Page 185 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
2.4. After university – to return toTurkey, to stay in Bulgaria, or to go some place else?
In this section of our study we focused on the personal plans and preferences of our
respondents with regard to
important life choices and decisions
: to stay or to return to Turkey; to
continue one’s education or to start a family; to begin your career in the field in which you studied
or to look for better opportunities.
In terms of plans for a
return
to Turkey (50%) and
stay
in Bulgaria after graduation (44%) the
results are almost evenly split when the question is phrased in a similar manner and offers specific
choices which are enumerated. The motivation behind a decision to stay has various dimensions:
so as to work in the field in which they currently study; so as to start a family; to start their own
business. Another reason which obviously makes a subsequent stay in Bulgaria an attractive
possibility is the fact of the country’s EU membership. The European dimension to which Turkey
currently aspires as well is a reality for those who are also citizens of Bulgaria. It is not coincidental
that in a number of interviews, and also on a range of levels of discussion – political, institutional,
everyday, and social, the context of Bulgaria as a European country is seen as an opportunity for
pursuing individual and/or collective desires and goals.
Summarizing, we think that the choice of staying in the country the citizens of which
they are too is not arbitrary and has deeper grounds for the Turkish students in Bulgaria who
are children of out-migrants from Bulgaria. This also means that the choice in question is not as
dramatic and highly emotional for them as representatives of the ‘second generation’, the way this
choice was for their parents or the ‘first generation’ twenty years ago when they were roughly the
same age. We can also conclude from the responses of students studying in Bulgaria that the place
is not thought of in terms of a settlement project but in terms of an
educational destination
, a
segment in their biographical trajectories. Most of them appear reluctant to stay in Bulgaria when
the question is posed in principle, yet at the same time there are a number of them who maintain
that they are not going back (to Turkey) either but intend to move to another country. After Turkey
and Bulgaria the most desirable destinations are Germany, followed by Italy, Austria, the USA and
Australia. The motives for migrating to these countries revolve around the idea that they offer
better career prospects than Turkey or Bulgaria.
Education in medicine at Bulgarian universities
is a particular case of border-crossing
and inheriting of cultural capital. Unlike the students who study in engineering sciences in the
two university centers – Plovdiv and Varna, the level of Bulgarian language competence necessary
for practicing medicine is much higher. When asked questions about their life plans, nearly 100%
of the students with dual citizenship in Medical Universities state that they are not going to
practice in Bulgaria but will return to Turkey or continue their education (acquire a specialization
or a qualification) in a third country. Even though students who have graduated abroad are since
recently required to sit for two state exams in their country so as to gain the right to practice the
profession, there is still considerable interest in Bulgarian education. The motivation behind the
country choice is the example set by acquaintances or relative who studied‘here’but are practicing
‘there’and the fact that their parents are fromBulgaria comes fourth in the seven listed options. The
responses in the structured interviews replicate in terms of dispositions and tendencies the results