Local or International…
There are infinite opportunities and advantages from studying or living abroad but that is already a given. Why do many young people leave their home countries to study or live abroad?
We are young and we know that there is so much more out of our own borders. Opportunities present themselves frequently as compared to South Africa. The Apartheid regime has left an imprint on the youth of South Africa. Parents are unable to afford their children’s education. Internet access is limited unless you have deep pockets, the price of data is unrealistic. Those lucky few, who do have access to the internet, are able see the greater opportunities that are beyond our borders.
Imagine getting a good degree from a university like Harvard, that will definitely assure you a good job and better living conditions. In South Africa, we have young people with good degrees but are sitting at home with no job or are working as shop clerks, a job that requires no qualification. The job market is extremely tough and technology is replacing some human skills that were required long before Jacob Zuma knew what an underscore was. So why not go abroad if you were guaranteed better living conditions and a higher chance of actually getting a job but not just a job, a good paying job.
- Studying abroad helps you learn different languages. Learning a foreign language in a globalized world, like the lovely one we already live in, is a great benefit.
- You learn to appreciate different cultures. You understand and respect those cultures. You’ll find yourself doing more research to understand the culture and prevent culture shock. You’ll also learn to the overcome challenges of living in a different country and you gain a greater understanding of the world.
- You learn independence and you fend for yourself. You can’t always run to your family because they might be flights away. This forces you to work your way around your problems. You become less dependent on other people and this is an important life skill to develop. So many people are dependent on significant others and this always proves to be a disadvantage when you are trying to build a name for yourself or be your own person.
One thing that I do know is that, not all students are mature enough to study abroad but judging by the type of economy we are in right now, situations force us to. It has also been said, that the number of South Africans leaving the country this year will rise sharply as crime, politics and job security are at risk. In 2017, 7300 people emigrated from South Africa to the UK and this trend will seem to continue this year after the COVID pandemic. This should actually give the government more reasons as to why they should invest more into our education as the future leaders of this country. In a world full of uncertainty, the youth’s creativity to creating a sustainable economy is very essential and important. The empirical study shows that under 30’s make up 51% of the global population but only 2% of them are members of the parliament, why can’t the government give young people a seat on the table? This is a very concerning pattern to me as a young South African youth member.
Just like Nelson Mandela had noted at a speech he gave in 2003, “We understand and promote the notion that while children need to be guided they also have an entrenched right to be whatever they want to be and that they can achieve this only if they are given the space to dream and live out their dreams”. Most of he’s wise words about the youth seem to go unnoticed unlike all the other speeches about freedom and politics. Yes, South Africa is a free and a democratic country but is the youth free? Are we given the “space” to express ourselves the best way possible about the direction we would love for our country to go in? The sad truth is, NO we are not! Until our country realizes and decides to take a stand against who knows what, maybe South Africa’s economy will be singing a different tune than it is at the moment. Until then, consider studying or working abroad. The opportunities are far much greater!