The Great Debate

To leave or to stay

Published On: June 23, 2017 12:44 PM NPT

It’s perhaps the most known conundrum we, as Nepalis face, and the views on the matter too are drastically divided. While some consider staying abroad after completing your education as a no brainer, we also can’t ignore those who are choosing to return home and make a life here. The Week bought two individuals who have made their decision on the matter for The Great Debate.

Abhishek Chhetri

He believes life abroad provides you with more opportunities as compared to back home in Nepal.

It’s not like I sat down one day and consciously made a decision not to leave. After investing all that money on my travel and my graduate studies, it made sense to work here for a couple years. From then, my life just sort of evolved around here. I got used to living in America and eventually I didn’t feel the need to leave.

I completely understand if someone found a better life in Nepal and went back. But for me personally, this arrangement works a lot better. When I was planning to leave Kathmandu, I was working as a software developer. I still remember the struggle of trying to get something done. We were literally working around the load shedding schedule. We had off time in the afternoon and worked from 5pm to 9 pm. Things like these are bothersome.

Some people argue that being an immigrant you have restrictions on career opportunities and that is true, but there is the green card process as well. It’s what Nepalis here aspire to and it inevitably opens up a lot of avenues. Sometimes I wonder if the higher education I have worked so hard to obtain here will be of use or give me leverage back home as well. So the initial struggle for the green card tends to be worth it. You obviously have to struggle to succeed regardless of where you are.

The quality of life abroad is obviously another big appeal. On my return home, I also realized that it wasn’t only about pollution but factors like civic sense and basic decorum. Perhaps I too wouldn’t be bothered by people cutting queues or not considering personal space if I hadn’t been living here but now, these things make me feel uncomfortable. I was actually surprised by the realization, but you get used to things being a certain way.

It’s not like I am against considering the possibility of going back home. For instance, the trend among my Indian colleagues’ at the moment is to return to India. They talk about how they will have the option of secure jobs, high pay and an awesome life back in their home country as well. But first I too need to feel there's a better life for me and my family in Nepal.

Saurabh Lohani

He is of the opinion that it’s better to work passionately for a good life in your own country rather than toil hard elsewhere.

Studying and living abroad for around eight years really helped me grow as a person. I value the experience I had there but I am also really glad that I made the decision to come back.

It’s not that I came back with big goals. I just thought if I was going to be living from paycheck to paycheck, I could do it back home as well. You learn that it isn’t only about holding a job. You need to be satisfied with the work you are doing. I often questioned myself about my personal progress. In both these terms, coming back to Nepal has really helped.

Here I am able to branch out to different sectors and dabble in my interests. I have five start-ups at the moment. I work at an NGO and teach as well. I am working as much as I would have back in America but here, the hustle doesn’t come along with the extra mental stress of trying to survive in a foreign land. Further, there is the recognition and potential to cover more grounds.

I am particularly thankful about the set of people I have met on my return as well. It’s easy to succeed where the conditions are favorable but here, even with the challenges and little resources, there are people striving to do their part. These days there are so many from different sectors trying to do something in their respective fields. The desire to bring about change and growth is palpable and these people are some real personalities. It’s really a pleasure to socialize with them.

As long as you have goals and a will to work, you can really do it anywhere. The political instability of our country causes a lot of inconveniences. But lingering on it doesn’t solve anything. You will find ways around it. It’s a matter of being determined enough to get results.

Besides living abroad comes with its share of problems and struggles too. The stereotype that those who have moved to foreign countries are making a lot of money and living the ideal life isn’t really all that it is cut out to be. $1 is still $1 and the cost of lifestyle is according to their standards as well. Having experienced both lifestyles, I just find myself enjoying and appreciating this one more.

There are still many people who ask me why I came back. Some even label it as a stupid decision but it doesn’t bother me. I know what I have to do and what I can do here.

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