I personally left my country in pursuit of a better education. During my high school years, I realized that my grades didn’t matter, it was the knowledge I was lacking.
One of the hardest decisions I have made in my life was leaving my family & home country to go study abroad. To this day, I have moments where I question my decision, and wonder whether I made the right choice.
People who have not had to leave everything behind, including their family, their friends, their country, will simply never know what studying and/or living abroad feels like. There is a part of us that’s always missing, there’s always that feeling of wondering what life would have been like if we never left.
When people decide to leave their country, it is clear that there must be a strong reason behind it. It is never as simple as it seems.
Young adults from Kosovo leave their country for many reasons such as the weak education system, lack of opportunities, lack of acknowledgement of their hard work, high unemployment rates, and many more reasons. I personally left my country in pursuit of a better education. During my high school years, I realized that my grades didn’t matter, it was the knowledge I was lacking. It didn’t matter if I had all As or not, the knowledge was not there. I knew that studying abroad might give me what I was missing in my home country.
At the same time, youth in Kosovo does not feel like their hard work is noticed or valued. For many years, jobs have been filled through nepotism or corruption. This has left many people thinking that no matter what they do, their hard work will never pay off. There are many college graduates that have unfortunately not worked a single day in their own fields due to the high rates of unemployment, thus being forced to work whatever job is available to be able to survive. Kosovo is a small country, and people are aware of what the situation is like. Each person knows at least one person with the same or at least similar story, leaving the youth with no choice but to question their own future in Kosovo.
Even those that do end up finding jobs in their fields know that they can get paid more in EU countries or in the West. So, when such opportunities arise, they are excited to pursue them.
However, I do believe that the cycle needs to be broken at some point. We are the future of Kosovo, and I do believe that those of us who have been lucky enough to study abroad, and get a strong education, have some sort of an obligation to return to Kosovo to fight and work hard to make it a better place for those that did not have that same chance.
At the end of day, I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to be educated abroad. It would be a dream to one day use my knowledge and skills to contribute to the further development of Kosovo and help make it a better place for the future generations to come.
Irnea Muhović is a recent Master’s graduate in the field of Communication Studies from the University of Northern Iowa, in U.S. She has been living abroad since she was 17 years old.