In the past few years, the study of human migration is getting lots of attention. The reason behind it is that the people all over the world are migrating in a large number. This has been possible due to today’s advanced technology, which is reducing the gap between different continents so the nations worldwide are getting connected in a better way than before.
As an international student myself, I find it is fascinating that so many people are moving around the globe every year, looking for opportunities to have better education, better work conditions, and fulfill their dreams. I would like to explore on the reasons why people migrate, what are challenges and opportunities they are facing, and how they handle culture shocks.
According to social scientists, migration is more or less permanent move of people across space. In a broader sense, immigration includes change in residence and a change in culture. According to the terminology of the social sciences, people who move out of a place a called ‘emigrate’ and who settle in a new setting after moving from a place are called ‘immigrants’ (Surez-Oroxco, 7212).
The causes of migration: Some scholars of immigration believe a few factors responsible for immigration such as, economic forces, social factors and cultural practices. The economic factors have been understood as unemployment, underemployment and wage differentials etc. They are also considered as ‘push’ factors. Demand for foreign workers in various sectors of a host country’s economy is considered as ‘pull’ factor.
Immigrants in any country tend to be highly mixed people in terms of religious background, socio-cultural background, race and ethnicity and educational background.
Scholars of immigration believe that cultural and social practices produce migratory flows. People migrate due to the reason that their friends, family and relatives migrates before them.
History says that war and migration have been strongly linked. During World War II, the threat of labor shortages created temporary labor recruitment. It was done to attract immigrant workers to United States.
After World War II many Northwestern European democracies like Belgium and Germany started ‘guest worker programs’ for recruiting foreign workers in southern Europe and later, in the Maghreb region of North Africa and in Turkey. Though these programs vanished in early 1970s, yet association with the family and chain migration kept bringing immigrants from North Africa to Europe for so many years.
In today’s scenario, labor right activists are demanding some universally accepted human rights for the suitable working conditions for them that is why this topic has become the focus of serious argument among international agencies, policy makers general public and nongovernmental organizations.
Child labor practice, which gets serious attention and the topic of public debate, depends on the economic development of any country and many families earn through their children’s wages, which helps them in their survival. Practically, most of the countries in the world are trying to set minimum educational qualification requirements and minimum age of employment to control child labor (Brown, 91).
It has been observed that child labor is being exploited by supporting bonded child labor. Some traditional household encourage bonded child labor to finance a dowry or funeral ceremony. Children who serve as a bonded labor get house, clothes, food and very nominal wages. When a child is bonded as a labor, the parents of the child get lump sum money. Poverty is understood as the root cause of child labor (Brown, 95).
Now it is expected that a stricter labor law can be forced by international pressure but there is no certainty if the new legislation will change the realities of labor market in low-income countries.
Brain Drain: The term brain drain got into existence in 1960s when British scholars started migrating to US and the loss of skilled manpower was felt.
“Brain drain is when highly skilled workers leave a country, region or economic sector in order to take a job somewhere else” (Manuel, par. 2).
Brain drain patterns: The brain drain is a diverse idea. In between 1960 and 1975, many qualified Africans left their continent for better perspectives than available in their home countries. They were mainly doctors, engineers and lectures. In 1987 this number increased by 8000 annually and it became 20,000 by the year 1990s.
Other continents are also affected by this. India is losing its skilled people on an average 15000 to 2000 annually. They are mainly information and communication technology professionals. From many years, the places like Japan, Europe and North America have fascinated scientists from different parts of the world.
Many people from health industry have also migrated to other countries. They are in particular, nurses and doctor and other professionals like, physiotherapists and pharmacists. There is a probability that these health professionals are in majority who migrate (Marchal & Kegels, 4).
Education as a global public good: Since ancient Greece, Plato has though over the idea of two realms- public and private even in the Middle Ages, some prominent philosophers as Locks, Hobbes and More compared the public and private. Currently, there are arguments about defining the public and versus the private. Starr (1988, p.8) mentions “Most now cite an economic distinction, where ―private is contrasted with public to characterize that which lies beyond the states, boundaries, such as the market” (as cited in Menashy, p. 13).
When most of the arguments are focusing on the difference between public and private realms, this paper examines the related issue of what is regarded as a public good and the value of education as a global public good. There are arguments being done on this subject as well. Mansbridge states (1998, p.4), “will probably always be, and should be, a contested subject” (as cited in Menashy, p. 13).
Many definitions have been given to describe the difference between public and private good. Education illustrates this debate because it is that service or institution which is important in both the public and the private areas.
Due to globalization the problems and solutions are going across borders in the need for international collective action. At this time, the concept of Global public Goods (GPGs) has become a very important part of international policy making. UN agencies, IMF/ World Bank, non-governmental organizations all are keeping this concept in their agendas.
Everyone is depending on public goods. Knowledge, property rights, environment, peace and security all are the suitable examples of public goods which could be made global (Global Public Goods par. 1).
Education can also be considered as global public good.
According to Levis (2000, p.3), the education has some peculiar nature.
It addresses public interests by preparing the young to assume adult roles in which they can undertake civic responsibilities, embrace a common set of values, participate in a democratic polity with a given set of rules, and embrace the economic, political, and social life which constitute the foundation for the nation.
All of this is necessary for an effectively, functioning democracy, economy, and society…At the same time, education must address the private interests of students and their families by providing a variety of forms of development which will enhance individual economic, social, cultural, and political benefits for the individual… Embedded in the same educational experience are outcomes that can contribute to the overall society as well as those which can provide private gains to the individual (as cited in Menashy, p. 14).
The importance of global institutions in an interdependent world is being understood. The International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) is an autonomous body of the UNESCO. The mission of IIEP has been to build education planning and management capacity in some other newly independent countries. It has done it successfully in disturbed countries like Libya, Mali, Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti.
This organization is not only providing training and policy advice to these countries but also helping in building planning capacity by making possible technical cooperation in the field of research, peer learning and knowledge exchange.
These kinds of global public goods services are very important in helping especially poor countries who could be benefitted by global knowledge and skill resources. This is being done my making these resources available as well as by building the capacity of such countries so they can be benefitted (Wanner & Fredriksen, par. 1).
Challenges and Opportunities: Migrants at one side receive lots of opportunities and other side they face many challenges. A question arises here- whether migrants form poorer countries end up happier after their migration to wealthier countries? It is understood that migrants want to have happier life after their migration.
Gilbert (2006) & Bartolini (2007) mention that migrants, who migrate especially for economic reasons, may assume that if they gain higher income, they can lead a happier life but this kind of belief is erroneous; people having such kinds of beliefs about paths to happiness are not unique. It’s common belief (as cited in Bartram, 157).
Basically, it is not guaranteed that anyone whoever will migrate can get happiness though on the other hand average happiness is higher in wealthier countries because in many ways modern societies which are wealthy facilitate people to fulfill their requirements to a greater extent. Still, there are chances that migrants to wealthy countries face some unexpected difficulties.
Migrants who belong to middle class positions in their own country may find difficulty to achieve middle class occupations and incomes in the country where they migrate. There could be various reasons for them to face this difficulty such as, prejudiced employers, unrecognized qualifications, insufficient language abilities etc. In this case there is a possibility that one might pick out downward status which could affect his happiness negatively (Bartram, 159).
The migrants may face some challenges due to global financial instability too, which needs to be reconstructed. The 1990s financial crisis is reducing lending to the developing world and this fallout has hampered international capital markets to come for some time (Rogoff, 23).
The increasing migration of people across nations impacts the economy, culture and society of sending as well as destination country. The percentage of migrants is usually larger in the developed countries than the developed countries. People migrating to other countries come across many opportunities for their personal and professional growth, however, they face many difficulties in adjustment with the new environment.
Opportunities for migrants
It is obvious that voluntary migration from developing to developed countries is beneficial for individual migrant who definitely finds a better financial prospect in the host country. Migrants get the following benefits from migration:
- Migration encourages productive reform
- Migration helps in reducing poverty and facilitate growth
- It is beneficial for the migrants as they acquire newer skills and enhance their productivity.
- Migration provides increased opportunities for employment and income to the migrants (Kateseli&Xenogiani, p.1).
Challenges faced by the migrants
People migrate to other countries with the expectations to have a better prospect and improved life. However, migrants from different parts of the world face a number of challenges while adjusting in anew cultural environment. Extreme discrimination and subsequent challenges pertaining to high level of education and employment are common problems faced by the immigrants while making adjustments in a new culture. There are certain other challenges that individuals have to face after migration:
- Segregation related issues: In recent years, anti-immigrant initiatives have been on rise for preventing the immigrants from taking benefits or public services. This bias is experienced by the migrants at various places including schools, workplaces and residential areas. This kind of attitude has a negative impact on the schooling, education, and other services. They have to deal with restrained employment opportunities, prejudice and separation (Rhodes, p.2).
- Poverty issues: People migrating to developed countries generally come from comparatively poor backgrounds. Initially they lodge in the separated areas of relative poverty. The surroundings are not urbane with prevalence of violent activities and drug trade etc. Schools are separated and congested with unrestricted number of students. In the absence of socio-economic inadequacies, the individuals become prone to different psychological disorders such as despair, disobedience and anxiety (Luther 1999 as cited in Rhodes, p.2).
- Issues generated from separation: Migration brings with it the separation of family members. Students migrating for higher studies either stay with relatives or alone. Sometimes people emigrate prior to their families in order to find an establishment for the whole family. Separation from one’s family and entry into an altogether new cultural environment may be upsetting for them. C. Suarez-Orozco& M. Suarez-Orozco (2001) found in a study including five hundred youth from five areas, that most of them (80%) were away from their families for very extended period (Rhodes, p.2).
- A strained parent-child relationship: Migrant parents generally have to be away from home due to their job requirements. The absence of parents from home for long hours may turn the children away from them and close to the friend circle. Children get accustomed to the new culture more speedily. They can learn the foreign language, acquire cultural knowledge and imbibe the new cultural values easily and rapidly. This fast acculturation may cause clash between the children and the parents (Rhodes, p.2).
The term culture shock was propagated by an anthropologist Kalvero Oberg (1960), who referred the term as a psychological perplexity of individuals resulting from migrating to an altogether diverse culture. He believes that culture shock in a psychological state.
This is experienced by people when all acquainted cultural chains are thumped down in a new cultural environment. Oberg asserts that “Culture shock is precipitated by the anxiety that results from losing all our familiar signs and symbols of social intercourse”(cited in Ferraro ,p.142).
Culture shock is reflected in the following manner in individuals
People undergoing culture shock have an ambiguous idea about their expected role behavior in the new culture. They sometimes feel astonished or even offended when certain features of the new culture are revealed on them. They feel dejected on losing touch with the familiar culture and people. They find themselves incompatible in the new environment.
They are not able to meet the desired objectives due to their inability to function in the new culture and feel distressed for not having any control over the situation. It is a feeling of helplessness and irritability that generates due to the fear of being cheated, or hurt. Everyone migrating to a new cultural environment has to go through this dilemma, however, the success of the international assignments depend on the capability of an individual in dealing with the situation (Ferraro, p.143).
According to Oberg (1960), there are four main phases of culture shock
- Honeymoon Stage: The first phase is considered as the “Honeymoon Stage”. This stage occurs during the initial period of stay in the host country. People are attracted to the different culture in this phase. People from the host country also show courteous and friendly and associate with the foreigners. This honeymoon stage lasts for a very short period and the novelty wears off with the passing days.
- Irritation and hostility: The second stage is characterized by one’s efforts to make adjustments with culture he is going to live in. Pedersen (1995) calls it the Negotiation or Disintegration stage. Here people develop an unreceptive attitude towards the locals and have trouble in adjustment. The troubles occur in acclimatizing with school environment, problem in shopping or difficulty in communication due to language barrier.
- Gradual adjustment: The third stage is characterized by adjustment with the local culture and is called the Adjustment stage. People tend to accept their circumstances and start enjoying their new environment (Rempel, p.2).
- Biculturalism: Dr Oberg (1960) has described it as the fourth stage when an individual gets acclimatized to the new environment and identifies with the new culture. However, this fourth stages not reached by all immigrants (Ferraro, 145).
Adaptation to the new culture: The adaptation to a new culture stretches through four phases and is time taking. Hence, there is a need to find a shorter process to become acclimatize with the new culture. Acquaintance with the new environment before departing can contribute in the better adjustment process. This acquaintance would help in understanding the similarities and differences between the two cultures and lessen the impact of culture shock (Xia, p.99).
People having the following attributes may adjust well and fast in the international business arena
- Genuine understanding of the complications and possibilities of international business
- Equipped with cross-cultural adjustment skills
- Have a vision of international market as an opportunity for individual and professional progress (Ferraro, 148)
Hence, to minimize the impact of culture shock in the new cultural environment, it is important for the individuals to go prepared. Having prior knowledge about the host country will reduce the severity of the culture shock. Understanding of the host culture will increase the capacity to adjust and consequently will ease the process of acculturation (Ferraro, p.148).
Bartram, D. “Happiness and ‘economic migration’: A comparison of Eastern European migrants and stayers.” Migration Studies. 1.2 (2013): 156–175. Web.
Brown, D. “Labor standards: Where do they belong on the international trade agenda?” The Journal of Economic Perspectives. 15.3 (2001): 89-112. Web.
Ferraro, G. The cultural dimension of international business. 4th ed., 2002, New Jersey: USA, Pearson Education, Print.
Global Public Goods, 2011. Web.
Katseli, L. and Xenogiani, T. “Migration: A Negative or a Positive Driver for Development?” Policy Insights, no. 29. 2006. Web.
Marchal, B. and Kegels, G. “Health workforce imbalances in times of globalisation: Brain drain or professional mobility?” International Journal of Health Planning and Management. 18 (2003): S89-S101. Web.
Menashy, F. S. Education as a private or a global public good: Competing conceptual frameworks and their power at the World Bank. 2011. Web.
Rogoff, K. “International institutions for reducing global financial instability”. The Journal of Economic Perspectives. 31. 4 (1999): 21-42. Web.
Rhodes, J. Research Corner: Mentoring Immigrant Youth. 2005. Web.
Suarez-Orozco, M. Immigration and Migration: Cultural Concerns. 2001. Web.
Wanner, R. & Fredriksen, B. Funding Global Public Goods in the education sector: A growing challenge. 2013. Web.
Xia, J. “Analysis of Impact of Culture Shock on Individual Psychology.” International Journal of Psychological Studies. 1.2 (2009): 97-101. Web.
Bartram, David. “Happiness and ‘economic migration’: A comparison of Eastern European migrants and stayers.” Migration Studies. 1.2 (2013): 156–175.
This article explores the happiness among migrants. Especially, some researches were done in European countries to investigate whether the people those who migrated from eastern European countries to western Europe, were happy after their migration or not. It is a very useful resource which tells about some challenges that migrants face after their migration.
Brown, Drusilla. “Labor standards: Where do they belong on the international trade agenda?” The Journal of Economic Perspectives. 15.3 (2001): 89-112.
This paper analyzes the arguments which are related to the value of coordinating labor standards globally. It assess the ground in which international standards should be made. Universal rules for labor rights are discussed here. It is examined in this paper whether labor practices in developing countries have any bad effects on workers. It highlights child labor practice that is why this source is useful to know more about various labor practices.
Ferraro, Gary. The cultural dimension of international business. 4th ed., 2002, New Jersey: USA, Pearson Education, Print.
The book ‘THE CULTURAL DIMENSION OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS’ by Gary. P. Ferraro is very useful in understanding the positive influence of cultural anthropology on the international business issues. It throws light on the cultural dimension of international business using a fourfold approach. The work is an apt resource for the paper as it discusses the subject of culture shock, its dimensions and stages extensively. The author also discusses the ways of coping with culture shock in the international business arena.
Global Public Goods, 2011.
This article tells about Global Public Goods. Everyone is depending on public goods. Knowledge, property rights, environment, peace and security all are the suitable examples of public goods which could be made global. It is a useful article through which one can have clear concept of global public goods.
Katseli, Louka and Xenogiani, Theodora. “Migration: A Negative or a Positive Driver for Development?” Policy Insights, no. 29. 2006.
The authors Louka T. Katseli and Theodora Xenogiani have discussed the subject of migration in view of its positive and negative impacts on development. They have analyzed the effects of migration on development based on the criteria of concerned people, destination country and home country. The article is useful for the paper as deals with the opportunities and challenges faced by migrants and the role of migration development policies and smart visa policies in taking full advantage of migration
Marchal, Bruno and Kegels, Guy. “Health workforce imbalances in times of globalisation: Brain drain or professional mobility?” International Journal of Health Planning and Management. 18 (2003): S89-S101.
This paper first discusses the concept and meaning of brain drain and it highlights the low professional satisfaction of healthcare professionals and their migration to other wealthier countries for better prospects. This paper assesses the fundamental system of health professional migration also tells some possible strategies to lessen its effect on health services negatively. The content of this paper is very useful as it illustrates the meaning of brain drain.
Menashy, Francine Sara. Education as a private or a global public good: Competing conceptual frameworks and their power at the World Bank. 2011.
This thesis gives the example of World Bank as both public and private good. It suggests that the Bank can re conceptualize education. Education can be supported by both public goods and rights based agenda. This source is very useful since it tells about the concept of global public good as well as highlights the example of World Bank.
Rempel, Jonathan. Coping strategies for culture shock as indicators of cultural identity.
The article throws light on the culture shock caused by international migration. Author Jonathan. M. Rempel emphasizes on the methods for coping with the culture shock. He asserts that these challenges may vary cross-culturally. The article is appropriate for this paper as it reflects on the ways people withstand culture shock and consequently form their cultural identity
Rogoff, Kenneth. “International institutions for reducing global financial instability”.
The Journal of Economic Perspectives. 31. 4 (1999): 21-42.
The purpose of this paper is to know about the crisis in global capitalism if there is any and if there is any need to repair the current system. Then this paper tells about some alternatives plans for dealing with the crisis. Various investments schemes have been discussed and various financial plans have been evaluated. Using this source is important as it somewhat shows that a migrant can face problems in such global financial instability.
Rhodes, Jean. Research Corner: Mentoring Immigrant Youth. 2005.
Dr. Jean Rhodes has discussed the challenges faced by the immigrants in acclimatizing with a new cultural environment. The segregation, separation and hostile attitude of the natives delays the process of acculturation. He has also discussed the usefulness of mentoring in facilitating adjustment in migration. The article is relevant for the paper as it reveals the challenges faced by the immigrants in the developed countries like the United States.
Suarez-Orozco, Marcelo. Immigration and Migration: Cultural Concerns. 2001.
This paper tells about the meaning and then history of migration. Migration is more or less permanent move of people across space. It tells the factors responsible for migration. Some scholars of immigration believe a few factors responsible for immigration such as, economic forces, social factors and cultural practices. This si a very useful article which clarifies the meaning migration and immigrant and it further tells the causes of migration.
Wanner, Raymond & Fredriksen, Birger. Funding Global Public Goods in the education sector: A growing challenge. 2013.
This article first tells that The International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) is an autonomous body of the UNESCO and its mission has been to build education planning and management capacity in some other newly independent countries. It is a useful resources to know more about education as a global public good.
Xia, Junzi. “Analysis of Impact of Culture Shock on Individual Psychology.” International Journal of Psychological Studies. 1.2 (2009): 97-101.
This article studies the negative effects of culture shock and finds ways to decease the psychological discomfort while adjusting in a new culture. The article is important for this paper as it throws light on the psychological facet of culture shock and discusses the possible methods of reducing the psychological stress doe to culture shock.