To stay or not to stay? – A complex question, two possible answers

The world is huge, unknown and can be amazingly interesting. Hungary is small, well known and can be amazingly interesting. You can chose.

I think it is just great that we can chose. Going abroad is not like a dream and not like an obligation. It is up to each and every one of us. And it is not a life-long decision; if you decide to go, but you change your mind, you can come back. Either your family is wealthy or not, you can go, with scholarship or without it. Isn’t it amazing?

My grandfather wanted to be an aircraft engineer, and he was pretty clever. He lived in a small city in the Alföld during the Socialist erasocialism. He was offered a scholarship to the Soviet Union. He accepted it, but when he arrived there it turned out, he was not in Moscow, but in Kharkiv and the university did not offer aircraft engineering, but agricultural engineering. When he came back he became the hero of the Hungarian agriculture, but he had to follow a career path he never wanted. My other grandfather wanted to travel, thus he started working for the Danubian Shipping Company. Later he moved to the Hungarian State Railways Company. He could travel a lot, he still has all the tickets and stories.

Nowadays it is much easier to move abroad while you can still follow your interest.

My mother also likes to go abroad, as a high school teacher she organizes  international exchange programs. She can travel, while having her family and a life in a small town near Budapest. My uncle really likes to travel, so he has been all around the world. In Mexico he packed tomatoes into boxes to make some money to buy food during his trip. In Japan he helped a family with the household and their rice plantation for shelter and food (similar program to HelpX). Now he works and lives in Japan as a furniture repairman. My sister spent half a year in Germany during her high school years with an exchange program. She lived with two families, one was boring, the other was great. Her German is good and she is a qualified kindergarten teacher, so she was asked to go to Stuttgart as they lack kindergarten teachers there. My boyfriend spent a year in Southampton (since then he hates Great Britain), half a year in Paris (he still loves Paris) and he is now a well qualified engineer working for a multinational company in Budapest, involved in several international jobs.

Let’s talk about why anyone would move.

Either you are perfectly sure what career you want or you still do not know, it is good to go abroad. If you know what you want to do, why don’t you challenge yourself in a competitive environment? If you do not know, why don’t you go for some experiences that might help you to decide? Either you speak a foreign language or not, it is good to go abroad. If you don’t speak properly the language of the country you are visiting, it is a perfect opportunity to practice it. If you speak, than many amazing discussions are ahead of you. Either you are a traveller or never been abroad, it is a good opportunity to try it or to continue it.


Why should you not move?

Either you have been abroad or not, you do not know what to expect. You don’t know anyone, neither the culture, nor the people’s attitude towards foreigners. Don’t forget that we live in Central-Eastern Europe: when it comes to finding a job, the cousins and friends have better chances. If you go away for two or more years, the ones who stayed at home can establish more connections and have more opportunities. If you are not good at coping with cultural differences, or making friends, you are going to feel alone abroad. It is not a huge fun to be atany place if you are only waiting for the coming back.

Some objective things.

If you go to Western countries, a university has way more money than any of the universities in our area. Being a well-qualified individual with experiences from abroad makes you more valuable. In many Hungarian companies you will be required to speak at least good English. This concerns the academic area even more. If you study at a certain place you can be very good at anything that this particular place requires. If you go to another place, or even more places, you can develope new skills, but it is unlikely that you will become an expert on any of them.

There is a chance, that even if you go to a top university abroad, somehow you won’t like it or you will realize it is not something you really want and you may feel like it had been a waste of time. It can also happen that you cannot study enough for a particular course, either because you have to work or you are depressed by being homesick. As a poor Hungarian guy from a village who goes to Budapest, you also have just one chance. No one says studying abroad is easy, but it may worth its price.

I was pretty helpful, wasn’t I?

Aquatic warbler