An expat explains how a temporary leave to study in the U.K. turned into a life abroad – and what the government could do to bring him back.
Growing up in small-town Ontario, I always had a nagging feeling that Canadians who moved abroad were traitors. They had shunned our country for monetary gain, or sunshine or fame. But I’ve become one of those people – part of the nation’s brain drain – and I can assure you that it was entirely accidental.
Like me, every year hundreds of Canadians head abroad to do PhDs or postdocs, intent on gathering international experience, and every year a few of them don’t come back. In my case, I was drawn to the U.K. to do a PhD in history and, two years after ﬁnishing, I am still there, now working as an academic historian. I’d like to share how that happens and what Canada might do to prevent it from happening again and again.
I did not go abroad to get a “better” education. This is what the British think draws international
students, but this is a patronizing assumption and not a reﬂection of reality for most. For me, the
move was part quest for adventure and
part practical desire to get my PhD completed quickly so that I could get on with a career.