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Thinking About Going Back Home After Studying Abroad?

Michael Boampong's picture

 Trevor Samson / World Bank

As a young migrant living in the African diaspora, I am often quizzed by people regarding my plans to return and contribute to the development process of Ghana – my country of origin. Such questions remind you of your origin country and the fact that it needs you more than you can imagine.

The return of skilled young emigrants is crucial to the development of our countries of origin. When there is mass migration of skilled youth, countries are most likely to suffer the impact of “brain drain” in critical sectors, such as education and health. Conversely, return migration of skilled youth can promote development through the new ideas, skills, networks, and financial resources that these young emigrants may have accumulated, provided there are mechanisms in place to facilitate their social and economic reintegration into their societies of origin.

A survey on African graduate students studying abroad and their intentions of returning home after their studies provides interesting results: 70% of African diaspora MBA students plan to return home after graduation. Another study reveals that nine out of 10 African doctoral candidates studying abroad plan to work in their country of origin. This is positive news for Africa’s growth in terms of job creation, poverty reduction, and economic growth. However, practical policies or programs targeted at student emigrants with the aim of fostering return migration, either temporary or permanent, are still needed.

Are you a graduate student studying abroad, or do you work abroad at the moment? Do you intend to return home after your studies to contribute your skills and resources to the development of your country of origin?

What can we – young people, organizations, and governments – do to facilitate the successful and sustainable return migration of young people?


Submitted by Daniel Assamah on

Great piece Michael. On this subject I believe we all – young people, organizations and governments – have something to do. Starting from the government, I think providing or setting the "right" environment to attract this group is imperative. These include facilities and important services like power supply and internet accessibility, though the government might not have direct or absolute control, mechanisms can be put in place to ensure its adequacy.
On the other hand young people would have to exhibit great sense of responsibility and determination to succeed back at home especially when they find themselves in the public sector due to unnecessary oppositions from coworkers. Though research has proved that most of these young people would like to return as entrepreneurs, I think we are failing to ask ourselves where they will like to establish these businesses and even reside. If they all end up in the country’s capital then what are we promoting? That will be another challenge. But I believe targeted and practical policies or programs can address these issues.