Dr. damaris foping

When it comes to studying abroad, one of the biggest mistakes that many students make is thinking that all they have to do is make it to shore to succeed in this new world.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Please be advised that rich nations are not Eldorados, magical places where everyone walks on golden streets and lives in palaces.


Most Africans have unrealistic ideas about life in foreign countries, having missed out on hearing crucial facts. The streets of rich countries are full of former international students who have finished their studies but were unable to find a decent job afterward. Too ashamed to return to Africa, they have opted to become illegal aliens, thereby embracing a life of continual struggle. Rich nations are truly not “Eldorados.”






What is real success for those who are lucky enough to study abroad?


When it comes to study abroad, the truly successful people are those who contribute to the development of their respective home country rather than those who attempt to get by as illegal aliens abroad. While there is another possible outcome, we believe it is less ideal than it might first appear. It is the case of students who have successfully finished their studies and managed to find a job that allows them to more or less feed their family. Why do we believe that you should aim for a higher goal? For one, it is much easier to achieve that goal if you never study abroad at all. Secondly, Nelson Mandela once said that education is the most powerful tool to transform the world. Following this logic, don’t you think that achieving a goal beyond the ability to support one’s immediate family is a better target for those elite individuals who have been given the chance to obtain a high caliber education through study abroad? Yes, and again yes. Consider that Africa is the poorest continent in the world: it is plagued by tremendous suffering and therefore desperately needs the investment of its citizens in driving substantial changes at every level. DOING SOMETHING FOR THEIR COUNTRY IS AN AIM THAT ALL AFRICAN STUDENTS HEADING ABROAD OUGHT TO HAVE. We all dream of greatness—what many ignore is that service is the true path to greatness, a piece of wisdom mentioned even in the Holy Bible: you want to be first, be the servant of your brothers.

As you are heading abroad, ask yourself this question: What is best? (1) To swear never to return, even at the expense of becoming an illegal alien, or (2) doing all it takes, using all the resources you find abroad, to become one of the most influential and transformative people in your home country in the coming years.


The latter might sound hard to achieve, but it is a real possibility. You might be amazed to learn that all it takes is having that as your main objective.

Take it from someone with years of experience abroad: the reason why people fail abroad boils down to these two simple words: POOR PLANNING (period). Understanding why isn’t complicated at all. Let’s take, for example, someone who has the first objective in mind, namely never to come back no matter what it takes. What happens right after they cross the border? What would you do if you were in their shoes? The answer is simple: they start looking for strategies never to go back, searching for information in support of this quest. What they ignore is that time dedicated to schemes for staying abroad equals time stolen from their studies and therefore their future. All that interests such people is what to do to ensure they never go back to Africa.

By contrast, when true success is your target, your mind is on different matters, in particular on your studies and career, for you know that they both are at the heart of that success.