Shaukat Ali Khan
Hunzukuzhan in Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) will be a series of small articles where I will be sharing my personal experiences and lessons from this society. The aim behind this is to give an idea to all those potential candidates who are planning and thinking to go abroad for their education or career. The idea of going abroad attracts a number of people for various reasons; ranging from educational purposes to financial incentives to working in an international environment. Hunzukuzhan in Scandinavia will cover different aspects of living and studying abroad.
The first article’s objective is to give a general awareness to prospective students about different categories of international students here. The students in these categories are the ones I’ve interacted with; there are probably others who do not fall into these categories. In this article, I will be talking about three major categories of international students here in Scandinavia.
The first category comprises of those students who are well driven and determined to get good degrees, enhance their knowledge and go back to serve their home countries. It’s getting pretty rare to see such driven and motivated students. Some students go for PhD after completion of a Master’s degree. Getting a PhD degree is almost like getting a full time job for 4-5 years with pay equivalent to any professional entry-level job. In this category some students come with various national and international scholarship schemes. Students in this category try their best to educate themselves from the system and society and when they go back home they are comparatively well off.
Second category is those students who just need visa to get an entry to a developed country. One example of this system is getting a visa to one country in Schengen states, which then makes one eligible to enter any country in Schengen states (a group of 26 European countries). Every year many students who come in this category are seeking to get employed in any odd job (e.g. doing dishes, cleaning and newspaper distribution etc.) and earn as much as they can to support their families back home. Life for such a student can be very difficult, as they hardly get a chance to explore this world and learn from their environment.
A student in such a situation often earns a decent wage compared to back home, but this often comes at a cost of a miserable daily life. They have many liabilities and responsibilities towards their families and often feel liable towards their responsibilities. There only routine is work – sleep – eat and they cannot afford to have a social life where they meet people from their own country or in the local community. After couple of years these educated students often lose their track of all the education and professional experience they got during past years and even loose the confidence to apply for any position that is relevant to their education.
Students in this category try every possible way to prolong their stay in these countries including marriages (in some cases ‘Sham marriages’) and other possible ways. Normally it’s impossible for these students to extend their visa, as they don’t earn any credits from their institutions, which is the basic requirement for any visa extensions. Moreover, some even go to extend of spending huge amounts in processing their admission from their home country (to get admission and visa) through different ‘agents and consultants’ who often charge upwards of PKR. 500,000.
It’s not all doom and gloom as there is a third category of students who come with the best intentions of completing there education to a high standard while having a good time exploring the culture and popular destinations in their guest country. Many of such type go on to apply for professional opportunities based on their experience and education. The competition may be very high, but many still manage to get good work opportunities. Students in this category complete their education and try their best to get a professional opportunity for couple of years in the country of stay and if they don’t, many are still picked by good institutions back home.
In my next article I will share with my readers the different aspects work and life in Scandinavia. Special thanks to Rubab Maryam Khan and Muhammad Ali Khan for supporting me in this initiative.