The Case For Pakistani Students 'Staying At Home' Rather Than Looking For Greener Pastures Abroad

The jury is out as to which one is a better decision, but the possibility of studying in Pakistan should at least be considered rather than dismissed outright

The Case For Pakistani Students 'Staying At Home' Rather Than Looking For Greener Pastures Abroad

While Pakistani students flock like lemmings towards foreign universities, there is a strong case to be made for them to stay at home.

Firstly, as opposed to a few decades ago, all the exposure now is right here, due to the information era, characterised by the internet and social media. Our youngsters do not need to travel overseas under garb of the excuse that they will gain better "exposure."

Back at home, at universities that cost a fraction, and are also in the vicinity, faculties are normally all foreign qualified and experienced, and campuses are well-equipped.

When students study locally, better local networks are formed and better local market experience is gained through internships and so forth. As globalisation gives way to regionalisation, and to leveraging of local networks, students need to start small and firstly harness opportunities to transform local-based connections into revenue opportunities for their firms. Starting at home, and starting small, can prepare them better for bigger challenges in a step-by-step, and graduated method. 

Further, nowadays, most universities from abroad have online and distance -learning programmes, so why go all the way to a brick campus when we have available a click campus? In my experience as a counsellor, in most cases, the desire to go abroad is just herd-instinct, and a result of peer pressure. Our parents need to talk well in advance to their children, much before the peer pressure mounts, and sell them the idea that a local education, after all, is not all that bad.

The case for staying at home is strengthened if we take into account that the exorbitant amounts of money saved can be invested elsewhere by parents for their child's future. For instance, if the child desires to set up a restaurant post-college, by staying home the child can not only get the degree but also the dream restaurant, not to mention a network of friends and potential customers. Young people take out large student loans as part of their financial aid packages. As a result, even before they start their practical lives, they are burdened under heavy loans. Just in case they do not take out loans, and their parents pay for college, returning and working in Pakistan is a completely cost-ineffective proposition. In my opinion, each kid whose parents pay for their college education, must work five to seven years overseas simply to recoup this up-front financial investment made by their parents.

Many years ago, employers looked for youngsters with just any odd foreign degree. Now, when so many young people are studying abroad at destinations of all sorts, employers in Pakistan desire to know the specific name of the university that they are graduating from, their GPA, major area of study, selection of courses, time taken to graduate, and so forth. It is just not enough to have any odd foreign degree.

Having stated the above factors against an international education, undoubtedly, there are also certain benefits in migrating for the sake of education. After all, even the religion of Islam strongly advocates the benefits of traveling as far as China for academic and educational endeavours. 

Aside from religion, and focusing on the world of today, some of the advantages, certainly not all, of studying abroad could be:

1. Diversity of student body in terms of religious beliefs , racial background , nationality , ethnicity , sexual preferences, and others

2. Exposure to the first-world especially in cutting edge and futuristic areas like technology, medicine, AI, aeronautics, applied sciences and others

3. Customised programs in which students can design their own majors and courses of study, especially in the USA

4. Sometimes, rich universities, especially private universities, can fund students fully….

5. If the university is really good, the GPA high, and the course of study actually demanding, there may be some bargaining power for the young graduate upon returning back home. Employers and recruiters feel "safer" working with young people having a positive "track-record”

6. Sometimes, the job-market of the host country is accessible to students from a poor country, especially if these students have performed well at university level. Fortune 100 employers may go as far as changing visa status and helping the new employee in immigration and naturalisation

At last, of course, there are both benefits and demerits of a student's decision to stay at home. The jury is out as to which one is a better decision, but the possibility of studying in Pakistan should at least be considered rather than dismissed outright – especially in the context of online courses.