For the past 7 months, I have been studying outside my country, in a place far, far foreign to my own. While living in India, living outside, studying outside – all seemed like a gateway to a wonderful life which I wouldn’t get if I didn’t ‘leave’. Now, after more than 6 months, I am looking back and thinking about whether studying abroad was the best decision of my life or not.
In a country like India, most young Graduates face the decision of either doing an MBA, or giving the Civils or going for an academic career. Some people decide to take up unconventional courses like Media for their Masters. The more conventional engineers either sit for the GATE or CAT or GRE. Studying abroad is a viable option for most, feasible for few. While many students from IITs and NITs tend to lean towards an MS/PhD in tier I Universities like Stanford, Urbana-Champaign, MIT, etc., the real number is actually very little. From outside, it is assumed by a lot of people that going to an IIT or IIM or ISB is a sling- shot to a life abroad. (and loads, pot loads of white money).
The reality is very, very different.
Very few students nowadays get placed in US Companies, most of the young graduates who join TCS or Deloitte go for short-term projects to the US. In fact, even doing a Masters or UnderGrad in the US isn’t a sure shot guarantee of a job, or a permanent life in the US. Getting an H1B visa is extremely difficult, as every year, it is a lottery system to allot a limited number of work visas. A lot of young students from illustrious colleges like IIT end up working for more than 5 years in India offices of major companies like Amazon, Oracle, GS, etc., and then ‘qualify’ for a sponsorship for the L1 visa.
Going to countries like Germany, France or Japan seems easy, but you need to learn their language to work in their country. A lot of times Indian qualifications don’t come of much use, and a lot of qualified Indians have to study in these countries again. Singapore seems like a viable option too – but look at the size of that country folks – will 10 million of us fit in?
All uncles, aunties, and other close relatives portray the lives of others as a lala land, where hopping from one country to another is just child’s play. As a social scientist, I see a very different trend in the world. With politics in nations gearing up against “foreigners”, as jobs for their nationals are scarce, there might come a time when we will have to stay in India, forever, whether we like it or not. Those who “leave” will have to come back, much to the disgrace, horror and chagrin of family members and relatives. It is sad to see people judging young people without having any idea of the horrors of politics and its repercussions on foreign students and workers.
I have been studying in the UK, and from what I understand, Nigel Farage won’t be the happiest man alive, if I ever express my desire to live on in the UK. Why would I anyways? It is not my country. And if I want to, and I am not a Finance graduate who can secure a job in a bank (financial jobs in the UK are actually the best way to stay on here – a tip for those despos wanting to live in the UK), then I will have to secure a job post my graduation worth £23,000, to apply for a work visa. And mind it, rent in UK isn’t cheap – you might just end up saving less than a thousand pounds per month (which is a pittance, to be honest- you might as well work in India and lead a lavish life, though with lower living standards).
Parents of the 80’s have seen their friends, colleagues, relatives moving to the US/UK at a time when there was a huge demand for immigrants. Countries like Australia were looking for individuals to populate their countries, the US still had to see its tech boom and needed young, bright graduates. With the demand exhausted, very few people now can actually lead the ‘brain drain’ that has drained India off its best labour for the past 40 years.
We need to understand that right now, we need to build our country and create opportunities for our own young people. We are responsible for the young people’s resentment towards their jobs, their lives in India. We have spent a lifetime spending our time in unnecessary politics, unnecessary drama, ass-licking and what not. Our government offices are in a mess, young graduates who want to lead change are demotivated by the tall bureaucracy. And we all are collectively responsible for it. We treat India as a place which is our Baap ka raj (My dad’s rule), but it is a country for all people. Living abroad like a civilised being and treating India like shit isn’t the answer.
There will come a time when Western countries will realise that they have a paucity of people in certain fields, after restricting them for entry. But then, Asians like us need to lead the march forward, instead of letting the Western world capitalise on our best graduates. It is a difficult task, even more difficult one for those who want to lead a comfortable life after spending years studying, working and earning money. But after all, we are Indians. We have a responsibility towards our motherland. Lets lead change. If one Kejriwal can rise, so can more. Lets make India the country we always desired it to be.
Oh! and yes, kindly use a condom. The last thing we need is a larger population. The current population level has already set our asses on fire. Instead of hankering for a “son” and producing more children, or attributing children as a God’s gift- kindly serve the society by helping those already alive to secure jobs, instead of sending your future generations into poverty.
(Global warming might just kill us all off anyways, just saying.)