Indian parents are proud to say their children are studying abroad. Even as it is a matter of prestige, for them it also conveys that the child is brilliant and the family is able to afford the education abroad. This is how the story looks on the outside but is it actually the case? Analyzing the flip side of the story reminds me of the days when I had joined a part-time job as an IELTS trainer that made me realize how severely the virus of migrating abroad has affected the majority of youth of our state. There used to be a couple of students walking up to me each day & understanding their English was really challenging, but ask them about their aim in life, & you will get just one response ‘to move abroad’ and the minute you ask them what will you do when you go there, the reply will be ‘earn money’ but probably none of them actually knew how they were supposed to earn.
Foreign countries have become the dream destination for most of the youth of Punjab, as the charm of earning Dollars allure them all. As soon as the 12th board exams end, the first thing that the students do is simply get enrolled with an IELTS institute or in some cases, move to Chandigarh to enjoy the metro life along with preparing for the IELTS examination.
IELTS examination cleared, visa approved, bags packed, the young lad is all set to board a flight to an alien land he knows nothing about. Landed on the foreign land and the goal is achieved! This is the mind-set of the youngsters as moulded by their near & dear ones staying abroad, but how many of them are really made aware of the struggles that they have to face in the alien land? Probably none!
Having grown up in India, you have an intuitive understanding of how the system works and when you move abroad, there are hurdles in getting familiar with the working of the system. Deepak Juneja, who had migrated as a student immigrant to Canada in 2009, narrates his experience “When I landed here, I got to know that students were legally not allowed to work and those who work, were actually exploited by the employers. The fees for the international students was much higher as compared to that for the local students and managing work along with studies was an uphill task. After tremendous struggles, I finally got my PR in 2013. Life in a foreign land is a vicious circle, you really have to be bold, and struggle a lot to survive here.”
Growing up in India, you build up a great network of family and friends that is left behind in the native land. Ajay Sharma, a student immigrant from Australia shares “After so many efforts, I had finally convinced my parents to send me to Australia to live my dreams. But when I reached here, I realized that studies are tough, attending classes, making assignments and then doing all the household work. Finding a good job here isn’t an easy task, arranging for fees, travel expenses, rent, etc. haunts me every day and staying away from family often leads to depression. Coming to Australia is easy, but surviving here is the most challenging part.”
No wonder foreign countries provide far much better facilities as compared to our country, but are they able to compensate for the loss of relations that are left behind in the native land? Saurabh Budhiraja, another student immigrant from Canada, shares “I was so desperate to come to Canada, but now after spending a few years here, I am even more desperate to return back to my motherland. The loneliness kills you from within, there is nothing called as attachment, all you find here is people addicted to money. Life here is actually like a dream, a horrible dream! I wish I could just move back & enjoy a much peaceful life in my own land.”
Awareness is very important, especially when you are deciding for your future, and it’s not just about you who should be aware, but the parents also play a major role in helping you take the tough decisions. While there are majority of immigrants who take a risk, a few of them make sure to be well prepared in advance and ask their parents for guidance. Instead of risking your life, make some efforts and research well before you take such important decisions. Life abroad is a roller coaster ride, but if you are strong enough, you will enjoy every bit of it.
Text :Ankita Sharma