To Stay or To Return: Factors Affecting the Immigration Decisions of African Students in the United States

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Suberu, Mary
There are a few factors affecting the decision of migrant African students' choice to stay in the United States or return to their home countries. From the ideological wish to return to spark change in their country, various ideas and thoughts buffer in between. While conducting my research, I explored questions to reveal these factors such as: What social, political, and economic factors contribute to their decision? Do they feel a sense of obligation to bring their skills and knowledge to help in the building of the infrastructure of their countries of origin? What are the potential ramification of their decisions? The results showed that 40% of the students expressed their wish to return home while 60% expressed their wish to stay in the U.S. Although most of the students have a short-term goal of staying in the US, they collectively feel a sense of attachment to their home country. This idea creates a certain level of dynamic tension between their wish for personal advancement and their hope for their country's development. I've gathered from my data that this topic is more complicated than presumed. There is no direct response to this question and emerging between their views is a grey area. Understanding the different dimensions associated with the cause of students' decision will enrich our perception of the effects of their country's environment and what can be· done to foster its continual development.
Honorable mention, Feinberg Library Prize for Undergraduate Research (2018)