To Stay Abroad or Return Home? A Dilemma for Overseas Students

"Do you plan to stay abroad or return home after completing your studies/?" I believe many international students have faced this soul-searching question.

So, what's the right choice?

Actually, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Everyone's career path is unique and influenced by various factors, and what's most important is what suits you best.

The Advantages of Staying Abroad

Women in a airport

Many overseas students want to stay abroad after graduation, mainly for the following reasons:

  • First, the salary level is high abroad, especially for popular majors such as business and computer science. Therefore, staying abroad can quickly recover the high cost of studying abroad in a short period of time.

  • Second, the population is relatively small abroad, and the corresponding employment and work pressure is relatively low. This attracts many people who pursue a stable life.

These advantages are indeed real in the life of staying abroad, but on the other hand, there are also some disadvantages that cannot be ignored.  

Disadvantages of Staying Abroad

Men alone in the shadows

In recent years, the difficulty of international students staying abroad has been increasing. 

Difficulties in Obtaining Visas

Taking the United States as an example, every year, a large number of people fail to secure H1B visas through the lottery system. Without a legal work permit, international students must return to their home countries within a specified period. By this time, they may have missed the golden period of being considered "new graduates," which comes with certain job application advantages.

High Cost of Living

Additionally, a high starting salary doesn't necessarily mean higher savings. The cost of living in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom is also quite high, with monthly rents in core cities such as New York or London reaching as much as US4,000. Thus, despite high starting salaries, they might not always meet the short-term return expectations.

Jeopardized Safety and Health Care

Regarding safety and healthcare, general healthcare insurance abroad may cover minor health issues, but may not be sufficient for complex illnesses, and students may need to bear a significant portion of the costs. The efficiency of healthcare in countries like the United States has also been a subject of criticism.

Far from Friends and Family

In terms of social life, one significant disadvantage is the distance from family and friends, making reunions challenging. Social interactions abroad place a high value on personal space, making it difficult to form close friendships.

Living abroad for an extended period inevitably affects international students' psychological well-being due to the scarcity of connections and yearning for their homeland.

Advantages of Returning

Women with her grandparents after returning from overseas

Having covered both advantages and disadvantages of staying abroad, we will now dive into the advantages and disadvantages of returning to your home country. 

Sense of Belonging

One obvious advantage of returning to your home country is a sense of belonging. Here, you have friends and family, speak the same language, engage in the same cultural activities, and don't have to struggle to integrate into another culture.

Employment Opportunities

Furthermore, some countries in Asia is currently experiencing rapid economic and technological development, resulting in a significant demand for talent across various fields, especially in areas such as computer science, electrical engineering, and bioengineering. 

There are many employment opportunities for international students returning to China. With the expansion of domestic businesses and the demand for talents with international backgrounds, salaries offered by prestigious domestic companies are often on par with those abroad.

For many international students considering entrepreneurship, various government policies across China support the establishment and development of innovative businesses. Therefore, students who wish to start their own businesses may find greater opportunities and possibilities in their home country rather than staying in a foreign country with established norms.

Disadvantages of Returning

men and women celebrating their success in the office

Despite the opportunities that one can tap on, there are still some challenges and difficulties that you may face as you return to your home country. 

Increase Competition

Of course, the rapidly growing market in Asia also means increasing competition, especially in high-paying industries like the internet and finance. Many international students returning home to Asia often face intense competition. Balancing life and work in this environment is something many returning students must contemplate.

Furthermore, many returning students find themselves competing with a large pool of highly qualified local candidates who may have a better understanding of the local market and business culture.

Reverse Culture Shock

Returning home after a long period abroad can sometimes lead to a reverse culture shock. You might find that while you have changed during your time abroad, your home country has also changed in your absence. It can take time to readjust to your old surroundings, customs, and even relationships.

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose to stay abroad or return home to develop your career, it's crucial to have a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of your capabilities and the development environment. Whichever path you choose, as long as you remain true to your aspirations, believe in yourself, and stand firm in your choices, your pursuit of dreams will surely yield the most brilliant blossoms.