Dr Asif Karim Image Credit: Supplied

For students approaching college age, the big question arises: stay or go? For many, studying overseas has been an aspiration for years, with parents spending plenty to make it happen. What are the advantages of leaving home for students? And what are the negative consequences? Is it better to study abroad or stay home? Readers debate.



Students should come back

Knowledge knows no boundaries. To gather better academic insight, a child should leave the comfort zone of his or her home and see the reality. Many a times students do not realise the hardship of life outside of study, with regard to personal responsibilities, for example. When studying abroad, a student becomes totally independent. He or she has to wake up on time, cook, go to class, do the housekeeping, do research work, etc. Staying with parents, on the other hand, leaves children pampered in many ways. Because of this, students take life for granted. Going abroad teaches children to become independent, take responsibility and adjust to their environment.

Nevertheless, parents should continuously monitor their children’s advancement and attainment, and encourage them to move forward. They should communicate with their children to find out about any difficulties or worries that are beyond their studies.

After completion of studies, the child should be encouraged to return and stay with the family again, to serve them and the country. When graduates return to their home countries, the combination of a foreign degree, overseas job experience, and world exposure will give these individuals better scope to serve their home nation. They can contribute their earned knowledge to the betterment of humanity and serve the society as well. We should remember an educated child will bring prosperity not only to himself and family, but to the whole nation, and perhaps the world, one day.

From Dr Asif M Karim

Professor, based in Bangladesh



It’s important to see the world

Regardless of the level of education that the local universities provide, traveling is very important for the personal growth of the student at this stage of his or her life.

First of all, traveling will push students out of their comfort zone, and allow them to develop their independence and build self-confidence. They will need to deal with diverse unfamiliar situations and circumstances on their own, and depend on themselves to overcome obstacles.

Second, they will experience new methods of teaching and be exposed to new research. Take architecture, my field of study, as an example. Traveling is an essential part of this domain, thus many universities include scientific excursions to other countries within their programs to allow students to discover new cities, architectural elements, and urban developments. Speaking from personal experience, these trips were some of the most important milestones in my education.

Making friends from different backgrounds and learning new languages are also benefits to studying abroad. This allows students to be introduced to new cultures and be open to new values, sports and social circles, which will expand their horizons and reveal undiscovered talents.

It is the family responsibility to teach the children about their roots. However, families should also give them the gift of wings to fly from the nest and discover new opportunities. Besides, today’s communication technology makes it easier to stay connected with family and friends.

Whether the student decides to return home after studies or to stay abroad to gain higher degrees and work, his decision will be based upon these new experiences and what he feels for his future. After returning home, finding better work opportunities is easier, especially since employers usually prefer those who have a better life experience and who possess new perspectives and way of thinking.

From Ms Nour Al Soori

Architect, based in Dubai



Going abroad offers a number of benefits

Children should definitely leave home as soon as they start university. It is only when they leave the confines and luxury of their homes that they will become better equipped for life. I left my home in India and joined a university in Malaysia. My university was a melting pot of sorts where there were students from different countries, cultures and backgrounds, which consequently widened my horizons. It was a good learning experience.

Staying away from home also taught me to be independent, as I had to make my own decisions and be responsible. I learnt more about banking, savings and how to systematically deal with bills and expenditure. Such responsibilities will help the students to mature faster and that, in turn, will help them to become less dependent on their parents. As trivial as it might sound, university life does teach you basic ‘survival’ skills like grocery shopping, cooking and doing your own laundry, which, if students were staying at home, would most definitely be done by the parents.

Additionally, studying abroad and interacting with students of different cultures will open students’ minds to be more accepting of diverse opinions and will give them a different worldview. There might be some culture shock, but new friends will help to ease their adaption process. So, in my opinion, students should definitely stay away from home to make them mature, responsible and self-sufficient adults.

When it comes to expenses, parents and students are already well-aware of the financial implications. They can always enquire about fee structure and students can take part-time jobs to reduce the financial burden. A good education from an overseas university is worth it if you consider it an investment, since a degree or masters from a reputed university overseas gets preference in the job market.

From Ms Lorraine D’Costa

Homemaker, based in Dubai


Stay home

Students should serve their communities

I am totally opposed to students having to go abroad for college studies. Firstly, most of the students who leave for foreign colleges don’t return to help their communities after their studies. They tend to work in the countries they graduated from, especially when the purchasing power of the country is better than their country of origin. This deprives their countries of valuable expertise and services, even though they contributed immensely to the students’ academic foundations.

While colleges or universities do offer the same courses across the spectrum, the difference is the economic value of the country on the international stage, and that is what people tend to value in relation to their education.

Home-based graduates are more familiar with local problems, hence they are better suited to solve problems within their communities than foreign graduates who haven’t studied those issues. Foreign college graduates tend to undermine their countries of origin and try to apply methods or solve problems in ways similar to their countries of study, especially if these were in the West. Graduates refer to Western methods, forgetting that people are different and have traditional values attached to their way of living. This brings conflict in policy management and sometimes political management.

We need to develop our capacity and capabilities based on home solutions, using our own colleges and graduates. Governments and institutions of learning can hire experts in fields of study that need improvement. For example, in the technological field, instead of sending only a few students abroad, which is costly and benefits only a few, why not hire professionals who are permanently established in the country as faculty? Many more students can benefit from this, and these individuals have the local know-how to help the country.

In my opinion, we loosen the social fabric when we separate from our communities. Sometimes, college graduates come back with different behaviours adopted from abroad during their stay, which, most of the time, are in conflict with the social norms of their countries of origin. So it’s better for students to study in home-based colleges in order to maintain a country’s social culture.

From Mr Tumusiime Benon

Security guard, based in Dubai