To some, the temptation to stay in their host country after studying abroad becomes tempting. It’s also a matter of choice, after all: once you get past that initial culture shock, who wouldn’t want more doors opening up for them?
But at the end of the day, there will always be that pang of guilty conscience that will come knocking at your door, asking for you to “give back” to your home country in some form. Who wouldn’t want to give back to their parents after being given this opportunity?
The same feeling applies when you apply it to a national level. Whether you love your home country or not, one can never forget its roots.
And the dilemma especially gets stronger if your host country happens to be more progressive than your home country. Should you stay in your host country, pursue more of your opportunities in your new country, and support your family back home from where you are? Or should you come back, be with your family, and establish something instead?
If you’ve come at a crossroads and need a reminder to help you reconcile your inner drum, dig deeper and remember:
You get to share skills that you’ve learned from other countries.
You might have heard of the saying “Sharing is caring” at some point in your life, right? Your home country may or may not be blessed with the things your host country has to offer, but here’s the thing – that’s where you can share what you’ve picked up from other individuals around the world. You might’ve taken a course about positive psychology and you feel like it’s an interesting aspect of psychology that needs to be shared in your home country. Or if you’ve learned a lot about defending civil rights after spending time with your international classmates, you might be able to translate it to something that your country needs and become an advocate for their cause back home.
Coming back to your home country is a form of gratitude.
To Filipinos, there is a concept of “utang na loob” involved where you’re compelled to give back to your parents in a certain manner. After all, you bested hundreds of other students applying for the program that you wanted abroad, and in a way, the mere fact that they (or any entity such as the state or an organization) supporting you to complete your education and represent your country at the same time already says something.
The power to make a difference is within your reach.
If you’ve received a state or private organization-funded opportunity to study abroad, there are times when you’re required to render at least a year’s worth of service to your home country to ensure your return. This is to ensure that you wouldn’t waste your sponsor’s funds in exchange for a better opportunity, which makes for good practice when organizations and states want to invest in people. By sending students off to pick up skills with other countries, you’re expected to aid your country by applying what you’ve learned from other international sources. And what better way to make a difference is to establish your own identity back home! You’re a different person once you’ve been exposed to different cultures and people, so don’t be afraid to stand out and share what changed you. Who knows? You might be able to help in changing other people’s lives, too!