Growing up in the West, it was drilled in my brain from a young age that moving back home was the only way to make it in life. Not only because your degree and experience gained abroad will privilege you, but also because it can allow you to make remarkable change in your local community. From a young age, my parents were there to remind me of a land far away that can’t wait to welcome you back with arms wide open. Those arms will bring a sense of belonging that many of us might have failed to acquire in their adoptive countries. The same arms will also justify all those times that our parents weren’t satisfied with an 80% in math because at the end of the day you did not cross two oceans to not get 100% in every subject.
Africa is the continent that is currently booming with opportunities and if you are not thinking of moving back then chances are you might never have been to Africa in the first place, because if you had visited at least once, you would be longing for the day you will finally be reunited.
You must be thinking where is the catch in all of this? Well there are a few things you should consider before you make the crucial decision to move back, just like the “Big Chop” you kind of have to endure the consequences on the long run.
From “reverse cultural shock” to housing prices, and being mocked by some and worshipped by others because you have a foreign accent, to my all time favourite…. the concept of customer service being a myth. For some, “Home” was so romanticized that they never once thought “The Return” was going to be that hard. Whenever we see returnees on social media, they tend to only show the good side of being home but they forget to mention things like how hard it can be to get a job into a certain field unless you know the right people — yes connections still open doors!
Last but not least, our generation is so fortunate to have more opportunities to study abroad than the previous ones ever had. Therefore, the times where employers fought to have a returnee is almost coming to an end. Yes your degree is valued, but there is competition everywhere and with our educational systems getting better, you better come out of university with a 4.0 GPA. I want to finish off by saying that if anyone is considering moving back, it is probably the best decision for you but please do your research, visit beforehand and do not to expect to keep the same exact type of lifestyle because certain things go from being a right to a privilege, i.e electricity. Don’t let that hold you back though, Africa is on the come up and electricity cuts will soon be issues of the past!
Photo credit: John Spooner, Market day in Djenne, Mali
Writer – Sonia Gasana