December 19, 2011
Author: Angela Velkova
I often dreamt of reaching new horizons, stretching myself to the limit, throwing myself into new challenges, of some organized society with innumerable opportunities for every young person calling upon me…hence, when the opportunity came, I couldn’t resist it. For one academic year I was diligently studying in the USA. The new world I saw and experienced did not let me enter into an emotional crisis. I avow that I did not have time to feel homesick. However, deep down, I harbored a desire to return home, back in my Macedonia. A Country most commonly seen by its citizens as a temporary place of residence where they were “doomed” to be born and witness the harsh implications of a transition era. Country where young people are triggered by the same drive to pursue their happiness abroad; however, the drive to return back in their country of origin never overrides their motives to stay in a foreign land.
Yes, I find the perpetual drain of young brains, or the so-called brain drain process, as the main cause for the poor economic and social progress of my country. Attesting the 20th independence anniversary of Macedonia, I contemplate about the brief but turbulent history of a country close to my age, country that was maturing along with entire generation of young enthusiasts who are now on the threshold of undertaking their future roles in society. In reality though, what this generation has withstood during its development years are massive job layoffs, high unemployment rate, large-scale corruption, stagnation in the economic growth, low standards of living, ubiquitous poverty, and ethnic conflicts. So I ask myself a question: Should I or anyone else, be surprised about the current situation with lack of competent and motivated young people to stay and create in Macedonia? Should we only blame it on the “relentlessly” ambitious young people who use every single opportunity to “wander around”, or maybe we should first look closely at the myriad of reasons underlying their decisions to depart and never return back?