Ask Asad: Did I make the wrong decision by returning back to Pakistan from Europe?

Published: March 27, 2018

Dear Asad,

I am a 24-year-old man and have recently returned from Europe, where I went to make a better future for myself. I spent two years there, but unfortunately I did not succeed in making a better life for myself due to of various problems. In the end I had to return to Pakistan.

My family and friends believe I made the wrong decision in returning to Pakistan. They are very disappointed with my decision and think of me as a loser who couldn’t survive abroad.

These days I am looking for a job. I have a Master’s degree but am struggling in finding a job due to issues such as age, work experience, etc.

I don’t see anything positive happening in my life and am very depressed. I don’t know how to handle all this pressure and also can’t figure out what to do with my life. Sometimes I think of killing myself to get rid of all this misery. Please tell me what should I do?

Loser of Europe


Dear Loser of Europe,

No! You are not a loser. In fact, you are a very brave person who left his family, friends, country, comfort zone, etc, to travel to a foreign country to make a better life.

Not everyone is courageous enough to do that; to leave one’s home country, familiar surroundings, established way of life for unknown trials and tribulations in foreign lands. You were brave enough to do that. I admire you for your courage!

Unfortunately things didn’t work out for you in Europe and you had to return home. This is completely fine. According to the latest research, 30 to 50 per cent people who move abroad to live and work as expats return home within the first year or two – giving up on their hopes and dreams of living abroad. Though the reasons for this are varied and depends from person to person and situation to situation, what this tells us is that you are not the only one who has returned home by not being successful in a foreign country but more importantly, also the fact that you are not in minority. There are many people out there, hundreds of thousands, who went abroad to make a life but returned for various reasons. This doesn’t make them failures or any less of humans who either never went abroad or who did and succeeded there.

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So all the people who are disappointed about your decision to come back home are wrong. They might have their reasons for being upset but you didn’t do it to deliberately disappoint them.

So please do not stress yourself over their disappointment. They didn’t go through what you went through. They didn’t experience what you experienced. They can only judge (unfairly). Thus, them thinking of you as a loser actually doesn’t make sense. Keep that in mind.

I know it’s not easy but just ignore them and go about trying to make your life a successful one. You can do that. You are capable, intelligent and brave enough.

Also look at your situation from a different perspective. Unlike others who are calling you a loser, you took the chance and risk of going abroad and experiencing a new culture and a new life. You experienced situations and got the knowledge of things that the people who have never travelled abroad can ever have. You got the chance to broaden your horizons, develop intellectually and learn new things from your travels.

The depression that you are suffering from is quite natural among people going through Return Migration (the voluntary or involuntary return of travellers and migrants to their place of origin).

This depression is something that many people go through who have lived abroad as expats. People usually migrate abroad in search of a better life. Thus when they have to return back to their home country, where the quality of life might not be as good as that of a foreign country, they find themselves struggling to settle back in, which leads to depression.

Depending from person to person and situation to situation, it can take anywhere between six to 12 months for the depression of a return migrant to subside.

Note: If it goes on longer than that, then a medical professional such as a psychologist should be consulted.

Another reason for your depression is the fact that everything seems to be happening simultaneously. You returning from Europe, your inability to find a job soon enough, people being disappointed in you, etc. All this has added up and has become overwhelming. It is making you feel as if there is nothing right going on in your life.

You are a Master’s degree holder, you have international experience and you are young enough. Sooner or later you will find a job that matches your qualifications and is up to your liking. Be patient and be hopeful. Don’t give up.

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No matter how hard life seems, never ever give up hope and think of suicide. Suicide is not going to solve anything. It shouldn’t be an option. Hang in there.

Things might be difficult now but don’t give up hope. Things will definitely get better with time if you work hard enough and keep hope alive. Life can sometimes be very hard but it’s not without its opportunities and beautiful moments. Look for different opportunities. See where your talents lie. Pursue your dreams. Go for goals which make you happy.

When people around you see that you are positive, haven’t given up hope and believe in yourself, they will get off your back and start believing in you too.

All the best!


Asad is a counsellor, life coach, inspirational speaker and a personal-development expert. He advises on social, personal and emotional issues. You can send him your questions for this weekly column at [email protected] with “Ask Asad” mentioned in the subject line and provide as many details as possible.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Nabil S
    Mar 27, 2018 - 9:18PM

    As someone who is a migrant himself, I truly understand your predicament and sympathize with you. As Asad said, people who haven’t had to leave everything behind and go to a foreign land know nothing of what it is like. They have this misconception that our lives are like something out of a Hollywood movie but the reality is much darker.

    If there is any advice I can provide it would be to keep a journal to write down your thoughts, concerns and how you might go about solving them. Trust me, keeping a journal is cathartic and helps a lot. I would also advice you to try to get in touch with other return migrants so that you have a circle of acquaintances who will understand what you are going through as well as being able to share your experience with.

    The anguish you are going through is just a season, it will pass eventually. You just have to maintain your spirit and keep plugging away. Things will only change when we change, things will only get better when we get better. Best of luck to you brother!Recommend

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