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Sivosten webZine :: Academic mobility or brain drain
Academic mobility or brain drain

Author: Lyuben "LifeJoker" Zagorchev, Monday, 14 April 2008.

In Articles :: Publicism; Propose a Second Opinion

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We are living in times when human mobility is the highest aim of the world. Travelling has never been so easy. Either for sightseeing or searching for better life an enormous human flow circulates around the globe and causes a vast cultural exchange, not seen even during the 20th century. But imagine the life when going to the neighbor village has been equal to a one time in a life adventure and only several lucky persons were blessed to visit remote countries. Be happy to live now in the age of globalization.

Unfortunately Bulgaria is one of the countries, seriously damaged in the last decade by the high rate of emigration. Thousands of young people left their homeland after the fall of the Iron Curtain in searching of happiness and secure life which the shaken by contradictory changes state could not offer them. A large part of them was from educated and highly qualified stratum of society, for which it was hardest to find its place in a country where even some basic needs were a subject of survival. So the brain drain became a bitter reality.

Along with that there were no conditions for a replacement of these cadres to be achieved and so the young democracy was hardly damaged and unable to establish a real and adequate academic mobility.

When a given person leaves his country with the clear idea not to come back he struggles to establish himself in the area that he consider as his strongest and to secure for his family a bright and certain future. But in step like this a strong culture shock and a hard parting from parents and friends are inevitable. Moreover the new environment is not definitely hospitable. It is hard to accept, but a great part of these young people found their future in areas, far different from their qualification and education. Even some less prestige jobs ensure them a far better life than they could have in Bulgaria.

In a world scale the academic community is well known as exceptionally flexible and favorable for experience, knowledge and culture exchanges. It is more than common for a scientific worker to leave his native country for a short or medium period of time to work in a different country, with different manner of life and most important, with different opportunities for himself. Every university could be compared to an international cocktail with mobile staff and a beneficial work atmosphere. And it is the same for the undergraduate students, to establish some contacts abroad and to grow up like highly responsible and broad-minded persons during their studies.

There are many reasons to be mentioned for this process. The different place could offer different experience, working environment and vision. To have a permanent job is hard to achieve, so everyone is making some small steps in different places building his big carrier. But that is not done with the idea to run away from a life of misery, both financial and mental. It is different to work with a tranquil mind and not to be considered as an alien, coming to compete for someones job.

In Bulgaria the change was enormous, from the closed borders during the Cold war to the pursuit of the Promised Land in a decade of uncertainty. But now it happens to become different. More or less there is an improvement both in the situation in the country and the way of thinking of the young people. However there are two big problems to deal with. On one side it is still hard for your colleagues to believe you that you will return after your stay abroad. And there is a lack of qualified workers, taking positions according to their education. On the other side Bulgaria is still not a friendly destination for immigrants, to fill this gap. It is because of the comparably lower scientific opportunities, but it is also a subject of bureaucracy and law. And I am not talking about the European Union citizens.

Commentary topic: http://www.sivosten.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=202249#202249

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