Around four and a half years ago when I completed my +2, I had to face the dreaded question, "What next?". Moreover, "Where next?". "Should I study in Nepal or abroad?" It bugged me for several nights till I decided to leave my nest and explore a world across the seas. Although I did my research, I would be lying if I said I hadn't made the decision partly because almost everyone around me was doing the same. A degree later, I can vouch for the experience as good, but there are things I wish I'd known before. Had I, would I have made the same decision? Not really.
First of all, let's address the elephant in the room. Why do you want to go abroad? Better facilities? Independence? Better degree? Let’s talk about these reasons, and why you should think about them again, one by one.
International degree: An internationally recognized degree is an excellent asset to your career growth, no doubts there. But do you need to go abroad for that? If you're talking about 5-10 years back, that's very well and true. Today, there is an abundance of colleges in Nepal that facilitate international degrees. Moreover, there are tie-ups and affiliations with international multiversities that find themselves very high in the world rankings. With credit transfers, courses updated to an international standard, and intern facilities - the world is getting smaller, and it's getting closer to Nepal than ever before!
Facilities: I am not going to claim that Nepal has better facilities. But I'm thinking my four years as a student, was there anything I needed I couldn't have gotten it in Nepal? Life abroad may be a tad bit easier with deliveries at your doorstep and public transport that isn't quite as crowded, but comfortable doesn't always mean better (or necessary).
State-of-art infrastructures, standard equipment, practical labs, and facilities catered to the need of students have become pretty much a given in many good colleges in Nepal. It's astounding how much the educational facilities in Nepal have shifted over the past years. I've watched my friends in Nepal talk about field visits, internships, practical reports, presentations, and experiments, and it was all pleasantly surprised.
International Exposure: Excuse me for being repetitive, but I cannot stress this enough - as much as the world is growing, it's getting smaller. Exposure/Growth is very relative. There are students abroad who've barely seen the world outside their classrooms, and there are students in Nepal who've stunned the world with their progress. There are many student/youth clubs in Nepal which have developed as an international chapter - Rotaract, YTS, AISEC, the list goes on. Extra-curricular activities have become of great focus. There are international associations in Nepal (I/NGOs, French Alliance Nepal, Kaalo), where you can meet people from all over the world and grow your interactions.
Work part-time in a field of your choice (there is no shortage, trust me! ), volunteer for social causes, explore the country, join youth clubs, develop your idea - get involved! There'll be no holding you back. If anything, growing your idea is much smoother in Nepal than anywhere else just because of how Nepalese have become open to new things lately.
Independence: Many students choose abroad because they wish to get away from social ties and lead an independent life. I remember my parents trying to convince me against my decision by saying that I'd be alone there. I said, “That’s the reason I want to go!”
Over the course of time, I realized that independence doesn't necessarily come from living alone. What grew me as a person was not being away from home - it was paying for my tuition fees, getting a job, cooking for myself, doing my chores. If you want to, do you need to go abroad for that? No!
True freedom is in learning to make effective decisions and being able to stick up to it. It's in handling responsibilities of yourself and everyone around you. And that is very well taught when you're at home. In between trying to bridge the age gaps, doing things that you think is right and learning how to deal when others think you are wrong - you will flourish as a bold, independent person.
Apart from these, there are many additional benefits of studying in Nepal.
Connections: Networking and communication is a huge part of a successful career. When you're in Nepal, you understand the market, you meet influential and experienced people of Nepal, and knowingly/unknowingly build strong communications. Whether the next step for you is getting a job, or getting a good recommendation for your further studies, this will become a significant advantage on your side.
Family support: I've spent countless nights abroad just wishing to be with my family. Whether it be festivals, times when my family members or I were sick, or moments when I was down, it was pretty heart-wrenching. This phase of life is a one where support from family and friends is of utmost importance. Maybe in the future, there'll be teleportation and things will get better. But for now, video calls just don't cut it.
Start over: Unless you're planning to settle down abroad, returning to Nepal after completing your studies is a start from scratch. If you find what you love and hold on to it, you're going to be very successful in the long run. Talking about myself, I made friends and got used to a particular lifestyle abroad. When I returned, I had to spend some time getting used to the change again. It might not be true in everyone's case, but it caused me a little setback for a while.
I am a strong advocate of exploring and learning new things and believe that going abroad is something that should be on everyone's bucket list. If you're looking forward to studying abroad, I won't advise you against it. However, know your reasons. Decide if it's worth it. When you're deciding for yourself after +2 (or even after), the course and university do matter. However, those are the things you should be considering more- not solely the country and the hype that surrounds it.
All the best!