When I was in the University of Buea, Cameroon, I'd work any job just to have some extra money to party and maybe buy a few fancy clothes and shoes. Fortunately or unfortunately, jobs were not available for students. Consequently, many students had to completely depend on their parents for financial support. In other parts of the world, part time jobs are available for students. This is a good thing because with part time jobs, students can afford to take care of themselves to an extent.
After 3 years with no job as a student in Cameroon, I traveled to Europe to pursue a Masters degree. It was then that I was exposed to the "job opportunities" for students. I became excited about the possibilities. I could work and go to school. This made me feel "big" and independent. However, I refused to become a product of the system that has completely derailed many brilliant students.
It is acceptable for students for work odd jobs to support themselves while studying. But I become worried when people continue to work odd jobs long after graduating from school with Bachelor degrees, Masters degrees and in some cases PhDs. This is the story of many international students in Europe (mostly from poor countries). It is a story many people are familiar with. The question is, are we that desperate? Or are we out of options?
It is no secret that many students from poor countries travel abroad to study and help support themselves and their families back home. That's a very good intention. But the essence of education is to get a good job after graduating and support your family in "style". Right? That's what parents would be proud of. Well, the reality is different.
Many students travel abroad and become comfortable with odd jobs so much so that they forget what they were studying for. They graduate from school and continue doing the odd jobs they were expected to do as students. Some of them even graduate and get full time odd jobs. A majority of them delibrately refuse to look at other opportunities because they're "busy". Busy doing what? I wonder.
You would agree with me that there's a lot of potential in students, which if fully exploited would help develop themselves and their countries. Unfortunately, many of them are contented with working odd jobs abroad and making a few hundreds or thousands of euros or dollars. No doubt, these students represent the generation that is expected to take their countries out of poverty. Is this the way they expect to do it? Or is this part of a conspiracy? I know many people will be quick to point accusing fingers but I think we must take full responsibility for our actions and start doing the right thing. We can do better!!
Tribute to Madiba: A Smile that Called for Transformation - By Hope Lewis, Professor of Law & Faculty Director, Global Legal Studies, Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, MA, USA, December 8, 2013, Researc...
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