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From One World to the Next:Brain Drain in India

By Carmina Osuna

Although migration is not totally apparent in India, internal migration from north to south, and vise versa, and the emigration of qualified students is very common.  In the book, The Age of Migration, Castles and Miller define the migration of highly qualified students as, “the ‘brain drain’: university trained people moving from less-developed to highly-developed countries” (170).  One major result of the brain drain is the decline of skilled personal and capital in the country of emigration (139).Photo

During my time in India I had the great privilege of spending a lot of time with our inter-port students, Pooja and Neru, both from Chennai, India.  In appearance Pooja is much lighter and taller than Neru and it was due to this difference that I asked her the following question: “why are you so much lighter than Neru if you are both from the same region?”  Pooja replied that in a previous generation her family had migrated from north India to south India.  She added that because Neru’s ancestry was originally from the south their skin color is darker and south Indians tend to be shorter than those originally from the north.

Among our many conversations future plans were among the more popular.  Through our readings and the Indian inter-port lecturer, I learned that the brain drain was a big issue for India.  As my interest grew in this subject I felt compelled to ask Pooja and Neru what they saw for their future.  Pooja answered by saying that she plans to move to the Netherlands for graduate school and maybe later to the United States or somewhere else in Europe.  Neru, although not quite sure, knows that she would most likely migrate abroad. 

           The only time I ever thought about leaving the United States was when thinking about travels or studying abroad.  It wasn’t until I spoke with two very intelligent women from India who both see the likelihood of leaving their country for their professional education and careers that I realized how prevalent and real the brain drain problem is for developing countries.  Imagine if all of the graduates from the top schools in the U.S would move to Europe or Africa and if the number of highly trained immigrants’ ceased to move to the U.S, what position would the country be in then?      

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