Migration in academia
As a Master’s student in a foreign country (Ås, Norway), I have had the experience of a lifetime. My conscious decision to study abroad was facilitated by various factors. Among these factors was my love of travel and experiencing new cultures. I am among the 7.2% of immigrants in Europe, as reported by the European Union. I am lucky to be one of those that took initiative to go abroad and further my education.

Unfortunately, many of my fellow immigrants in academia have been forced to migrate, due to several reasons. In Colombia, children are afraid of walking to school alone. They do not know if they will be alive by the end of the day, or if they will be recruited as child soldiers by the guerrillas. In Zimbabwe, there are exorbitant tuition fees that do not allow the common individual to progress with their studies. In South Sudan, the war does not provide a conducive learning environment. In some parts of Asia, there is a lot of competition due to the large populations. These are a few examples of how migration is influenced by academia.

Executive of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) of 2013-1015 and 2 Norwegian participants of NOREC (FK-Norway).

On the other hand, continuous migration will result in brain drain from these low-income countries and economic development is stalled. Students, technical staff and researchers all migrate in search of better living conditions. This may benefit individuals, but I hope ISFiT will open up dialogue in how young people, especially students who are the key stakeholders in migration in academia, can assist and facilitate in making the world a better place, working as one, with no borders limiting our efforts.

Disclaimer: This article is not written by ISFiT and all credits for text and pictures go to Valerie Chidakwa, Ambassador ISFiT19.