do I leave the known back for the unknown… and also keep in mind that family, friends, and colleagues no longer see you as who you were before you left your home country. Many now expect that having spent a couple of years abroad, you must have something to show for it–most especially in financial terms; after all, you came to a “land of opportunities.” Trust me, that is a lot of pressure to handle if unprepared!
    I think what I personally believe is that, if you have the opportunity to practically apply your foreign education, seize it. After you’re “grounded” (I use the word loosely), or while you’re in the process, look for opportunities to impact your home country.
    Do not get overly ambitious that your academic knowledge is what will solve the deeply rooted problems of your home country (especially developing ones). Plan strategically, and be methodical!
    Really, one cannot advice clearly to stay or to go. I believe when we all get to that bridge, we “will hear a voice behind us saying this is the way, walk ye in it.”

    1. Ms Jacobs,
      There is a lot of depth in your comment; thank you so much for it. One way I feel international students can mitigate the pressure of ‘having something to show for your trip to the land of opportunity’ is to visit home often. The trip in itself can be expensive, but the advantage is that with frequent visits home, expectations can be managed a lot more. At least I think so. Thanks again for the awesome comment! 🙂

  2. I really think this debate depends on what country you’re referring to. For instance, considering that I’m from a Chinese background, I know that a lot of people don’t want to go back due to the extremely corrupt political system and an usually definite drop in the quality of environment. Furthermore, if you have a family, staying in the states will give your kids more opportunities in the future. These are the reasons why my parents decided to stay in the states.

    I was reading this article here:

    and apparently Africa has suffered the maximum brain drain. It specifically mentioned Nigeria as well. So perhaps for this reason Nigerians should be more willing to eventually go back and help their nation? This is my humble opinion.

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